Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Let Me Slipcover into Something a Little More Comfortable

If you've looked at pictures towards the beginning of this blog, you'll have noticed that our living room was bare. John and I have been living with the teeniest love seat as our only form of living room furniture for almost two years. Two years of insisting guests sit on our love seat while we make them uncomfortable by sitting on the floor, two years of uncomfortable attempting to cuddle and watch a movie (it was impossible, believe me), and two years of dreaming of a couch that we could stretch out on. Let's see if I can't remind you of our living room before...

Luckily, it was my birthday recently and I received a birthday check in the mail. The first thing I did upon opening the card was search craigslist for a couch.  It must have been my lucky day because I stumbled upon the perfect couch within my price range with nice bones and in excellent shape.  The only thing was that the upholstery was...not my style.  "No biggie," I thought, "I'll just get a cheap slipcover."

Slipcovers are expensive, my friends! The cheapest I could find at Target and Ikea were still more than I paid for the couch...and not only would my birthday money not cover that expense, I couldn't fathom spending more on what would cover the couch than I spent on the couch itself. So, I began thinking...and thinking...and thinking.

Then, I remembered that in college, my roommates and I had used a sheet to cover the hideous apartment furniture. It looked horrible and trashy, but it worked to cover the stained cushions and wooden frames.

spotted on flicker
Not really want I wanted, but it fit in our budget. I picked up two queen size flat sheets from Target for $12 each and brought them home to play with them and see what I could do.

What I was able to do resulted in the above. I simply draped one sheet across but it only covered 3/4 of the couch so I draped the other sheet on the other side and overlapped them. I then tucked the sheets into all the crevices and gingerly sat down. Of course, my husband promptly came over and plopped himself down which untucked some of the sheets. Over the course of the week, I found myself re-tucking the sheets every time I walked by the was driving me crazy. The sheets were too loose and nothing was keeping them tucked in.  I decided that I needed to create a more sturdy slipcover that withstood a dog, a husband, and a perfectionist wife.

I took off the cushions and stared for a long time...then set to work. First I thought I'd use one sheet to cover the base of the couch and one sheet to cover the cushions. As you can see in the above picture, the first idea didn't work.  Taking a different perspective, I decided to see just how much of the couch I could cover with one sheet. As you can see, it covered the majority of the couch leaving the arms and sides uncovered.

I laid out the second sheet to see how much of it I would need to cover my cushions.  Ideally I wanted to be able to wrap them completely with the sheet and sew a cover over the three of them...but after measuring, I didn't have enough sheet to do that and also cover the arms and sides of the couch.

I know I could have gone out and bought another sheet and my problems would be solved....but where's the challenge in that? So, I measured how much I needed to cover each arm all the way down the side to the floor and cut that out. 

The sheet that was left was a mere 2 inches shy of wrapping completely around the cushions. I decided that it would work if I safety pinned the sheets to the bottom of the cushions to keep my plopping husband from untucking them each time he...well....plopped.

Then came my secret weapon to keep this bad boy tucked: upholstery pins.  I stuck those suckers into the back of the couch along a seam so that the sheet would stay in one place....I stuck them into the seat of the couch before putting the cushions on to keep the sheet from slipping around...I stuck them everywhere.  That sheet is not moving.  Here is the back of the couch where I stuck some pins to keep the sheet from riding up and showing the bottom of the couch.

 Let me present to you the new and improved couch.  It is perfectly smooth, perfectly taut, perfectly tucked, and perfectly pinned to ensure that it will stay this way forever and ever. 

 We've been lounging and plopping on the couch for a week and it still looks taut, tight, and tucked.  I am happy to announce I have not re-tucked the sheets back into a crevice.

 The best part, aside from being able to walk by the couch and smile instead of tuck, is how much more we love our living room. We had guests over last weekend and everyone had a place to sit (hi Marty)! 

Thank you Nana and Pops for a wonderful birthday present!


  1. You're couch looks even better! Where did you find those pins? The original fabric of the couch doesn't look THAT bad. At least it matches your love seat.

  2. I got the T-pins at Jo-Ann.

  3. Good for you! Looks great. PS. LOVE the title of your post. Cracking me up : )

  4. You worked slip magic! I'm with you on the tucking... it would have driven me mad. Good job!
    But, I have to ask... now that you have all this extra time on your hands (because you're not spending it all tucking) why is the kitchen sick full of dishes?

  5. Those dishes are in the drying rack...we had one of those dinners that you seem to use every kitchen item you own.

  6. love the way the couches look!

    Now following you.

  7. I have awarded you the versatile blogger award. Please pass on the love.

  8. great job on the "bed" sheet slipcover. looks great. i am a new follower.
    Sisters of the Wild West

  9. Love it!

    I had a lovely Maroon Chair my puppy decided to eat during a fit...I had to slipcover it. I even bought one of those one's for target (for a chair they weren't as bad as for a couch but still more than I would have liked to spend..) and I ALWAYS have to re-tuck it!

    glad you have something that stays put!!

    <3 A your newest follower!

  10. I love your site. I hope you are still blogging. Found your blog when looking on how to use sheets for slipcovers. I am going to try it. Keep up what your doing.

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  12. Love it. We inherited a couch and chair with a strange, faded Christmas plaid pattern (complete with embroidered French horns). I've tried to like it, but it's time to take action!

    I'm a bit confused about the step with the armrests. Are they separate from the sheet covering the back of the couch?

  13. I am going to have to try this for sure! My husband, myself, and our 2 year old just moved and received a free couch. While I appreciate the free's HIDEOUS! haha I don't want to spend $60 on a slip cover for a free couch that I got. Keeping my fingers crossed that mine turns out even HALF as well as yours did! :)

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  15. does this project completely cover the back of the couch also? all the way to the bottom? I need to redo a sofa and couch but don't want them against the wall so I need everything to be covered.

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