How to Choose a Durable Slipcover to Protect Your Sofa

How to Choose a Durable Slipcover to Protect Your Sofa

Before you spend a fortune having a couch reupholstered or just throw the whole thing in the dumpster, consider a slipcover. A durable sofa slipcover will enhance your furniture cosmetically and functionally. Whether you have a new sofa that you don’t want to get ruined or a second-hand sofa that needs a face-lift, furniture slipcovers save you money and they’re generally easy to take care of. Here’s how to find a heavy-duty slipcover that will keep your living room looking fresh.

Browse Sofa Covers That Fit Your Budget and Lifestyle

Sofa slipcover with geometric trellis pattern in grey and white

The type of sofa cover you’ll want will depend on how your piece of furniture is used. If you have company over often, you’ll want a colorfast slipcover that won’t wear with regular use. Do house guests occasionally spend the night on your sofa? They’ll appreciate the antimicrobial qualities certain slipcovers offer. If a slipcover is reversible, so much the better. For daily life, stain-resistant and waterproof sofa covers are must-haves, especially if you have kids or pets. A non-skid slipcover will stay in place a lot better than other options.

Ready-made and semi-custom slipcovers are machine-washable and the least expensive, making them practical choices. Manufactured in standard sofa sizes, ready-made slipcovers require tucking and pinning to take care of the extra fabric. Semi-custom slipcovers are tailored to fit specific brands and models of sofas.

Custom slipcovers are designed to fit your sofa specifically, and you can choose the type of fabric, style, and color of the cover before it’s made. These covers are usually “dry clean only,” so they require more care than their mass-produced counterparts. But because they’re more fashionable, you can feel better about leaving one on your sofa all the time.

Measure the Size of Your Sofa for Stretch Strength

Dark grey velvet sofa slipcover

Whether it’s for a loveseat or a sectional, a strong sofa slipcover has got to have some give. The perfect combination of elasticity and shrink resistance will minimize the time you spend straightening and smoothing, so decide if you want a relaxed or stretch fit slipcover. Full-cushion coverage and a wrinkle-free fit also make for an impenetrable, longer-lasting sofa.

To get the right-size slipcover, carefully measure the length of your sofa from outer arm to outer arm, then measure the depth from the front of the couch to the back. Finally, measure the height from the floor to the top of your seat cushions. Make sure you note whether the cushions are square or if they wrap around the arms of the sofa. For more on sizing a slipcover, read How to Measure a Sofa for a Slipcover.

Try to avoid purchasing a sofa cover you have to struggle with each time you take it off to clean it. Instead, choose a one-piece design that slips on and off with ease. For more detailed instructions on getting the best fit, read How to Put a Slipcover on a Sofa.

Choose a Resilient Slipcover Fabric That’s Made to Last

Green microfiber sofa

Choosing a type of fabric plays an important part in the durability of your slipcover. The most indestructible sofa cover fabrics include twill blends, canvas, cotton, and denim. It’s also a good idea to consider the material of the sofa underneath the cover. A leather sofa slipcover needs to be made from natural fibers that absorb moisture so the leather won’t be harmed.

While heavy-duty and thick fabrics make the sturdiest sofa covers, fabrics like chenille and velvet won’t conform well to the shape of your furniture, so it’s best to avoid these types of heavyweight slipcovers. Outdoor furniture slipcovers typically have a water-resistant coating — one of these is a must-have if you’re trying to protect a sofa on a patio or screened-in porch.

Polyester and microfiber fabrics provide a more fitted appearance but tend to be more lightweight. This includes stretch-suede slipcovers and micro-suede sofa slipcovers. Silk and wool provide a sophisticated touch, but the fibers won’t last long, and the covers tend to be “dry clean only.”

For more on how to choose a well-made, high-quality sofa cover that will stand up to fur, drool, rips, and stains, read Best Slipcovers by Fabric.

It’s the little extras that make a sofa slipcover special. Do you dream of dust ruffles and decorative trim? Textured fabrics with buttons and fringe? Learn more about slipcovers with our Slipcovers Buying Guide or How to Buy Slipcovers.