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What is a Slipcover?

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  • Written By: Wanda Albano
  • Edited By: Sara Z. Potter
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2014
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A slipcover, simply put, is a covering that can be slipped on and off a piece of upholstered furniture. In the old days, housewives would use a slipcover as protection for their expensive hand-made furniture rather than as a way to dress it up. It may not be surprising then that when ways to produce furniture much more cheaply were discovered in the 60's, slipcover use declined greatly.

However, slipcovers have been enjoying quite a comeback. With the advent of design shows and lifestyle magazines, more and more consumers have become willing to pay a premium for a individual, renewable, quick and easy fixes. The furniture industry has been quick to address this fact by offering a surfeit of slipcovers in various sizes, colors, and materials.

Since a slipcover can be tailor-made to fit an individual's unique preferences, it has become prized by the discerning consumer who wants to get a customized look without the expense of furniture re-upholstery. Also, because it can be slipped off, it can be quite easily washed, making it a practical solution for households with children and pets. With the decreasing prices of slipcovers, it has become quite convenient, and inexpensive, to switch slipcovers as seasons change or tastes and trends evolve.

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Generally, slipcovers are thought to come in two forms: tailored and ready made. A ready made slipcover is almost always cheaper than a tailored one, because it is mass produced. The downside is that fit is sometimes compromised, and one can only choose from what slipcovers are already available. A well-tailored slipcover, on the other hand, while more expensive, ensures that the cloth will fall on your furniture perfectly, making it look as if it has been re-upholstered. With the growth of the slipcover trend, a third form has also been emerging: the mass-produced tailored slipcover.

Some furniture manufacturers, offer mass-produced tailored slipcovers specifically made for their line of sofas, armchairs, and other types of furniture. These combine the look of a tailor-made slip with all the low costs of a mass-produced covering. Buyers of these types of furniture are encouraged to update their couches, chairs, and love-seats as often as they like, giving new meaning to the term individualized furniture.

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