To slipcover or upholster, that is the question?


I am here to break down the age-old topic of  slipcovers vs. upholstery.

Basically, there is no real answer of what is better until you ask yourself the following questions in order to make an educated decision. You have to get real with your lifestyle, your house maintenance and your personal aesthetic.

How often is this room used?

If your room is a high traffic area, you may want to think of getting slipcovers for your sofas or chairs since you’ll want to make sure they are cleaned more often. Slipcovers are easy to remove and clean. If your furniture is used more for an occasional elegant sitting area, upholstery may be the better decision.

Is the look of a slipcover even acceptable to your aesthetic?

Are children the culprits for the question to begin with?

Are allergies prevalent in your home?

As a designer working with all different clients, there is a right answer for each and every piece of upholstered item in the house.  Just go down the checklist and truthfully ask yourself the questions.  Aesthetic comes after the functionality of a piece is met.  Not until you get real with their use, can you know what’s best for each piece in your home.  Then, it looks good no matter if it’s slipcovered or upholstered.

Here is my thought process on how I decided, given my lifestyle, if slipcover or upholstery is right for me.

I need my house to look good even when I haven’t fussed over it. I have a busy family of five and we are constantly in and out with sports and playing outside.

Slipcovers work best for me because I will then wash them weekly to keep allergies and dirt at bay.  I have the ability to bleach the week’s dirt away.

Also, when your slipcovers fit snugly, no one really knows it is slipcovered.  I love the element of shock and awe when people ask me how my white sofas stay clean.

I also love upholstered patterns on sofas and chairs in order to hide the mess if slipcovers are not for you.

There is not one right answer.  The answer is in the use of the piece.

This same fundamental philosophy is true for every aspect of interior design.  How do you use the space?  Ask the questions, don’t just do what’s in the magazines.


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