Solving Common Furniture Problems - dummies

By Mark Montano, Carly Sommerstein

If you don’t have the money to go out and buy completely new furniture, some of these troubleshooting tips may be perfect for you. Whether your couch is too big, or your furniture is showing its age, here are some ideas to dress up your furniture so it works with, and not against, your room.

  • Your too-large sofa that seems to overtake the room: To make an overlarge sofa seem smaller, choose a solid slipcover color that matches your room’s wall color. You don’t have to match it perfectly, but keep it in the family. For example, if your walls are cream, go for a wheat color; if your walls are light blue, go up or down a shade, keeping the tone warm or cool, depending on your color palate. If your walls are painted with flat (nonshiny) paint, chose a slipcover fabric that has a matte, not a shiny texture.

  • Your flimsy, less-than-comfortable sofa needs a bit of substance: Think about adding some cotton batting before you slipcover your sofa. It doesn’t cost much and it beefs up a too-thin sofa while reducing slipcover slippage. Your guests and family will thank you for it, and so will your bank account! You can buy fusible batting that attaches right to the old sofa or the regular kind that comes by the yard at the fabric store.

  • Your sectional sofa feels dated: Don’t be afraid to break up a sectional that feels like it must stay together. Consider a fabric that has a beautiful drape so it hangs well over the areas where the sectional sofa has been separated. The slipcovers you add to two sectional pieces cover and create new, separate identities. You can even cover each section in different fabrics, so they’re really “divorced.”

    If you find that you need to even out or bolster your sectional pieces, you can add some fusible or regular batting to bulk up separated areas to create more symmetry. The best way to add regular batting to “fill in” a piece of furniture is to whipstitch it in place by hand sewing, or if you don’t mind something more permanent, use the fusible type.

  • Your armchair armrests are shot, but the rest of the chair is doing just fine: Who says you have to slipcover the whole chair? Make a pattern just for the two arms and create armrest covers in a fun, contrasting fabric. If your chair is a solid, consider using a print whose background or base color matches the solid.