Furniture cover solutions are the next installment in our budget makeover series. A friend reached out recently to see if I had any ideas about recovering a chair that her cat had claimed. Such a great idea for a blog post! We cover our furniture for any number of reasons, right? Protecting an investment from kids and pets… covering a questionable splotch… changing up decor… updating a second-hand piece… If you’re looking for ideas to recover a couch or rescue a favorite comfy chair from the donation pile, I’ve got plenty of resources for you today!
Furniture Cover Ideas in This Post:
Affordable Slip Cover Sources
Cheap DIY Custom Slip Covers
Best Retailers for Flexible Furniture Covers
Budget Furniture Slip Cover Ideas
If you live with pets or kids, it can be hard to keep your furniture in great shape. I’ve recovered and protected a few pieces over the years, and I’m starting this post with the cheapest tricks I’ve tried.
Let’s be honest, it doesn’t get cheaper or easier than covering a sofa with a sheet or blanket. When our kids were tiny, I used to cover our couch with matching flannel sheets. I bought a dark brown flannel set to match the upholstery and just washed it as often as needed. Because the couch has a built-in chaise, I couldn’t buy a slipcover (and didn’t feel motivated to sew one).
Full disclosure – this photo was taken years ago, before I ever dreamed of sharing my home on a blog. However, you can see two types of furniture covers – a sheet on the couch and canvas slipcovers on the armchairs.
You could also wrap a quilt or bedspread over a sofa for a thicker cover, if you don’t mind the drape. These pet-friendly furniture covers are a simple solution, cut to fit a couch. I’ve seen suggestions to use canvas drop cloths for furniture covers, too. Personally, I think those work best as more tailored slipcovers, which I’ll explain in a moment.
If you have a common sofa or chair design, there are plenty of affordable, stretchy slipcovers available online. I’ve seen options at Target and on Amazon, and I just ordered these to try out on our dining room chairs. Here are more ideas and sources:
Cheap DIY Custom Slip Cover
If you follow Marian at Miss Mustard Seed, I’m sure you’ve seen her myriad slipcover projects. She’s a whiz at recovering and reupholstering her furniture. A few years ago, I followed her 6-part tutorial to sew simple covers for a pair of armchairs we inherited. You’ll need moderate sewing skills for this project, or beginner skills + plenty of patience. It’s not too difficult, though.
This project is doable with a range of fabrics, but you should choose something that will stand up to wear. I’ve tried this method of bleaching canvas drop cloths and it worked out great. I bleached extra cloth in case I botched the slipcover project, and it came in handy for a porch swing cushion cover.
You could also buy heavy-weight curtains and use those – get a fun design out of it! Make sure the fabric is machine washable, or it defeats the purpose of this project. Plus, canvas drop cloth must be 100% cotton to bleach properly. Here are some fabrics that could work (canvas drop cloth is first):
Let’s talk about reupholstering furniture. You could spring for a custom reupholstering job, if you’re restoring a treasured piece, but that won’t cut it for this budget makeover series. Here are some more affordable ideas.
Check NextDoor or your local Facebook community group for help with this project. There’s also the local Facebook Buy Nothing groups, where you might be able to work out a skills trade with someone.
Tackle it Yourself
With YouTube and blogger resources, there are a lot of upholstery tutorials available online. Personally, I’ve learned a ton about recovering furniture from Miss Mustard Seed. My mom recommends this book, if you prefer to reference a hard copy. Or you could look for a local class. Check Jo-Ann, Michaels, or a local craft store.
When we lived in Seattle many moons ago, Wyatt and I took a upholstery class at our local Pacific Fabrics store. It was fun to learn a new skill and bring a comfy little chair we had inherited from his parents back to life. The process was both easier and harder than I expected, and I was thankful to have the guidance of a pro. Highly recommend a class, if you can swing it!
Here is our funky little green chair…
Best Flexible Furniture Cover Retailers
One of the best ideas for updating furniture covers is to start with an extra cover when you purchase new furniture. I know my blog is basically one big love letter to IKEA, but this is truly a huge advantage to buying their furniture. We’ve learned to buy multiple covers when we purchase anything from IKEA. It makes their pieces much easier to update down the line and really extends the life of your investment.
Even if you own discontinued IKEA furniture, don’t trash it! Some companies have popped up with great recovering options, and I highly recommend buying a new cover from Comfort Works. A few years ago, we invested in a gray fabric cover for our Karlstad couch and it fits perfectly, is machine washable, and still looks great. It’s designed just like the original cover, but Comfort Works carries a ton of alternate fabric options. I recommend ordering samples before you buy.
This is not a sponsored post; I’m just very impressed with their product and happy to share. Here’s what our couch looks like with the Comfort Works cover. This is the same couch that was covered with a brown sheet in the photos above! (The chaise can switch sides.)
If none of these budget makeover ideas work for you, here are other retailers that sell slipcovered furniture. These pieces will be an investment, compared to IKEA prices. If possible, I would highly recommend buying 1-2 extra covers for future use.
Home Reserve – made in USA!
Pottery Barn – probably the original, classy slipcover source, PB sells two lines: a roll arm style and a square arm collection
Crate & Barrel – the Willow collection is a coordinated line of slipcovered pieces