Everyone's talking about slipcovered furniture – interior design experts explain why this dated trend is back for 2023
5 reasons why you should embrace this 'what’s old becomes new again' trend
Like all great trends, what was once old becomes new again, and this rings especially true for slipcovered furniture.
Previously thought of as one of those outdated living room trends reserved for grandmothers and antique lovers alike, this most versatile of furniture trends is reaching the mainstream. Because, after all, you want your best couch to stay that way, right?
Companies like Sixpenny, Crate & Barrel, Coley Home, and Maker & Sons are shepherding in the resurgence of this easy-to-clean style.
Interior designer Samantha Pappas is a big fan of the furniture style for its versatility and easy-going appearance. 'Slipcovers are a great option for high-traffic areas as they are so easy to clean. I like to have an extra slipcover on hand for when you need to launder the one being used,' she says. Below, Pappas and Rob Natale, Chief of Design at Sixpenny, offer their insights as to how to incorporate slip-covered living room furniture ideas into your existing design style, no matter your aesthetic.
Samantha Pappas is an interior designer based in southern Maine specializing in designing interior finishes from space planning to shopping and installation. She specializes in all aspects of residential projects, from sourcing home goods, commissioning custom pieces, and installation.
1. Slipcovers can add a new shot of color
For designer Samantha Pappas, slipcovered furniture is an easy way to create a more relaxed feeling in a gathering space such as a family room or den.
'Identify what style speaks to you and find a slipcover that matches,' she explains. 'If you lean more towards traditional pieces, choose a structured silhouette. However, if your design style leans more eclectic, choose a slipcover that gives the space a pop of color.'
2. Slipcovers can have a structured look
If the mental image of slipcovers brings to mind your grandmother’s home from the 1990s, rest assured, not all covers are full of frills and floral patterns. In fact, a straight-edged slipcover is a great way to keep things streamlined and modern.
'Opt for a fixed slipcover attached to the underside of the sofa using velcro so you can’t even tell it’s slipcovered,' says Natale. 'It’s a clean, understated silhouette that blends perfectly in contemporary spaces, traditional spaces, eclectic spaces – you name it.'
Rob Natale is the Chief of Design at Sixpenny, a US-based furniture company that specializes in seating. At Sixpenny, Natale believes that no matter the shape, size, and state of your home, it should be the most comfortable, personal, enriching space in your world.
3. Slipcovers can revamp old pieces
Another way Pappas likes to use slipcovers is for giving old furniture a new life. Whether it’s a family heirloom that has seen better days, or a thrifted find you plan on refinishing down the line, draping a slipcover over the sofa or chair can make it feel brand new.
'A slipcover will transition your sofa or chair to blend into your design and make the space feel put together and cohesive,' Pappas says. 'I am drawn towards a more natural relaxed style and am finding that many sofas with relaxed linen slipcovers fit into that feel perfectly.'
4. Slipcover shapes have been reinvented
At Sixpenny, Natale veers away from the traditional rectangular box so many slipcovered sofas are known for fitting in.
In order to think beyond slipcovered furniture’s preconceived notions, opt for a curved shape or rounded cushions (like the brand’s Olea collection, above).
'Slipcovers can be playfully modern if you let them be,' Natale explains. 'There are so many sculptural and modernized silhouettes that blend into a variety of design styles.'
5. Slipcovers can seasonalize your space
'I have a sofa that I bought an extra set of slipcovers right at the start. One slipcover set is a pale neutral, the other is a spice-shade neutral. I swap them out so that the lighter color slipcover is on from spring, and the darker one from fall,' says Lucy Searle, Editor in Chief, Homes & Gardens.
'This not only dramatically changes the mood of the room, it means each slipcover gets removed and thoroughly cleaned once a year (I get that done professionally to avoid shrinkage or fading, rather than try to launder myself). Each slipcover should, in theory, last twice as long as if I'd kept one set on year-round, though admittedly, the fall to spring set gets more use because we're indoors more.
'The only downside is having to store the set that's not in use, but I have the dry cleaners neatly fold and pack it into a moisture-proof bag and store it in my attic when it's out of season.'
Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens for over 30 years, starting within the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-1990s. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for Realhomes.com, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she has also taken on the editorship of the magazine, which is the UK's oldest interiors magazine at 103 years old. Lucy is a serial renovator and also owns rental properties in the UK and Europe, so brings first-hand knowledge to the subjects she oversees.
Kate McGregor is a freelance design writer based in Brooklyn, New York. Covering everything from curated decor round-ups and shopping guides, to glimpses into the home lives of inspiring creatives, she has written for both print and digital publications such as ELLE Decor, Domino, House Beautiful, and Architectural Digest’s Clever. When not writing or on the hunt for the ideal taper candle holder, you can find Kate attempting to learn to knit (again), or perfecting her banana bread recipe.
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