Replacing the slipcover and cushions on your Lee Industries sofa is an easy way to get some more good years out of a favorite piece of furniture. We get a lot of requests from customers about how it works, so we wanted to clear up some confusion. First off: No, we aren’t talking about those off-the-shelf one-size-fits-most slipcovers that look like loose sheets with sofa arms at the ends. This is about covers made by your sofa’s manufacturer designed to fit your exact style. Also, while we sell Lee Industries at The Stated Home, the information below applies to any sofa where the manufacturer offers replacement covers.
How much does a new slipcover cost?
This is what everyone is wondering when they first start thinking about replacing an old slipcover. While a slipcover isn’t nearly as expensive as a new sofa, it’s not inexpensive either. The final price depends on the fabric you choose, but it will probably be between $800 and $1500 for a sofa. If you’re going with a cotton twill slipcover (this is the fabric you probably think of when you imagine a slipcover), you’ll probably spend around $1000.
We know what you’re probably thinking: “$1,000?? I can get a new sofa for that much!” You could, but before you go out and buy a poorly made sofa, here’s why a slipcover might be a smarter idea.
A brand new high-quality sofa (like the ones made by Lee Industries) costs close to $3,000. Your current piece is solidly built and can easily last many more years. A new, cheap sofa won’t stay comfortable for anywhere near that long. Your $1,000 will be a better investment if you simply update your existing well-made piece instead of replacing it with something that’s lower quality.
Why do slipcovers cost so much?
The main reason is because you need a lot of fabric to cover a sofa. Sturdy upholstery fabric costs anywhere from $30 a yard (for cotton canvas) to more than $100 a yard for linen. And you need 15 to 25 yards of fabric for a sofa slipcover. That means the fabric alone will cost $450 on the low end to well over $1,000 on the high end. Add in the skilled labor and you can see why they are so expensive.
Can you slipcover an upholstered sofa that is wearing out?
If you have an older upholstered sofa that’s also available in a slipcovered version, you might be able to buy a new slipcover and simply put it over your existing piece. The main thing you need to pay attention to is the texture on your existing fabric. It should be pretty smooth because if it’s too nubby, you may be able to feel it through the slipcover. You also need to pay attention to color: If your existing sofa is dark or has a crazy pattern and you put a white slipcover over it, you may be able to see it through the slipcover.
Can I get a slipcover for a sofa style that’s been discontinued?
The answer to this depends on the manufacturer. Lee Industries can make a slipcover for any of their styles, even if they don’t make them any longer. But that isn’t necessarily true for other manufacturers. This is a good question to ask before you purchase a sofa.
What about having my local upholsterer sew a new slipcover?
This could be an option, but if you can go to the manufacturer, we think you should. The main reason is that they will already have the pattern and will be able to easily make a slipcover that fits perfectly. Second, large furniture manufacturers are charged lower prices on fabric because they purchase it in bulk. The price for the material will be lower than if you order fabric on your own.
Can I replace the cushions too?
While we’re on the topic of refreshing your furniture, we want to talk about replacement cushions. Sofa cushions won’t look be the same after 10 years of use as they did on day one. They’ll get softer and less supportive, even if you care for them perfectly (you can read about that here). This is most apparent in cushions with a foam core and down. Some people prefer this softer, “broken-in” feeling while others prefer the way their cushions used to be. If you fall into the second group, consider new cushion cores.
You can order them directly from the manufacturer and they will cost $300 to $400 for seats and $100 to $175 for backs (that’s the total cost for your sofa, not for each individual cushion). The annoying thing here is the shipping – they are too big to ship common carrier (UPS or FedEx), so they have to ship freight. The best way to get replacement cushions is to go through a local retailer if you can – they may be able to add the cushions to another order they have, saving you a little on the freight. If you can’t do that, expect the delivery to be another $100 to $300.
If the manufacturer doesn’t sell replacement cushions, look for a local foam company or re-upholsterer. Just make sure they use a foam core wrapped in some sort of fiber, like dacron, for the best feel.
We’ve helped customers replace slipcovers and/or cushions for sofas that are almost 20 years old and still going strong. If you have a good piece of furniture that’s still sturdy, this is an easy way to make it look like new and get a lot more years out of it.