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Cotton Velvet

DECORATING IDEAS

Ten Tips for Making Your Slipcovers Look Great

1. Anchor your slipcover with a rolled-up magazine
Take a heavy magazine, roll it up and secure it with rubber bands about every two inches or so. This homemade tool is the most clever, least expensive and most popular tool known to ready-made slipcover users. Simply jam it into the crevices between the seat and arm and all along the back of the seat cushions to create an anchor-like effect on your slipcover. Alternative anchors include wooden dowels, PVC pipe, and even pool noodles!
2. Use rug grip to prevent slippage
Buy a roll of rug grip in any fabric or discount store. Cut a piece longer than your seat cushions, lay it on top of your seat cushions, and tuck into the crevices by the arms. Then cover over with a slipcover. This is particularly useful if you purchased a slipcover in a smooth fabric. Generally, the heavier, textured fabrics behave better as slipcovers. But if your slipcover is smooth and/or your upholstery is smooth, rug grip really helps. Use it on top of your furniture arms, and along the top back of your furniture as well, especially if you have leather furniture.

3. Use your dryer to get wrinkles out
Never iron a slipcover! Just toss your cover into the dryer with a really wet washcloth and tumble on low or medium for ten minutes. The wrinkles should steam right out! If there are any wrinkles left, retumble and make sure that washcloth has enough water in it! This great tip can be used to get wrinkles and fold lines out of your tablecloths and your clothing!

4. Styling tip for furniture arms
Unless your furniture has big rolled arms, styling a slipcover can be difficult. The key is in the tucking. There are two places to tuck: down into the crevice between the seat and arm, and back into the crevice between the back of the furniture and the arm. The trick is to evenly distribute the extra fabric between these two places. Tuck down and back, down and back, until the slipcover lies smoothly over the arm.
5. Beef up skinny arms with Furniture Falsies
If you have narrow, low, or recessed arms (or some combination of those three styles), you may need to beef up your furniture arms in order for your slipcover to look and fit properly. Furniture Falsies are pre-made arm pads that plump up furniture arms to make slipcover styling a breeze. They take all the struggle out of styling and make the furniture arm more comfortable as well. Great for furniture with wooden arms.

6. Choose heavier, textured fabrics for the best slipcover performance
Heavy, textured fabrics tend to stick better to your upholstery, stay in place better, wrinkle less, and drape more beautifully than lighter weight fabrics. A blend of polyester, cotton, or other fibers is the best for slipcovers because blends wrinkle less and are easier to wash and more durable. The best fabrics for pet owners are denim (pet hair doesn't stick and denim can withstand pet claws), microfiber suede (pet hair brushes right off and you can spot clean it which you cannot do with cotton), and Sure Fit's Hobnail Chenille (a true, upholstery-weight fabric made of Olefin which is naturally stain-resistant).

7. Try a little Lycra in your slipcover
Stretch slipcovers offer superior performance and an upholstered look (as opposed to a slipcover look). There are no ties or skirts - just a smooth, clean appearance. Lycra gives the fabric sticking power so it stays better than regular slipcovers. It also is more forgiving on "T" cushions, extra large furniture, and furniture with unusual shapes.

8. Use a wooden spoon to tuck deeper
Ready-made slipcovers work by tucking. The deeper you tuck, the better your slipcover will look and stay. Use a wooden spoon to help get the extra fabric deep into the crevices of your furniture. It will help protect your nails and hands from the inner workings of your furniture. This is particularly useful where the arm meets the back of the furniture.

9. Don't like ties? Tuck them in!
Most ready-made slipcovers come with ties at four corners. These are both decorative and practical as they help pull your cover in to fit your furniture. If you don't like ties at the back, simply cut off all but a couple of inches and form a neat belt with the remaining fabric. Secure with Velcro. Do the same in front, or simply tuck them into the crevice where the arm meets the seat. Make sure to bring the outer tie neatly across the front of the arm and then tuck. This will give you a belt look instead of a tie look.
10. Make use of decorative pillows in the corners to hide imperfect styling
One great way to hide a multitude of styling flaws such as less-than-perfect arms is to use matching or coordinating decorative pillows in each corner of your furniture. Pillows also give you more of a decorator, pulled-together look
.

Choosing the right slipcover
There are no hard and fast rules but here are some helpful hints. First, if you are happy with your current décor and simply want to cover your furniture, then consider choosing color first. Pick something that coordinates with your existing rugs, drapes, and wall color. If you're having difficulty, flip through some decorating magazines or books to see if you can find any rooms that look similar to yours. Many people opt for solid color slipcovers because they are so easy to decorate with. We recommend sticking with a solid color slipcover if you have a patterned rug for example. If you are looking to change your whole room, look through Sure Fit's catalog or web site and see what appeals to you. We carry over 60 patterns - everything in the catalog and more! Many customers choose neutral colors for a clean, contemporary look. Others want to lighten up in Summer, while going rich and dark in Winter. We have a slipcover for almost every style and our prices are so good, you might even consider getting more than one cover!

Mixing and matching fabrics
Mixing patterns and textures is a wonderful way to get a professional decorator look in your living room. One rarely sees the same fabric all around a living room. Sure Fit's slipcover collection is designed to make mixing and matching easy. Our favorite combinations are Lara and Sure Chenille Olive or Red, and Sarah Rose with Rose Garden Rose. If you're not sure what goes with what, call or visit The Berkshire Slipcover Outlet and we'll help you decide.

Enjoy these ideas from Betsy Gates Moore, Interior Designer!

THINK SPRING!

Washed Denim Stripe RETHINK COLOR
Out with the old, the dark and the drab. Lighten up and brighten up wherever you can by painting walls, adding a bright rug, removing heavy furniture, drapes. Store what you love for Fall.
REFRESH
Clean up, wash windows to let the sunshine in, move furniture and vacuum underneath, make your surfaces sparkle and take up heavy rugs and send them to the cleaners and store them until Fall, scrub the bare floors for a beautiful natural and cooler look.
REARRANGE
Give your rooms a facelift by rearranging the furniture. Create more intimate conversation areas, as well as respite spots in each room for soulful time, be it reading or meditating. Furniture can move away from the fireplace and towards the outside for a different focal point and emphasis.
REPLANT
Bring the outdoors in using plants, flowers in every room and vice versa - plant outside of windows and pay attention to views, enhancing vistas or window boxes with Azaleas, Rhododendron, Hydrangea, and your favorite flowers for color throughout and beyond the summer.
RECOVER
Slipcover dark couches, loveseats and chairs (include Dining Room) with new, lighter seasonal Washed Denim Solidfabrics or replace heavier slipcovers. Check out our new fabrics at Sure Fit for some exciting options. Go for color with our Contrast Trim with Tailored Arm in Red or Indigo, or mix and match these two! Enjoy subtle texture in Rose garden featuring clean lines and a floral damask.
REMOVE CLUTTER and RE-ACCESSORIZE
Remove clutter by re-accessorizing. Time for the gaudy, the bad and the ugly to give way to things of beauty, lightness and practicality. Think shells, baskets, potpourri, and useful items such as bookends, planters and attractive frames for updated photos and clocks.
RE-FLUFF
New pillows can change a room almost as rapidly as a slipcover. Brighten up an existing fabric or accent a new one with the added dimension, comfort and color that pillows offer. Be bold and mix and match.
RE-DO Window Treatments
Heavy drapes can come down - new hardware and easy to hang tab tops can go up in their place and show off those clean windows and the beautiful outdoors. Go with a light, natural drape.
RELIGHT
Address lighting and change old bulbs, replace old shades, add more light where needed and install dimmer switches where appropriate for ultimate mood enhancement.
RELAX!
Enjoy the bloom on the rose and reap the benefits of your Spring pick me up by really living in the fabulous space you have just created by these simple enhancements.

SUMMER DECORATING IDEAS

Cottage Stripe EucalyptusThink cool colors - blues, greens, whites and more white. Nautical themes of red, white and blue can be oh-so patriotic, too! Let's have a party on the Fourth of July! Get the grill fired up and let's use lots of stripes to liven things up.

Use a plastic baby pool for a cooler and tell everyone to help fill it up -- potluck becomes pool luck.

Kick your shoes off and go bare footin' inside and out. Get the tunes out and remember the beach music. Sand in my shoes takes on new meaning. Put the plastic dish tray by the back door and let everyone's feet take a dip before they enter. Try a little aromatherapy (nothing says summer like lilac) in the water and throw in some flower petals, too for a nice little welcome.

Decorate for summer reading. It's good for you and it's good for your family. Spread the books Berkely Plaid hunterout on the coffee table, the guest bedroom, the bathroom and the side porch, too. Fill the bookshelves and pull the books to the front of the shelves for a full look. Keep a table by the hammock so the book and the lemonade are never too far away.

Adopt a pet. This is a good time to become acquainted with an animal that needs a home. Protect your favorite seat in the house with a new slipcover so you can share it with a new friend.
And, speaking of the blues, have the vacation blues got you? Not enough time or money to travel?

Stay at home and make the most of it. Now's the time to get your rooms simplified and streamlined with a great combination of solids and stripes OR florals. Too many patterns in a room can cause confusion and make the room appear overcrowded.

Lighten up the room and protect your favorite wintry fabrics at the same time by choosing some light, bright slipcovers for the family room. While you are at it, move the furniture around for a change of scenery and create more space, less clutter. This may require relegating some furniture pieces to other rooms, storage or in-laws. Enjoy the simplicity of your new surroundings; less stuff to dust = more time to read!

Fluff up! What good are the lazy, hazy days of summer (and the ensuing naps) without some good fluffy pillows that serve a dual purpose (look great/feel great) during snoozes? It's a win/win. Check your pillow inventory and order accordingly. All sofas should have at least three decorative throw pillows and loveseats, at least two. A big chair can usually handle one, too and remember the floor pillows for the young - - and eternally so.

Have fun with lighting. Get Yellow bulbs for the bugs, Blue to cool down the rooms and Red for those nights when the cat on the hot tin roof just won't go away! Remember to use lower wattages in the summer or keep the dimmer down to use less electricity AND keep the heat down.

Limited Budget?

Redecorate your Living Room - Shoestrings attached! I've been getting a lot of questions lately regarding how to change a room and not blow the budget. There are several simple steps to follow when approaching a room redecoration and I have adapted these steps in some money wise ways. So, if you are tired of your ho-hum room and feel inspired, create some magic!

The Floor Plan

  • What shape is the room and what are the best furniture positions for the use of the room? In the case of a living room, consider architectural features such as fireplaces, views out of windows, ugly views to be avoided, and focal point of the room (which is usually one of the previous things). Sometimes the focal point of a room is the TV. That's when you know it's time to make a change! At least place the TV near a fireplace or scenic view so there are options for those not inclined to the remote.
  • Next, think about the ways you want to use the room most. Is it for conversation? To show off an art collection? As a quiet retreat? As a family room to gather, read and enjoy shows? The furniture placement should speak to these needs. It's hard to have intimate conversation when all the furniture is pushed against walls and far away from each other while the TV is blaring throughout the room! Think about creating smaller conversation groups, as well as a "one off" - - this is a chair or chaise that sits alone with a small side table or floor lamp and beckons the person seeking a solitary situation, such as reading, needlework or even meditation.
  • Get moving! Now that you have a better floor plan in mind - - or maybe just a different one - -start moving things around and see what you think. If you live with a spouse or roommate that is not into this, the moving part is usually best done while that party is away. Invite a friend over to help, instead. These "reticent roomies" usually love the result but not the process and that's OK. There'll be a surprise waiting for them when they walk through the door! And remember, every room has at least two ideal furniture floor plan options, usually many more.

Color Your WorldCotton Velvet

  • Color is one of the most psychologically stimulating and instantaneous things you can do to add excitement to a room. Is there something you own that will be in that room that will dictate color scheme, such as a rug or existing window treatments or even a wonderful wall hanging or art? Go with the flow, choose the two most dominate colors and a third accent color and you are on your way to room beautiful!
  • Now that your colors are chosen, think about slipcovering a couch, a chair or as much of the furniture as you can afford to do piece by piece. Beware of using too much pattern in a room without any break of solid color. Today's cleaner interiors require a good measure of solids. Think about the season and consider having a lighter, brighter palette for Spring/Summer and one that can be adapted to Fall/Winter/Holiday by adding darker pillows, changing slipcovers or a throw rug under a coffee table. Don't be afraid to layer rugs if you have wall-to-wall carpet. Inexpensive tab top curtains are a great way to lighten up a room and improve the acoustics along with the aesthetics!
  • Paint is cheap! It's amazing what you can do on a Saturday afternoon with a brush and a bucket of paint. If you are really feeling creative, explore some of the many faux painting techniques and tools available for the do it yourselfer. Again, I recommend a partner to make this more fun and go faster, too. Hint, this could be the same friend that helped you move the furniture and doesn't necessarily live in the space. You can trade services and help that person with their home or babysitting or yard work or whatever! Friendship labor is better than free labor because of the camaraderie element. For those living in spaces that restrict painting, consider adding wall color by painting an overly large canvas with your favorite colors and glue on old photos, lace, memorabilia and other sentiments or appropriate items and you have a super collage that represents your space alone.

Finishing Touches

  • Ok, the furniture is in perfect position, the furniture has been inexpensively slip covered, the walls have been painted, if possible and it's time to pull it altogether. Think about lighting in the room. Is there a good mix of ambient (overall), task (lamps) and natural (daylight) lighting? Recycle old lamps by adding new inexpensive shades, paint the bases to go with your new color scheme or purchase new inexpensive lamps at your favorite budget retailer. When it comes to lighting, less is never enough! Don't hold back.
  • Enhance a room's options by installing a dimmer switch on ceiling lighting - - another easy do-it-yourself project for the wannabe electrician/friend with technical talent and know-how! I strongly advise having one of these friends close at hand for the more difficult household projects if you are not already related to one by marriage or kin.
  • Never underestimate the importance of accessories. Unless you are going for a really spare look, try to think in terms of threes when placing accessories. If a side table has a lamp on it, it needs two more items, such as a book or stacks of magazines and an object. An object can be whatever tickles your fancy and it should be shorter than the lamp and taller than the books, or it can be placed on top. Think about texture, also. If everything is hard, then maybe the object needs to a basket or fabric related item or a plant. While we are on the subject of plants, every room can have at least one and perhaps up to three or four. I prefer the real thing.Hobnail Spice
  • Take this personally! Every room should be a reflection of those inhabiting it - - and their passions. This means use enough photographs, books and personal memorabilia to keep the space from looking like a museum but not so much that it looks junky. If you have bookcases in the room, use them for books with a few other things interspersed. A bookcase without books is, well, like a day without sunshine! Finally, turn off that TV, crawl upon that "one off" chair and Otto and read one of those books and really start LIVING in that sumptuously affordable redone Living Room. This is best done alone or with a quiet pal!

Good luck with your decorating!
Betsy Gates Moore, ASID

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