How to Cover Your Sofa With Throws—Before You Buy Another Boring Slipcover
A blanket statement if ever there was one.
Updated Sep 25, 2023 2:13 PM
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There are plenty of good reasons to put a slipcover over a not-so-cute (or not-so-clean) sofa. Chief among them, it beats dropping thousands on a new one. The challenge is finding a slipcover that won’t look as bad as what you are trying to hide in the first place. And we’d be willing to bet you’re searching in the wrong places—because the best textiles for mending your sad sofa situation are probably already in your house. The best sofa slipcovers? Blankets.
Grab a bright sheet, a patterned coverlet, or a vintage handira and get to camouflaging. The tucking bit is optional; a peppy stripe or bold fringe appears especially effortless when loosely cloaked over the cushions. Here’s how to cover a sofa with throws in seven different ways.
Swaddle the Cushions in Mismatched Blankets
“It’s not me to have a white couch or a white anything,” Los Angeles–based streetwear designer Beth Birkett told us. So it’s no surprise that she dyed her family’s two RH Cloud sofas seafoam green, then swaddled the cushions in a rainbow of textiles. Rather than choose one look or the other, she left the base uncovered for a bright contrast.
Cover Just the Seat With a Wool Throw
You wouldn’t normally think of a crisp white sofa as kid-friendly, but Jenni Li and Hans Gissinger managed to make it so in their Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, home. Their trick: encasing the seat in a wool blanket. When juice inevitably spills, it can simply be dry-cleaned.
Gift Wrap Each Section With Tablecloths or Quilts
At Bird Brooklyn founder Jennifer Mankins’s Shelter Island, New York, retreat, tablecloths are bedding, denim is wall insulation, and vintage kantha quilts are sofa upholstery. Each section is wrapped individually, almost as if they’re presents (and aren’t they?).
Drape Striped Blankets Over the Top
In the case of a classic pattern like stripes, scale is everything. Flea Market Fab founder Jennifer Harrison sewed two blankets with different takes on stripes together: a chunkier, blocklike print and one made up of thin lines. The variety lends some soul to the neutral arrangement.
Cluster Block-Printed Botanical Bedspreads
Sean MacPherson and Rachelle Hruska’s fort–meets–surf shack in Montauk, New York, is overflowing with the Moroccan pillows and oversize blankets they’ve collected over time. A couple in subtle leaf and flower patterns—no ubiquitous palm leaf prints here—have ended up folded around their two daybeds.
Layer in Texture With Embellished Coverlets
Fashion designer Keren Craig went heavy on texture for the sofa in her reimagined farmhouse in upstate New York, loading up the backrests with a shiny tasseled Moroccan handira (known as a wedding blanket). An embroidered burgundy textile gives the celebratory pieces a down-to-earth spin. Cabin vibes but with a little glitz.
Toss a Breezy Linen Sheet Over the Top
In the middle of Brigette Muller’s Brooklyn rental, an anything-but-boring beige sofa sets the tone for her French-inspired scene. In lieu of a stuffy slipcover, she chose a sheetlike option of breezy linen draped over her three-seater that looks as effortlessly chic as any Paris flat.
Q: What size throw blankets work best to cover a sofa?
The number and size of throw blankets you use will largely depend on the size of the sofa, so your first step is to measure. In order to make it look as integrated as possible, Natalie Rebuck, principal designer at Re: Design Architects, says to choose a blanket that is either large enough to cover the couch in its entirety or use smaller throws and wrap each cushion individually.
Q: Are certain materials better than others?
Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder of Arsight, says there are a few things to consider. First, aim for a material that feels soft and cozy—think: cashmere, wool, and cotton. Second, durability is key. Choose a material that can withstand wear and tear (wool and cotton also work here along with linen). And finally, make sure the material selected coordinates with your home’s aesthetic.
Q: How do you keep throw blankets from shifting around?
There are a few ways to keep these covers from slipping off your sofa. Kropovinsky recommends using blanket clips. These handy little metal fasteners help hold the throws in place over your couch’s arms. He adds that throw pillows can also serve as weights to secure the fabric. Also, by simply folding the blanket in half before positioning it on the couch, the added width makes it snugger and less likely to shift.