Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cover up

I don’t do a lot of ads on my blog. This is not a professional site; I don’t get paid! However, I occasionally come across a resource that I find handy, and even better, from a reliable company, and I like to share. This is about one such resource which other mobile expats, or anyone who lives in a dusty climate, or has kids, or pets, (etc.) may find particularly handy.

One good thing about being with the State Dept is that you are often provided with furnishings, which means that you do not have to drag around a bunch of heavy stuff in your shipment. The furnishings tend to be pretty much the same everywhere, so you always have some idea what you will be moving to. The problem is, you often don’t get much of a choice, and the furnishings tend to be pretty much the same everywhere… yawn! They choices aren’t always practical for families with small kids and pets. Our last living room set was pale gold (aka, light yellow) and our dining chairs had WHITE seats… I mean, seriously! We try to be neat, but that was just asking for trouble.

In our new home, we have this. I am sure it will look familiar to many:


I think they actually had the gall to label this color as some sort of ‘blue’. It is NOT to my taste, and doesn’t feel nice. To be honest, it is not horrible, in a hotel sort of way, there are definitely worse fabrics(!), but it’s not for me. I don’t want to look at, or sit on, this for the next 3 years!

So I went to Surefit.com, where I have happily and successfully shopped in the past, and yet again I found some nice slipcovers for my furniture. Bonus – it’s in a color I like, and well constructed from a soft and WASHABLE fabric. It isn’t insanely expensive for what you get either. The particular style that I chose, is a stretchy fabric, and the cover comes in 3 pieces, so it fits so much better (and easier!) than most commercial covers. 

The new look…


Much better! Of course, these sofas have thin-ish arms with a roll at the top, which affects the fit, but the stretch of the fabric helps. The back cushions have a ‘T’-shape at the ends, but again, the stretchy fabric fits. When the kids bounce around like maniacs, or the cats have burrowing contests under the cushions, the cover is not completely un-tucked. As much as I like the cosmetic change, and the ease of cleaning slipcovers, I DESPISE wrestling with the darn things! These are very well behaved and easy to straighten out. 

I chose the pique fabric. It’s light weight, so I worried that the cats might scratch through it, but they don’t seem to like the feel of it. They get up inside of the cover on the chair sometimes – which is dangerous to the person in the chair – but they don’t claw at the fabric.

Here’s a back view. The slipcover fits the sofa well, on all four sides.


I thought about buying new throw pillows, but would then have to store the ones that came with the furniture, so I got pillow slips for them instead. It was probably as cheap as buying the supplies and making them myself. They are a bit big… or, more honestly, these throw pillows are darned wimpy… and there were no pillow slips in the stretch pique fabric, so I chose the plush slips, in a wheat color. DSC06051

They’re a little floppy, but now that I have my sewing machine, I can fix that. I may wait until I wash them first.

The fabrics (both) have a bit of a nap. ‘Nap’ isn’t quite right, but it isn’t ‘flat’. There’s a soft texture to it. The pique has a slight knobbly pattern. (You may be able to get swatches before ordering – I’ve not bothered in the past.) Despite the texture, the fabrics do not attract or hold dust, lint, or cat fur… so far, so good.

As for the wing chairs. Surefit has some lovely fitted covers for what must be the standard style of wing chair. Of course, ours are NOT standard. We have two styles of wing chair, and neither of them are standard… of course not! I measured and eye-balled and guesstimated, etc. It looked hopeless, and like a waste of money. Something HAD to be done though. The upholstery colors on these chairs were even worse than the so-called “blue” stuff on the sofas. The cats like to play on them too, so damage was going to occur without protection. I chose to get chair/loveseat-size throws (70”x140”) to drape over them. It doesn’t make for a perfect fit, but I don’t think I’m likely to find anything off-the-shelf that will. I guess I could have bought 4-5 yards of 60” (or wider) fabric, hemmed it and draped it as a throw, but a good quality (thick, sturdy, washable and soft) hunk of fabric could have cost me just as much. Besides, these are the same ‘chocolate’ color (in the plush fabric) as the sofas – they match. Also, the cats don’t like to claw it (they think it is snuggly though), and again, it is easy to re-drape after kids and cats have had their way with it. (Chairs are smaller than sofas, but I still do not like to wrestle with them.) Not bad.


They definitely look better than before, and I suppose I could get out the sewing machine and make them more fitted… but that would likely require more work to keep it tucked in and straightened out.

I had thought about going for a red or green fabric, but this chocolate, on the chairs and sofas, is neutral enough to go with everything, and yet, not boring. There’s a hint of a reddish tinge to it, which goes lovely with the dark wood furniture that came in the house, as well as our rugs, as we always lean toward red when we rug shop!

This is the third set of throws we’ve bought from Surefit. I washed the previous ones all the time in Cairo (it was THAT dusty there – I had to). They were a different, heavy suede-type fabric – again, I am all about heavy duty when it comes to kids and cats! Also, with Brian dealing with asthma, because of the pollution, I wanted the covers cleaned often. The fabric eventually faded and wore out from such abuse, but I feel I got my money out of it. We’re on our 2nd set of dining room chair covers.  Those get washed constantly too. The burgundy set we have coordinates well with the chocolate color on the sofas… handy, as our living and dining areas are in one big open space, and not separated by walls.

Hmm? What else? The website has a good clearance section, they also run sales… if you want to buy, wait until a ‘free shipping’ sale comes along!… they pack their boxes securely, and orders come with good instructions for putting the slipcovers on (the covers are labeled well for this), and they ship quickly. I’ve seen this company’s products listed on other stores’ websites (for example, I’m thinking that JC Penney carries their products, I could be mistaken) but the selection is usually best at surefit.com.

Ok.. that’s enough community service for one day… guess I ought to go get busy with my housework!


Mama Seoul said...

So smart to use covers! Washable is key.

We don't have government furniture anymore but we bought plain wood chairs for the dining table and a leather sofa (wipeable so good for kids and since we don't have cats it works). The sofa choices in Korea are all leather and the ones at the Px are too overstuffed with loose back pillows or in weird colors/patterns so we just went with dark brown leather.

Connie said...

Leather and cats would be baaaad :D I really like leather furniture, but will likely always have cats, so it is probably not in our future!

Shannon said...

I have the same "blue" living room suite and I HATE it. If I had been just a bit smarter I would have had slip covers made in Jakarta where it would have been cheap but it was my first tour and I was a bit clueless. We are on count down to leave Germany so I won't bother getting the slip covers now but when we get to Malawi you can bet there will be slip covers either made locally or ordered. I am tired of the FS furniture!

Connie said...

Shannon - we have beige brick walls, some white paint. Beige blinds. White floors. Add in the beige, goldish, so-called blue furniture and we were drowning in monotony! I am NOT really picky about interior decorating. I am far too utilitarian. I do have some pretties and frills, but I guarantee that no magazine would ever be interested in my style! BUT, even I have to draw a line somewhere :D It took me a while to discover out slipcovers. I never thought of them as I'd never used them! We always spot-cleaned our upholstery, vacuumed, fluffed the pillows, etc. and they lived happily ever after until they'd die a natural sofa (structural) death. Having no choice of furniture made me search for alternatives! :D Good luck with the move to your next post. Have you ever been there?

Donna said...

We had that couch once. Not my favorite - but better than the white and pink one with giant red chrysanthemums on it. I still shudder when I think of it.

Connie said...

Donna - I haven't seen that one, but I shudder to think of it too! There is/was? a furniture store on one of the main streets here... had this garish pink-burgundy couch in the front window. Drove by the other day and the place looked empty and closed. We blame that couch. Scared us away!

Christine said...

They look nice-- whatever to make you feel at home!

Lydia said...

Yeah, they brought me the same sofa in Cairo when I asked for something 'green'. Oh boy oh boy! I will definitely look into the covers.

Connie said...

I suppose, that if you look at that blue-ish and yellow-ish color long enough you might start seeing or feeling green-ish :p !

Anonymous said...

OMG the "blue" is horrible. Slip covers are the way to go for sure. You know it's bad when you actually pray for the green one! : )

Connie said...

I was relieved that it wasn't the yellowish-gold ones again! :D btw...I have seen newer furniture in a couple of houses now... meaning actual new STYLES of furniture. Modern type stuff. There is hope!