Slipcovers will change your life!

by Apr 11, 2021Decor

I first discovered slipcovered furniture in the ’90s. I was casually shopping for a sofa while on my lunch breaks when working at the Seattle Gift Center (showrooms where retailers order products for their stores), feeling extremely lucky to be able to shop wholesale, I popped into my fave, super chic, home decor showroom one day. My friend Denise said “hey you should look at this furniture line out of L.A. that has beautiful slipcovered sofas”, I did, and found a 96″ down-filled cushion sofa and ordered it with two slipcovers for the obscenely low amount of $3k. OH! how I miss shopping wholesale!! That sofa lives-on in my living room and happens to be one of the best major purchases I’ve ever made.

My Sofa

Dressed in it’s mushroom velvet slipcover it still holds up… but barely. It has been on the sofa for 5+ years because our sweet little baebae kittens loved to get their scratch-on all over the cream linen slipcover, so it got shredded. Luckily I saved it, so it will now be used as a pattern to make the new one I am having made by my upholsterer.

The beauty of the slipcover; a) washable, b) if you have more than one, presto-change-o your sofa looks different every season, c) sick of green, order a new one in a pattern or trending color, or have a one made in a fabric of your choosing. They fit in my normal size washer and need little or no steaming/pressing because of the wrinkle release setting I have on my dryer.

Back to my dilemma… the new slipcover fabric. What to do, what to do. We still have our two kitties, love them, wouldn’t ever want them to go away, but how do I choose a fabric that they will hate, ignore, only want to snooze and not shred! NO, I will not spritz them with a water bottle when they claw it (my sister’s suggestion), or spray the furniture with gross-smelling cat-away-spray, so I need to out-smart my little sugars. I mean… velvet seems to be realistic, they have never scratched the mushroom velvet. But, OMG velvet upholstery fabric ain’t cheap and I need 20 yds and at $50 a yard, the average cost for quality velvet, mmmm-bop better not.

Blue Velvet Chesterfield Sofa – Apartment Therapy

Anthropologie has definitely been an inspiration for me. For years I would visit the Anthropologie store and website and drool over a blue velvet, tufted sofa (no longer available) that I just couldn’t pull the trigger on. I tend to hold on to things until they die a horrible death, hence my sofa of 15+ years. The one pictured above from Apartment Therapy is very similar to that coveted sofa. Sooooo my blue velvet fetish is clouding my thoughts again. This green velvet one below is also very dreamy… doesn’t look as comfy as my old down-filled slouchy couch, but it is pretty.

Anthropologie Green Velvet Sofa (swoon)

Pink Velvet Sofa by Anthropologie via Gray Malin Lifestyle

I love pink… yes, it IS my favorite color, I’m not a foofy, frilly girl, AT ALL, you will never see this mama in a ruffle, but I have come to terms with the fact that pink makes me very happy! But, since I went ahead and did the pink thing in my dining room in the form of a banquette (pictured below, man I wish it was slipcovered!) I think I will spare my husband another huge pink piece of furniture in our main living space, you’re welcome, Joe!

Ballard Designs Upholstered Banquette

Another slipcover success story has been my Pottery Barn Basic Chair and Ottoman Set. Because of my little scratch-happy sugars, I have had to order a new slipcover for both pieces at least three times in ten years, meh! Not cheap, but I seem to be able to catch a PB sale every time I need a new set, so it’s painful, but not deadly on my wallet.

Who is she?

Ok, back to my fabric choice. I love blues and whites and of course pink, however I am opening up the walls that divide the kitchen, living room and dining room, why does that matter? I believe a cohesive design look is important. My design aesthetic has been shabby chic since the day I discovered Rachel Ashwell’s book in Barnes & Noble circa 1999. OMG! the soft pastels, the white slipcovered furniture, the roughed-up wood pieces… I went fully-in on this look! Now, I am leaning towards a more modern look, starting with the kitchen remodel. Modern-French is what Kels and I have decided my style aesthetic is. Sooo, do I reign in that shabby chic look? Well… maybe just tweak it.

My newest designer obsession is Leanne Ford, her style is minimalist with a twist, I love it! As I clean out and remodel this house, to get it ready to sell, and downsize for retirement, I find myself getting weirdly excited when purging and donating stuff and visualizing a more minimalist lifestyle. Girl! ya don’t need nine throws and seven more additions to a vintage vase collection! And stuff no longer brings me joy, GASP! Besides, I LOVE CHANGE, I thrive on it, if things are not changing, I get bored and cranky. So bring on the new! Recently my adult son, now living with us 😬said “mom, you’re just not nostalgic” yep, you’re right, I’m not, but I’m ok with that, (I digress). Leanne Ford’s Wilson Project, pictured below, appeals to me in so many ways. It’s Shabby Chic with a french-farmhouse minimal aesthetic. The room is very white though, I definitely need more color in my space, but I am heavily leaning towards this sofa-look for my new slipcover.

Leanne Ford – The wilson project

During the 2020 stay-at-home year, many of my friends are sprucing up, remodeling and re-designing like I am, and HGTV and now the new Discovery+ channel has really helped with inspiration and ideas! The Fords, Home Town, Fixer Upper, 100 Day Dream Home, Nate & Jeremiah, and more (be sure and check out ROCK THE BLOCK, 4 design teams with very different styles) have really brought the home decorating and design movement to a realistic, reachable dream. I love it, hope you do too! xo-Katie


  1. Rebe

    Hey there- Have you ever found a source for slip covers that work for the Ballard Design Banquette? I have one as well and the performance fabric has not held up. Thank you!

    • Katie Kay

      Hi Rebe – No, I have not found a ready-made slipcover for the banquette, I need to have one made by an upholsterer. Right now, I have a pretty Anthropologie tablecloth covering part of it that got bleached out by the sun, ugh! Hope you find a solution for yours.

    • Karen Newham

      I have a 36″ set of Ballard Coventry storage benches that have lasted 17 years (with 3 dogs) and have searched for slip covers and find nothing…not even armless stretch loveseat covers. The check pattern has faded and top cording a little worn from using to get out of bench. Do you know anyone who has tried to recover? Or made slipcovers. I have covered cushions twice and made long padded straight pieces to go over the backs but fabric no longer will match new fabric. They are still solid so hate to get rid of them but don’t want to pay arm and a leg to have a professional recover. Ballard cost for new are more than double what I paid. Any advice you can give?

      • Katie

        Hi Karen – Yes, recovering professionally is pricey and so are slipcovers, but I stand by investing in slipcovers… or you could consider replacing them with new. Full disclosure; I have a beautiful Anthropologie tablecloth over a section of my banquette until I can get my upholsterer to take it and start the slipcover. All my best – Katie


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