To Reupholster or to Slipcover

Slipcovers vs. Reupholstery. This is a common question at Michael’s. Reupholstery is more costly because all of the old fabric is removed from the furniture. We then re-pad the frame with a new layer of Dacron or cotton and apply the new fabric. Separate zippered covers are sewn for the cushions and the end result is a smooth, tailored like-new piece of furniture.

Slipcovers are less expensive then reupholstering, not because the person doing the work is any less skilled then an upholsterer but because none of the old fabric is removed from the frame, less time is spent on the project.  We cut and sew our slipcovers to individually fit each piece of furniture, similar to having a suit custom tailored for you. We can either fit the cover with a snug or tailored fit which will resemble an upholstered piece the best or we can make the cover looser in fit, more like the “Shabby Chic” look.

The benefit of a slipcover is that you can remove the cover for washing or dry cleaning. The cover can also come off and you can use the original fabric that is under the slipcover. This is any easy way to achieve two “looks” in your home. You can have a dark or heavy fabric for the fall and winter months and then switch to a light colored fabric for the spring and summer.

Slipcovers tend to have a more casual appearance. Even the most carefully fitted cover will not be as crisp and tailored as an upholstered piece.

Some furniture is not appropriate for slipcovers. Leather chairs and sofa’s are not good candidates as the fabric of the slipcover will tend to slip around over the leather.  Furniture with a lot of curves or details like diamond tufting and channels are also not the best candidates as the slipcover will go over the tufting and channels and the results are a bit lumpy looking.

If your furniture needs to have the springs repaired then reupholstery is a better option. Most spring repairs require removing the fabric from the seating area to gain access to the springs. If we are reupholstering the piece, we do remove the fabric but not when making slipcovers. 

If your chair or sofa is in good condition but you don’t like or are tired of the fabric, then a slipcover is a good option.

Slipcovers can be sewn from most of the same fabrics as we use for reupholstery. Heavy mohair velvets, leather or faux leather are not appropriate but we can make slipcovers from cotton, linen, velvet, tapestry and print fabrics.  If you want to machine was your slipcover then we recommend that the fabric be professionally washed, dried and pressed before we make the slipcover. Fabrics that have not been prewashed will require professional dry cleaning so that the covers do not shrink.

A well made slipcover will give new life to an out of date or tired piece of furniture without breaking the bank.

A Collection of Recent Slipcover Projects From Michael’s Upholstery

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