Recovering furniture the green way

Photo: istockphotos/lisegagne
Save money too with slipcovers

It is early morning and the sun is shining in your windows. As you head to the kitchen for your first hit of caffeine (fair-trade and grown on a bird-friendly farm, of course), you notice that your living room is looking a little drab. Your once bright and happy couch is fading and your chairs are looking sad. Funny how a bright morning can show us where our interior design needs a little work.

Being a green decorating diva, you’re inspired to make a change, but in an eco-friendly way. So instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, you vow to refresh those tired pieces with a little help from new slipcovers (that is, after your coffee!).

“Recovering” is a great decision with green benefits:

  • You can choose an eco fabric. We recommend organic cotton, bamboo, soy, lyocell or Ingeo.
  • You can rescue and recycle a found piece of furniture.
  • Less used furniture ends up in landfills.
  • The materials (some potentially toxic) that would have been used to create a new piece aren’t needed.

Then there are benefits on top of the eco ones:

  • Slipcovering is more affordable than buying a new piece.
  • You can create a custom look.
  • Usually you can wash slipcovers in your washing machine. No need to worry about spills and mess from kids and pets anymore!

But where to start? We contacted our friends at Potato Skins, a store in Toronto that specializes in making custom slipcovers for all types of furniture. Here are their tips:

RESEARCH: Look into the green fabric options available at your price point.

SHOP: Don’t rely on the slipcover maker to have the fabric of your dreams. Browse around local fabric stores to find the color and pattern you’re looking for; often you can find great deals. Note: take along photos of the piece you wish to slipcover.

MEASURE: Make sure to remove all cushions first and measure the height, width and depth of the piece. Measure each cushion’s dimensions separately. Note: a professional slipcover maker will usually do this for you.

RELAX: Custom slipcovers take about three weeks to produce, so be patient.