If you pay close attention to interior design trends, you may have noticed slipcovers flitting in and out of fashion over the years. Once a regular feature in sitting rooms, they fell out of favor as smarter fixed covers came into vogue. While the latter remains the prominent style in modern spaces, slipcovers are experiencing a resurgence as people seek ways to be more sustainable and cost-effective with their interior design purchases. If you’re investing in a new sofa or updating an existing one, then we encourage you to consider slipcovers. To help you make your decision, we’ve rounded up the pros and cons to buying slipcovers, along with the steps to take to find the perfect fit for your home.

A blue loveseat in a country style living room
A grey armchair in a townhouse style sitting room

What are the Advantages of Slipcovers?

In the past, slipcovers were predominately used for protecting furniture, and were often susceptible to slipping and creasing, which is why people turned to fixed designs as an alternative. Today, while the quality and design of slipcovers have improved, the appeal remains the same: easy to remove, clean and update without investing in an entirely new piece of furniture, slipcovers have many practical and economical benefits. In the eco-conscious modern day, these qualities feel more pertinent than ever, as people focus on timeless designs that can be adapted as fashions—or their personal styles—change. Here are just a few of the advantages to slipcovers:


-  They can be easily removed and washed, making them perfect for households with young children or pets.

-  Replacing a slipcover is much more economical (and environmentally-friendly) than purchasing an entirely new sofa, and can be easily replaced in the event of damage. 

-  Likewise, if your sofa’s fixed cover has been damaged, slipcovers are a great way to hide wear and tear without having to invest in an entirely new piece of furniture.

-  If you’re short on storage, a slipcover with a valance is a clever way of concealing clutter that can be secretly tucked beneath the sofa.

-  Should a change in season inspire you to update your home, a slipcover in a different material will make your room feel instantly refreshed.  

What to Consider Before Purchasing a Slipcover

If you’ve decided that a slipcover is the right choice for your home, then we’d recommend thinking about a few key elements when narrowing down the design. The first is the style of slipcover you’d like—slipcovers with valances are the most common type, but you can also find pieces that offer the appearance of a fixed design, with the flexibility of a removeable cover. Our Coleridge Collection, for example, includes a selection of slipcover options that give the impression of a fixed style.

We also advise thinking about how the cover will be fitted on to your sofa—there are a range of styles available, with some fixed using attractive bows, others relying on concealed velcro or zippers and some that are designed to simply be slipped over the top of your sofa. If you’re buying for a family home with children or pets, then we recommend seeking a style with zippers, as this is the most secure option.

How Do you Measure for Slipcovers?

Many companies will offer slipcovers that are specific to certain sofa styles that they already sell, however, if you’re purchasing from a different brand or are ordering a bespoke cover, it’s important to measure your sofa beforehand to ensure the perfect fit. Here’s how, in five simple steps:


1.  Measure the length of your sofa, from the outside of one arm to the outside of the other arm.

2. Measure the width of your seat cushions, focusing on the section that sits in front of the sofa (this is the area below the arms). Then measure the length of your seat cushions from one side of the sofa to the other. 

3. Measure the width of the sofa frame, starting at the front outside edge of one sofa arm, continuing across the back and round to the front outside edge of the opposite sofa arm. You may need to manipulate the measuring tape for accurate results.

4. Measure the seat cushion height, from the top of the seat cushion to the floor.

5. Measure the full height of your sofa, from the floor to the top of the sofa back.

An armchair with a beige slipcover, sitting in front of a wooden desk
A white sofa in a bright living room

What is the Best Fabric for Sofa Slipcovers?

The best fabric for your slipcover will come down to two things: what you need and what you like. If you’re purchasing a slipcover for predominately practical reasons, then we’d recommend seeking a material that is durable and easy to clean. While a polyester fabric will be the most durable option, a natural material will be simpler to take care of as they’re typically easier to wash. Cottons and linens are popular choices for slipcovers as they are don’t show signs of wear as quickly and are simple to clean, whereas a material such as a velvet may be best saved for a room with low traffic, as it will be more susceptible to wear and tear. For the comfort of a natural material with the durability of polyester, we recommend seeking a blend of both.

Alternatively, if you’re seeking a slipcover for mainly stylistic reasons, then let your personal taste take the lead. For those hoping to refresh their sofas with the seasons, we’d advise linen for summer and cotton or velvet for winter. For more information on choosing upholstery fabrics, read our handy guide.

How Do you Take Care of Slipcovers?

The correct way to care for your chosen slipcover will vary depending on your fabric and design, and so we always recommend checking the care label for instructions on how to clean it properly. You will be able to pop some slipcovers in the washing machine, while others will require professional dry cleaning. If your cover comes in different sections, we recommend cleaning all of them at the same time to ensure the color remains consistent. Remember, the more you wash your slipcovers, the more the color is likely to fade. Here are a few tips to follow to keep your cover looking fresh when it’s in situ:


•  Regularly rotate your seat cushion covers to ensure any wear is evenly spread.

•  Vacuum your sofa regularly using the brush attachment.

• Plump your seat cushions to ensure the filling is evenly distributed and remains comfortable.

• If possible, avoid placing your furniture in direct sunlight, as this can cause the color to fade. This is particularly important for natural fabrics such as linen.