Sunday, May 23, 2010

FAIL: Couch Slip Cover

I'll repeat my interior decorating disclaimer that I shared in my FAIL: Pillow Shams entry: "I'll be honest, interior decorating is really not my thing. I have no concept of what goes together, what's in, what looks good, why we have certain items, etc." This is why 2 of my 3 FAIL entries are about interior decorating (and I could add to the Pillow Sham entry with yet another failed attempt at pillow shams. I might just have to spend the money and get an actual bedding set instead of trying to piece things together).

Anyway, my couch & slip cover story: the first piece of furniture I ever purchased myself was Dave the Couch.

Dave came from Goodwill and was a great couch for two years (well, except the fact that Dave was ridiculously heavy and the hide-a-bed fell out every time he was moved). I loved Dave because he had lots of CHARACTER and wasn't boring.

3 1/2 years ago, I moved into my current place and took with me a couch from my parents. This couch is circa 1994 and thus represents the decorating style of the early 90's. This couch doesn't have a name since it doesn't have a whole lot of uniqueness and character, but it is quite comfortable and is a fantastic nap couch. Unfortunately, the texture is such that when my Jack Russell decided to harness her inner feline and treat the couch like a scratching post, she began ripping out certain spots in the upholstery. Since the Jack Russell is no longer with me, I decided I could try a couch upgrade, but without buying a whole new couch. Let's try a slip cover!

In my brief furniture experience, I have seen some good slip covers and some not so good slip covers, so during my trip to the store today, I tried to channel every bit of my interior decorating memory and pick something that would feel comfortable, fit my couch and look good. I ended up choosing a brown one that had a checked texture, although by-passing the only interesting one in the aisle, a "red" suede cover (their "red" is deep magenta. seriously people. if you need a definition of "red", live in Nebraska for 4 years, then you'll know what "red" actually looks like.) So I purchased the brown one and tried it on my couch.
Here are my thoughts,
  • Eh. I guess it's not horrible.
  • It looks to me more like a 1970's couch than a 2010 neutral piece.
  • It's really kinda boring.
  • This has no CHARACTER!
  • Hmm, I don't think I like this enough to keep it, especially since I'd have to drop a wad on blankets & throw pillows to spice up this blah.
  • Maybe my other couch wasn't so bad.
So I'm planning on returning the slip cover (an easy task since I'm returning the failed pillow shams too). I did a little clean-up work on the couch which greatly helped the doggy-ripped portions look better. It's not going to make any sort of Good Housekeeping statement, but it's a seriously comfortable couch that works quite well for my living room, a room of fun, relaxation, chips & salsa, card games, movie nights, greasy popcorn fingers and naps.
I wish I could share a dramatic Before and After set of pictures that showed a slip cover changing my living room and bringing me into the next level of neutral-happy interior decorating. However, this experience did teach me that I appreciate this couch for it's semi-outdated print more than I realized. It does have some CHARACTER! I probably will get a neutral couch eventually since nice neutral couches tend to look much better than neutral slip covers, but until then, I will enjoy this couch for what it is- a couch I don't have to freak out about!

(and the alligator's name is Lary, yes with one R. he was a souvenir from my high school band's trip to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans and is named after a bus driver)


  1. Check online for slipcovers. I did a quick search and there are plenty available that are nice looking and won't break the bank. Now that you know what size or style fits your couch you can easily get something. Or, perhaps you'd like to take up the new hobby of upholstering and recover the entire couch yourself! That will make any slipcover look like a serious bargain.

  2. 1.)I miss Dave.
    2.)I really think the slip-cover looks nice. I've made most of my throw pillows. If you buy clearance cloth place-mats from Pier 1 or Bed Bath and can usually get some pretty funky prints. Just sew them face together, reverse and stuff with an old pillow or stuffing. No cutting, just four seams and could have some cute throw pillows for $4-6!

    My vote is to NOT return the slip-cover.

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