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05 Jan 2012

To slipcover or upholster, that is the question?

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My brain has been picked by many over the holidays concerning many topics related to interior design.  I guess when I walk into people’s homes, it is free game to ask me those burning questions even though it’s off the clock at say, a holiday party.  I am happy to help but I am also happy to provide a bill for my services.

I am just wondering: If you went to get your hair done, would you sit down for the service and after they washed, cut and dried your hair, would you just simply say thank you and be on your merry way?  The services I provide are no different.


For those of you loyal readers, I truly am happy to help and this blog provides you with free information.  Comment on my blog in order to get that free information rather than taking advantage when I stop by to see you for personal reasons.  I always need new content and will help in this forum, my blog.

So, ranting is over and after taking a much needed break after the busy 2011 Lulu Designs had, 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 budget and your personal aesthetic.

How often is this room used?  If it is a high traffic sofa or chair, then you need to make sure that it is cleaned regularly.  Or is slipcovered so you can clean it yourself.  If it is never sat in or is a ‘looking-at-ya chair’, then upholster it with something decadent.  It’ll never get dirty.

Is leather upholstery a suitable option since it wipes clean and is more user-friendly?  It is more expensive so this should be budgeted for if leather is the right decision for you.

Is the look of a slip cover 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 the use, can you know what’s best for each piece in your home.  Then, it looks good no matter if it’s slipped or upholstered.

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

I am surrounded by three busy, messy boys (husband included, sorry honey).  I carry an Epi pen and am constantly needing my house to look good even when I haven’t fussed over it.  I am practical with my money and spend it like it’s the last sofa I want to buy, ever.

Conclusion: I am a slip cover-lover.  I wash them weekly to keep allergies and dirt at bay.  They fit snugly and even though slipcover twister is a weekly game at our house, I love them and will as long as I have men in my life.  I have the ability to bleach the week’s dirt away.

Also, I am all about the element of surprise with my tight-fitting slipcover designs that no one really knows it is slipcovered.  I love the element of shock and awe when people ask me how my white sofas with three boys 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.  Or, you’ll be sorry Charlie!




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