At times, it may be necessary to purchase chair covers to disguise or freshen up unsightly chairs. Perhaps the folding or banquet chairs for an event are drab and ugly and need a makeover, or maybe the living room chairs are worn and faded and in need of replacement. Whatever the reason, chair covers can save buyers money and time.
Different types of chair covers (or slipcovers) serve different purposes. Banquet chair covers are used to add visual appeal to unattractive chairs at special events, while living room chair covers sometimes serve a dual purpose. They give chairs a fresh, new look that brightens up an entire room, and also save buyers money by adding years to the lives of furniture that otherwise might have been thrown away due to wear and tear.
This guide is designed to help buyers learn about different types of chair covers available to brighten up events and rooms, and possibly even save them money.
Types of Chair Covers
Covers for both banquet-style and living room chairs are available in a large number of styles and patterns. Selecting the proper type is determined by the type of chair to be covered. These are discussed below.
Covers for Banquet and Folding Chairs
B anquet and folding chairs are the standard seating option for wedding receptions and other special events. They are often plain, bare-metal, unattractive apparatuses. To prevent these chairs from sticking out like eyesores and ruining the elegant ambiance of a special occasion, many people prefer to doll them up with satin, silk, organza, or other types of fabric covers.
Colors, prints, and designs can vary dramatically, although white, cream, and other pale colors are common choices for weddings. Long sashes in the wedding colors are often tied around light-colored chair covers to add just the right amount of color. Covers for other events often feature bold colors or, occasionally, patterns and prints.
Banquet chair covers drape completely over the chairs, and are usually fitted, although some styles may have a looser fit than others. Sashes can also be used to secure chair covers in place, as well as add color and visual appeal. Covers are available in different styles, some of which are best suited to chairs of specific dimensions. The following chart outlines the basic types of banquet chair covers and the average fit for each. These dimensions are estimates, and may vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer. For best results, buyers should accurately measure the chair height, seat width, and back width of the chairs they intend to cover.
Types of Covers
Standard Chair Cover
34" x 18" x 12"
Most common style
Sleek, fitted design
Tall Chair Cover
37" x 17" x 17"
Tailor-made for tall, narrow banquet chairs
Stylish, snug fit
Folding Chair Cover
29" x 16" x 17"
Perfectly cut to fit average folding chair
Pillowcase Chair Cover
34" x 18" x 12"
37" x 17" x 17"
Excess fabric ties in back
Eliminates need for sash
Drapes over standard and tall banquet chairs
Somewhat looser fit than many other styles
Spandex Chair Cover
Fits most sizes
Very sleek, modern look
Molds to chairs for a very snug fit
Stretches to fit most banquet chair styles
Universal Chair Cover
36" x 17" x 17"
Drapes over most types of banquet chairs
Snug fit on some chairs, but somewhat loose fit on others
Covers for Living Room Chairs
Many people end up throwing away living room chairs with extremely worn or damaged upholstery, even though the frames and cushions may still have a lot of life left in them. The abuse that living room chairs endure can take a toll on the upholstery, but need not shorten the life of the chairs. If the only problem with a living room chair is the upholstery, a chair cover can significantly increase its lifespan.
Living room chairs generally come in three styles: recliners, wingback chairs, and armchairs. All three types are usually made from durable fabrics, such as leather or suede, because of the amount of use they receive. The chair cover also needs to be made from sturdy materials. Common fabric choices for living room chair covers include cotton, synthetic suede, twill, polyester and spandex blends, and polyester and cotton blends.
Recliners have high backs that can be pushed back and locked into place, to let the user relax in a reclined position. When fully reclined, a footrest pops up from the bottom of the chair to support the legs and feet. Because it shifts and changes shape, a recliner requires chair covers designed specifically for recliners.
Wingback chairs have been around for centuries. Originally designed for use by the sick, the wings on the high backs of these chairs were believed to capture and retain heat from the fireplace. In modern times, wingback chairs are appreciated for their elegant appearance. Some styles of wingback chairs have removable cushions, while others are constructed as a single piece. It is important to note the specific construction of a wingback chair before choosing a wingback chair cover.
Armchairs are what most people think of as standard living room chairs. They have soft, padded armrests and big, cushioned backs. Some armchairs have seats that are upholstered into the chair, but most have removable seat cushions that are either T-shaped, square, or rectangular. The construction of the seat cushion plays a key role in choosing a chair cover, although it is possible to find one that covers both the cushion and the chair, as if they were a single piece.
Measuring Living Room Chairs
Covers for recliners and wingback chairs must be designed for those chairs, but armchair covers tend to be universal. Generally speaking, most armchair covers are designed to fit chairs that measure 32 inches to 40 inches from the outside edge of one arm to the outside edge of the other arm. However, the exact fit for non-stretchy fabrics can vary significantly, so it is wise to take down other measurements, as well.
Different brands and manufacturers label their products with different measurements, so it is a good idea to also measure a chair’s height, arm width (widest point), seat width (widest point), and cushion dimensions, and to compared these measurements to those listed on the packaging.
For the best results, buyers should consider buying covers made from stretchable fabrics, such as polyester-spandex blends. This lessens concerns about whether or not a particular chair cover fits exactly, and lets buyers concentrate on style and color.