Slipcovers: A Thrifty Mom’s Best Friend



When it came to furnishing our first home, my husband and I had an assortment of furniture, but very few of those pieces were new or bought by us. Most were hand-me-downs from family and friends or a few gems from thrift stores that would be the envy of any guy’s dorm room (I’m lookin’ at you, green plaid swivel rocker!) Some call this look shabby chic…but it was mostly just shabby. Fast forward a few years later and we are still using some of those pieces, but with a not-so-secret addition to help their look: slipcovers! I know, I know, you used those in college and were constantly having to tuck and straighten for them to look right, but hear me out, not all slipcovers are created equal!

I’ve found the microfiber stretchy covers to be easier to deal with for three reasons:

  1. They cling to your furniture so there is minimal tucking.
  2. They don’t wrinkle
  3. Stains come out easily.

For couch covers, the ones that come in two pieces (one for the cushions and one for the body) are pretty excellent. Also pay attention to the shape of the couch versus the shape of cover you are buying and make sure you measure correctly.

This couch from a friend is actually a very nice brand and it’s very comfortable, but it has a hideous pattern on the fabric and a coffee stain(?) on the arm.

Ugly fabric, stain on the right arm, but comfy and look what I can fit underneath!

So I found an appropriate fitting cover, and my husband even put some wood blocks underneath the legs so I can fit two HUGE tubs of toys underneath for extra storage. This couch works great in our playroom. No it doesn’t look perfect, but put some pillows on it and I think it’s hard to notice that it’s a slipcovered beauty!

With the right slipcover, even that ugly couch can look decent!

I was so over this chair when we moved from our apartment to our first home. Just look at it. My husband had spent many hours video-gaming his college days away in it and convinced me it was a pretty good chair. It did swivel AND rock. When it came time to furnish our nursery and I saw how much a nice rocker retailed for, I decided we would have to make the plaid beast work somehow! I really didn’t think they made slipcovers for this type of chair, but after looking around online I found they made wing back chair slipcovers and this rocker had a similar shape. I will admit – since it’s all one piece and not stretchy material, it does come untucked every now and then. But I’ve found if you roll up a newspaper and wrap rubber bands around it, you can tuck it down around the cushions and it will help keep the cover in place for much longer.

PicMonkey Collage
From dorm room drab to family friendly fab!

I think it’s great to have handed down furniture when our kids are little. If they spill their milk or have an accident while potty training…no big deal! We just wash the slipcover. Do they want to jump off the couch or use the cushions for wrestle with siblings? Who cares?! It was practically free. Go ahead and use that sofa arm as a horsey sweetie! So maybe I’m cheap, but I prefer the term “thrifty.” I would rather spend what money we have right now on fun family experiences or traveling to see grandparents than nice furniture, so for now the slipcover is my friend!

What tricks do you have for making handed down furniture more aesthetically appealing?

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Katie left her home state of Tennessee to come pursue an interior design degree in Oklahoma fourteen years ago. She met a handsome young fella from Oregon while in school, and they decided to marry and settle down in OKC. A dog and two daughters soon followed. She has been a textile designer, showroom merchandiser, custom furniture draftsman and children’s minister, but her most challenging and favorite role has definitely been that of a mother. You can read about the adventures she shares with her family at Strawberry Ruckus. Katie enjoys reading, being creative, exploring old houses, eating peanut butter, zumba and watching complete television series all at once on Netflix.


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