There comes the day in the life of a sleeper sofa when no one — I mean NO one — wants to sleep on it anymore. The mattress is kaput.
Around that time you begin to notice how outdated the upholstery looks. You wince every time you walk by it. As one customer puts it, “Blech.”
So, you ask yourself should I keep it or get rid of it?
The good news is your well loved pullout couch doesn’t have to go by the wayside just because the mattress is shot and the upholstery is ugly. If you have a classic design that is structurally sound and the cushions still offer good support it can easily be updated with a slipcover and become a great looking, comfortable sofa for everyday use.
Here are 3 design tips for giving your old sleeper sofa a new look and function:
I think this project is THE slipcover makeover of the summer! What a transformation!
My customer found this big, comfy Henredon sofa on Craigslist complete with thick quilted floral upholstery. There was no doubt in her mind that a washable, white denim slipcover would give it the style boost it needed to fit right in with her other white slipcovered furniture and vintage eclectic decor.
For this custom cover, I used 12 oz white cotton bull denim from Big Duck Canvas and trimmed it with navy bull denim. Both fabrics were factory seconds but you’d never know it — very good quality and no major flaws.
I changed the outdated kiss-pleat design on the back cushions to a narrow boxing and updated the skirt with 8″ wide box pleats all the way around. It’s those little details that make all the difference.
Tip: if you want to use a dark color welt trim on your light color slipcover be sure to test it first for crocking and bleeding.
Catherine’s old slipcover was cat scratched, stained, shrunk-up and stretched out. At first glance you might think how in the world can her cover be copied with good results.
Well, in spite of its worn out condition, Catherine’s slipcover turned out to be a straightforward pattern to replicate. Here’s why:
- Overall good fit. The slipcover frame (the body) fit relatively well. It only needed minor fit adjustments — a few simple fixes to restore the original shape such as adding ease, squaring up corners and raising the slouchy skirt.
- Cushion covers intact. The overall shape and fit of the back and seat cushion covers could be copied as-is. No additional pattern drafting or guesswork needed.
- New slipcover fabric similar to original. Slipcover fit translates best when the fabric for the new slipcover is the same or similar weave and weight as the original. Catherine’s old cover was made with a sturdy cotton denim. For her slipcover copy I used this durable, washable 12 oz cotton bull denim in color Soft Cream from Big Duck Canvas.
See more slipcover copies I’ve created and learn what else to consider when it’s time to have your old slipcover copied.
A custom-made slipcover for a large boxy sofa, like Andrea’s Pottery Barn piece, looks and functions best in a supple heavyweight fabric. It covers and defines the squared arms and other angular features better than a lighter weight fabric that is too limp or clingy.
For this project I used cotton-poly canvas in Charcoal. Besides being durable and washable this cloth has the same contemporary vibe as the sofa design. I love it when function, fit and fabric are in sync!