Saving Money: Make That Old Couch New With a Slipcover!

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Today’s guest post is from Caroline Smith, owner of the website, which provides more handy hints for using slipcovers around the home.  Caroline enjoys trying her hand at various DIY projects.  She is particularly interested in green living and likes to find innovative ways to reuse or recycle secondhand items where she can.


In my experience, households, especially those with children or pets, can often turn a perfectly lovely couch into a disaster in very short time.  Couches can be expensive to replace.   It is also not very eco-friendly to get rid of a couch just because the upholstery has seen better days. But at the same time, we all want our homes to look nice and attractive.

Fortunately, I’ve discovered a frugal and green way to keep my family room furnishing in good condition and up-to-date.

When my sofas begin to show some wear because of grease, juice, jelly, or grass stains, or become ripped or torn from all the roughhousing, I just fit some slipcovers to rejuvenate them. To me, this seems a much more sensible solution than buying brand new furniture and it extends the useful life of my couches by several years.

If you’re trying to furnish a new home on a tight budget, I would suggest you do a little second-hand shopping and consider recycling an old couch rather than spend a small fortune purchasing brand new pieces.  First, watch for offers on to see if someone in your local area has a couch offered completely free. Also check the free section of the advertisements at Craigslist and the classified section of the local newspaper.

If these places do not advertise a couch in need of a new home that can be easily recycled with slipcovers, you could visit the local thrift shops. Another option would be to ask your friends or relatives if they have an old couch in their basement or storage area which they could donate to your cause. With slipcovers as your ally, you can recycle almost any couch or chair that can still support weight. In fact, friends often comment on my wonderful eclectic taste, and I proudly tell them about how I keep my furnishings in such good shape.

At one time, slipcovers were difficult to use, never looked very tidy, and came in a limited range of solid, boring colors, but modern ones are easy to use, come in exciting fabrics, and stay in place quite well. Even when a couch is a little untraditional in shape, good couch covers can be made to fit quite easily.

I use the following tricks to help get a better fit:

• To get a snug fit, use rubber bands around old newspapers and push down between the cushions to take up extra fabric and hold the material firmly in place.

• Lay old towels or blankets on seats or arms to fill in areas where a slipcover fits too loosely.

• Attach a simple Velcro dot along edges to hold them in place.

With these tricks, you should be able to get a great fit even if your furniture has lost some of its stuffing.

By using slipcovers through the years, I’ve saved a lot of money by extending the useful life of my furniture. In addition, I feel good about making good, conscientious use of natural resources and slowing the progression of trash to an overflowing landfill.


Thanks, Caroline!



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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.