I take the green principle of reusing and recycling very seriously.  It horrifies me to think of the waste of all the usable items sent to landfill each year.  With a little ingenuity, it’s possible to rejuvenate a lot of old furniture that, at first glance, looks beyond help.

Take couches, for instance.  I’ve seen many unwanted couches left out for the garbage truck that look like they’re still functional.  There’s really no need to throw away furniture just because the upholstery is outdated, tatty, or simply doesn’t fit with your color scheme.  However, even the most eco-minded amongst us want our homes to look nice – which is where slipcovers come in.

Slipcovers are a simple and easy solution for hiding ugly upholstery or coordinating mismatched items of recycled furniture.  Yes, the greenest option would be to “make do” with an ugly couch, and of course each slipcover has its own carbon footprint.  However, when you consider that each slipcover that’s used can keep an old couch out of landfill and extend its useful life, this is surely a good thing for the planet.  Compared to the impact on the environment of replacing old furniture with new, slipcovers are a much greener alternative.  They are considerably cheaper than re-upholstery too.

A lot of ready-made slipcovers are made from cotton, which, as a natural fiber, is considered greener than synthetic polyester.  However, the truly green option would be to use a slipcover made from 100% organic cotton.

From my research I’ve found that Sure Fit offers a limited range of organic sofa and loveseat slipcovers.  I would imagine these will prove popular and hope that other companies will follow suit by introducing more lines of eco-friendly slipcovers.  Since slipcovers can be used on most types of seat, it would be great to see some organic covers for dining chairs and other styles of furniture.

If you decide to use slipcovers to give your furniture a makeover, bear in mind they come in standard sizes.  If your couch isn’t a “standard size”, with some creativity there are a few tricks you can try to get your slipcover to fit properly.  You may find your slipcover has a tendency to work loose if anyone sits on it, because it is slightly too big for your furniture.  In this instance, you could buy purpose-made plastic “grippers” to hold it in place, but I prefer to make my own.  Roll up some old magazines, secure them with rubber bands, and use these instead.  If you slide them into the cracks around the edges of your seat, they will help keep your cover neatly in position.

Old towels or blankets can be useful too.  They can be used to add padding to wooden or narrow arms before you fit a slipcover over the top.  They can also be fixed over vinyl or leather seats to prevent slipcovers from slipping on the shiny surface.

Using slipcovers is a green and easy way to breathe new life into old furniture that would otherwise be destined for landfill.  Just think how many ugly couches could be saved with a slipcover makeover.  Even if you can’t find a slipcover made from an organic fabric, using a slipcover is still a greener choice than buying a brand new couch just because yours looks tired or outdated.



Caroline Smith writes about green living ideas for a number of blogs. She runs Getslipcovers.com, where you can see more information about the small selection of organic Sure Fit slipcovers mentioned in this article.