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How to Measure a Recliner for a Slipcover

by C.D. Crowder
Published April 29, 2010 | Updated August 8, 2015

Whether you want to update an old chair or protect a new one from spills and stains, a recliner slipcover will do the job. Should something spill on the slipcover, you can easily clean it, as most are machine washable. Slipcovers let you change the color of a recliner to match any decor, too. Before you buy a slipcover, however, you'll need to measure your reclining chair to ensure a proper fit. These steps for measuring work for recliners with either attached or separate footrests.

Measuring for a Slipcover:

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  • Prepare the Recliner

    Place the recliner in the upright position so that it is not reclining at all. This will place the recliner in its highest position.

  • Measure from the Top

    Measure the recliner's back from the top edge the bottom edge to determine its maximum height. Write down measurements in both inches and centimeters. Some slipcover manufacturers display measurements in inches, while others display measurements in centimeters.

  • Measure Width

    Measure the width of the recliner by measuring from the outer edge of one arm to the outer edge of the other arm.

  • Measure in the Reclined Position

    Take the length measurement of the reclined chair by first placing it in the fully reclined position. Measure the recliner from the top, back edge to the end of the footrest. Note that this measurement isn't necessary for all types of slipcovers, but it is recommended for custom slipcovers. This measurement is mainly for recliners with attached footrests.

  • Measure the Ottoman

    If your recliner has a separate ottoman, be sure to measure its height, width, and depth. Not all recliner slipcovers will have ottoman covers, but if you want to purchase one at the same time you're shopping for your chair slipcover, you'll need to have those measurements on hand.

Chair Slipcover Tips:

Elastic slipcovers provide more room for larger, cushioned recliner arms. These slipcovers also provide a tighter fit. Slipcovers with ties provide less room for cushions but can be adjusted for a looser fit.

If you can't find a slipcover that matches your exact measurements, purchase one slightly larger than your recliner. Smaller slipcovers may tear when the recliner is placed in the reclined position.

Remove any armrest covers before placing the slipcover on the chair. Otherwise, bunching may occur on the armrests.