Transform an Ugly Sofa with a Dropcloth Slipcover

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  June 28, 2011 — 14 Comments

One extra discotastic but oh-so-comfy sofa


One big ol’ canvas dropcloth


Equals not so ugly anymore

It’s pretty awesome. Just like a nice linen, the dropcloth gets softer every time it’s washed. To arrange it on the sofa, I find the seam that runs all the way down the middle lengthwise and fold the whole thing in half so that the two ends of the seam meet. Then, I plop it on the sofa so that the seam is lined up with the back of the cushions and the folded edge is about in the center of the sofa.

Then I take off the back cushions and unfold the dropcloth, tucking the seam way down behind the seat cushions.

I put the back cushions back on and toss the cover over the back, tucking the excess material on the floor under the sofa and arranging the folds over the arms so that the sides are pretty well covered.

Sometimes I think about trimming some of the excess fabric on the front and back (and maybe adding it to the sides, which are a little skimpy), but I wash this thing all the time and I’d hate for it to shrink even a little and look all high-watery. Besides, it’s so easy to just tuck the fabric underneath since the whole operation sits up on some awesome 80′s caster wheels. I got this sofa from craigslist for $60 and the dropcloth was about $30, so even though it’s not exactly high design this is a great alternative to reupholstery and a budget-friendly way to take a piece of secondhand furniture from “used and abused” to “ready for a new life.” If you’ve got the sewing skills to fashion a tailored slipcover more power to you, but this girl is not good at spatial reasoning so a loose-fit slipcover it is.

Even Apartment Therapy is into the look:

Photo credit David Benrud | Image via Apartment Therapy

The room above features Pottery Barn’s Dropcloth Twill Slipcover, which retails for $99 in the sofa size. My dropcloth is significantly larger (which was important since this sofa is long enough for all 6’4″ of my husband to stretch out on for a nap). Now, I love me some Pottery Barn, but I’m pretty proud to have gotten my slipcover and my sofa for less than their slipcover alone. I do like the way theirs falls so nicely around the edges, though. It’s pictures like this that make me want to hem mine. What do y’all think? Should I hem it to nicely graze the floor and risk awkward shrinkage, or keep on truckin’ tuckin’?

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap


14 responses to Transform an Ugly Sofa with a Dropcloth Slipcover

  1. This couch caught my eye previously in your home tour photos – I really like the unique size, streamlined shape AND now I love the slipcover EVEN MORE! I can’t sew to save my life so I say leave it be. Great thrifty slipcover tip, would love to try it!

  2. Being 6’5″ myself, I can totally relate. Nothing is more important than having a couch long enough to stretch out on for a nap. I also sleep diagonally on my bed because otherwise it is too small.

  3. Janet (Country Mouse} June 28, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    What a great idea! I have an ugly sofa and loveseat that I don’t want to get rid of because they are so comfortable. I hate to spend money on expensive slipcovers because the dogs also love to sleep on them. I usually put little blankets where the dogs sleep. Dropcloths would be so easy to keep clean.

  4. We did the same thing! It worked wonders! We even use drop cloths for doors and curtains now!

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap June 30, 2011 at 11:46 am

      So smart! You just gave me an idea to maybe use them as curtains in our front room. I bet they’d insulate better than the muslin. Thanks!

  5. That looks great and I’m getting ready to do that myself. I eventually plan to do some sort of minimal embellishment on mine. But I love the natural clean slate look as well!
    As a seamstress, I can advise you on hemming or not hemming… as you have been hemming and hawing about it.(Sorry I just had to throw that pun in there!) If it has already been washed and dried several times in hot water and hot air, I wouldn’t worry about it shrinking anymore. It should be done doing all the shrinking it’s going to do by now. So cut off the extra bits and hem away if you want…or not. You could possibly find other uses for the extra fabric–rugged tea towels maybe or a sturdy apron? (:

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap August 13, 2012 at 10:10 am

      Thanks, Cathy! This was a while ago–I did eventually harvest some of that extra fabric. Can’t remember what I used it for at the moment, but I’m sure it was something fabulous =)

  6. I will try the dropcloth slipcover, I’m looking for a casual beach type atmosphere, like the idea of curtains too, maybe I will replace my “burlap curtains”.

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