February 2, 2011

Slipcovers Are Your Friend . . .


This question was in my comments earlier this week:

I’m considering buying some white IKEA slipcovered chairs for our family room (similar to yours), but it makes me worry that w/4 kids they’ll be dirty and stained in no time. How do you keep your white/light slipcovered furniture looking good? Would you recommend it? Or do you regret it? I don’t want to have to stress about it.

First, let me state for the record that I absolutely LOVE my slipcovered furniture! It’s all I own. But I know that slipcovered furniture – and specifically WHITE slipcovered furniture – is not for everyone.

Here’s why it works for me:

1.  We have a strict no eating on the upholstered furniture policy with our kids. The Hubby is exempt from this policy and is therefore the primary offender of food spills.

2.  I am not the kind of mom that lets my kids use the furniture as a jungle gym.  It’s one of the hallmarks of being the meanest mom on the planet, but I like to think I’m teaching them to respect our home. If your children are more rambunctious and your style of parenting allows for physicality all over the furniture, white slipcovers may not work well for you. Consider slipcovers in a color that hides dirt.

3. My couches and chairs have pillows and throw blankets on them . . . also known as dirt hiders.


4. I can wash them at any time.  For my white chairs and couch (all from IKEA) I swear by OxyClean and a Clorox bleach pen.  When I wash my slipcovers, it is a day long process.  I like to soak all of the covers in shifts in the bathtub upstairs with OxyClean. Then I stain treat any stains that haven’t soaked out using a paste of OxyClean or my bleach pen.  They come out pretty darn white every time.

I put the covers in the dryer, but only until they are slightly damp.  It is much easier to stretch the cover back onto the frame that way.

In all honesty, I don’t wash my slipcovers nearly as often as I should.  I usually wait for a major stain to happen and every time I wash them, I am surprised at how dirty they are.  I maybe wash mine once a quarter or if we have guests coming. 

In the winter our upstairs couch gets a bone colored corduroy slipcover {see below}.  It stays cleaner longer and washes up great.


5.  I always have this little nugget stored in the back of my brain:  a new white slipcover for my Ektorp sofa only costs $69, so if one is damaged beyond repair {like when Big C exploded a  Halloween stress ball pumpkin filled with orange dye all over the couch}, I can just run to IKEA and buy a new cover. Bonus points go to IKEA for this low price.  A replacement cover for a Pottery Barn slipcovered sofa is $350 for the most basic fabric.

In summary, slipcovers are washable, family friendly and lovely to look at.  They are all over the place in decorating magazines where the homeowner has kids . . . I think that’s a good indicator about how they work with families.  They work well with mine. I don’t stress about it.  I stressed more when I had an upholstered couch that I had to spot clean all the time because it wasn’t slipcovered.

How about you readers? Are you slipcovered or not?

PS. The boot is gone! My boy is free again and tearing up the house like a little maniac!

PPS.  I think it’s about time for a giveaway, don’t you?


liz said...

I think you should get a commission from Ikea, because you just sold me -- I'm going to show this to my husband, who will be a tough sell on the white couch idea. I love the look of yours, and we're going to be in the market for new couches in a year or two. Pretty hard to beat $69.

christy said...

We do NOT have a slipcover couch and I SO wish that we did. We have had our family room couches for almost 5 years now and I am about ready to throw them out. They need some serious professional cleaning (but I'd rather just buy something else). I usre wish we had an Ikea close by. Boo!

AllisonK said...

Another reason I need to someday go to IKEA. I keep thinking I will make my own slipcovers, but that isn't going to happen.

Z. Marie said...

I've considered the Ektorp for years but never have followed through. I might the next time we're in the market for a sofa, though. Supposedly the Ektorp slipcovers also fit the State Department's standard-issue Drexel Heritage sofas, which would be a plus for us. And there are options other than white, although your bleaching solution sounds like it works well.

Nikki said...

I love slipcovers. I'm a sewer so I actually made slipcovers to cover my ratty old furniture in my front room. I love the new look and the fabric cost me $150 to cover 2 chairs and a couch! Not too shabby! And so easy to clean! And when I get bored with the colors, I'll just do something else! Fabulous!!

MelancholySmile said...

My mom uses the white IKEA slipcovers as well, and her house looks FABULOUS. Someday I want an almost-all-white-house. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information on slipcovers. I think I want to give them a try. We have a IKEA real close. (I love IKEA) Not sure if I am brave enough for white, although white would be my dream. You have a beautiful home. Thanks again for sharing.

Jessie said...

Thank you thank you for answering me! Okay, first of all, kudos to you for keeping your kiddoes off your furniture. I have the spirited types who, no matter how nice or mean I am, fling themselves all over ours. So, we have the Ektorp corner sofa w/the grey slipcover and LOVE it! That's why I wanted lighter covered armchairs to balance it out. Your post sealed the deal for me. Without question, I love the look of white, and now that I know your tricks for keeping them clean, I think I'm going to go for it! I've shopped all around, and for the price and decent quality, you just can't beat IKEA. And I love that you can buy a new or different color slipcover for so little...another reason to not worry! P.S. Your family rm looks lovely!

The Queen Vee said...

I love all my slip covered furniture.

Apis Melliflora said...

We have Ballard Design slipcovered Baldwin. I try to enforce the no food policy too, but it's not always successful especially when the kitchen is footsteps away in an open floor plan. Still, washing takes out all but chocolate so far.

Kristi~The Slipcover Girl said...

i love my white slipcovers and would have nothing else!

Tobi said...

My grandmother has recently started hinting that I should slipcover my sofa's. I think this is her subtle hint that she doesn't really love my decor. =)

I'm so happy that Ollie is boot-free!

Emily said...

Oh, I do love my slipcovers, but I hate washing them, big pain!

Jennie said...

Hi there. I recently discovered your blog and enjoy it. I have a question about your IKEA furniture. We recently bought the EKTORP sofa and loveseat last week. I was so excited about it and loved reading about your reviews about it. But my new couches smell! I thought the smell would go away after awhile, but it hasn't. I believe it's coming from the pressed wood frame and foam filling in the cushions. Did your couches smell like this at first too?

Anonymous said...

Just found this blog on Pinterest! Just wondering? Would these slip covers fit a couch that i already have? or are these just for IKEA Couches?

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