Ready to redesign the sofa you love or an old one got you down? Maybe it doesn’t need a complete redo, but you’d love to change up the colors to match your space. You sit down and search how to do and suddenly you’re overwhelmed. You’re left wondering: what’s the difference between a slipcover and a protector? What should I know about custom and ready-made slipcovers? Should I consider reupholstering?
It’s about balancing your budget and desires: the closer to new furniture – the more expensive it will be, but the less flexible the solution.
Want to use the slipcover on many couches, have great trendy colors, a nice durable fabric and a good look? Advanced ready-made is your choice (cost around $180).
Need to nail every detail, get any fabric you want and you’re fine with spending over $450 only for a specific couch model? Go for custom slipcovers.
Just need to cover the whole couch without much requirements to the looks and quality? Go for cheap ready-made sofa covers that start from $40.
If you need only need protection from spills and dirt and you’re not doing this for décor, then go for Furniture Protectors. They’re pretty cheap too - $25-30.
Slipcovers offer more protection for the whole couch, since they cover its whole surface. They also allow for truly changing the sofa’s appearance. The more money invested in the couch cover, the neater the look. Basic covers start from $40, nice looking covers are around $180, perfect fitting covers start from $450.
Reupholstery is basically like getting new furniture. Starts from $1000. Looks don’t get any better than this.
Slipcovers are cheaper and start from $40. The higher the price tag, the better looks you get ($180 for nice looks, $450 for a perfect fit). One significant advantage of sofa covers in comparison to upholstery is that they can be easily washed, if soiled or stained.
If you’re a master of sewing, love arts and crafts and have some spare time, then this might be a good option. You’re free to create any fit you like and choose any fabric you want. But be sure to have good skills to get a good result and prepare to invest a couple of weeks into the project.
Otherwise, you can always order something ready or custom made.
If you want a 100% educated choice, grab a seat - you’re about to slip into all sofa-redo options.
The DIY Slipcovers
This is the best bet for people who love creating something completely their own, have the time and some killer sewing skills.
Using your own selections of fabric really allows you to stick to your taste and your budget (from $20 and going into thousands). It also gives you the opportunity to work with an odd shaped sofa or chair that may not come off the rack at the store, but the overall look really depends on how well you do it. Even if you’re a relatively savvy in sewing, it can take anywhere from 2 days to months. DIY couch covers can be as easy to maintain as you want them to be or the opposite.
Typically, the simplest solution in the world of furniture covers, protectors are best only for, well, protection.
Often used for proofing from stains and spills, they’re made from polyester with waterproof coating. While being decently durable, some of these materials might be very static and tend to be hair magnets. As protectors are created for function not form, they can be used on a couch of any shape. They are fairly cheap ranging around 25 or 30 bucks a cover, readily available and easy to clean and use.
Looking for a good price-value combo, but on the low end of the price spectrum? The look, fabric quality or color choice aren’t #1 priorities? Then the cheap slipcovers are for you.
Designed in basic colors or patterns, made mostly out of cotton and polyester, these sofa covers can be somewhat durable, but often become major hair and dust attractors. While they are easy to install, maintaining an alright look becomes a routine with lots of tucking and pinning. Easily machine washable, but requiring steam or ironing to keep the cotton ones looking presentable. These slipcovers are readily available and typically cost from $20-$50.
For those who love to stick with a brand, but don’t mind the variable fit and material quality, branded slipcovers may be the right choice. Usually, they are priced higher than the previous group, so value seekers and trend lovers may be disappointed with this option.
Found in the same cotton and polyester materials, they retain all the associated problems with hair attraction. Fit on branded sofa covers is often awkward due to simple piece geometry or older styles. Fabric and color options are often limited to only what is considered standard. While these covers are easy to install, they will still require constant tucking, pinning and some padding. If you select a cotton option, after washes iron or steam heat will be required to maintain the look. These couch covers are readily available and range from $80-$250.
Slipcovers like the ones from Homeleon are best for people who want to upgrade their sofa with a versatile slipcover and keep the good look and the feeling of quality, as well as get a chance to add something unique. While being slightly higher on the price spectrum, it’s a good value proposition.
Not only do they have a fit that’s in most cases close to custom slipcovers, their materials resemble upholstery and retain a pleasant smooth feel – all while being stretchy (allowing for use on multiple sofa shapes). The fabric used is still mostly polyester, although constructed with a focus on low static, which means almost no more attracting hair on your sofa when Rufus the dog jumps up to snuggle while you’re watching TV.
The downsides are that they might not fit gigantic sofas and they require slightly more work to install due to more parts used than in the sofa covers in the categories above.
Colors are on-trend, constantly updated and can be chosen separately for the sofa base and cushions to achieve a look available mostly to premium sofas.
Very low maintenance involved: the design of the slipcover and some easy tricks will hold everything in place. It’s washable and has low wrinkling, if any. Readily available and ranging from $150-$200.
Want to see how a Homeleon Slipcover Set compares head-to-head with alternatives? Check out our detailed comparison post with 80+ photos!
Custom Slipcovers for Popular Couch Models or “Limited Custom Slipcovers”
If you own a popular model and you’re its fan, but wish to go beyond what the manufacturer has to offer in slipcovers, then the limited custom slipcover option is something to consider. Just be ready that is a somewhat sizeable investment into a used sofa and it won’t be easy to buy multiple covers to switch them according to your style or mood.
Custom sofa cover sellers offer a wide range of durable high-quality upholstery fabrics in many colors. Pair this with a slipcover design developed for a specific sofa model and you get a good fit with excellent fabric. However, you need to confirm that you’re buying a slipcover for an existing model, otherwise you need to get a fully custom sofa cover.
Limited custom slipcovers are made-to-order and can take 3-6 weeks or longer to deliver. Often harder to install because of their specific measurements to your piece, they can offer quite the workout to put on. However, maintaining the look is very simple.
These slipcovers are washable, but wrinkling is still a problem. Budget can range from $350-$500.
Full Custom Slipcovers
Perfect for owners of furniture from niche brands or less popular models with complex shapes, who wish to get a slipcover. As with limited couch covers, this is more of a long-term investment into your furniture and buying multiple colors easily is usually not an option. Be ready to pay $500 (if bought online) to over $2000 for a great look and decent fabric. You'll also have to spend some time and attention on getting the initial measurements right.
For owners of expensive, quality pieces of furniture or the ones of special sentimental value.
Creating the look of a brand-new piece of furniture with classic bones, this would be the most expensive option ($1000+) for a sofa-redo. Often taking months of time in fabric selection and requiring work by a professional, reupholstery is not a choice for someone looking for a quick fix.
For more info on the costs of slipcovers, see out Cost Guide.
And if you’d like to know more on how to buy slipcovers, read this article.
That’s it for all the options that can protect or change the look of your furniture. Now that you understand their whole range, it’s clear that just like Grandma says - you often get what you pay for (at least in a sofa redo). However, categories serve different purposes – expensive reupholstery and custom slipcovers are for those that appreciate the true longevity or sentimental value of their furniture. They enjoy sticking with one single look and want to keep it like that. Ready-made slipcovers are for those who want more of a practical and quick solution. Of course, there are options in between that combine the best of both worlds and we believe we got pretty close to that.