White cotton slipcovers provide quite a transformation on the sofas and chairs. Colorful pillows placed in each chair break up the white fabric in the space.
A slipcover with a shirred or gathered skirt turns a chair with clean tailored lines into one with a more relaxed look.
Warning: You're about to start seeing double. Inside the home of Jim and Lela Smith is a family room that takes on two very different styles. Sometimes it's filled with rich colors, and other times it's punched up with a lighter, brighter palette. The secret is making simple switches to create fresh looks--and it's so easy to do.
Lela wanted to swap her decor for a different appearance some months of the year. You might think that switching around styles would cost a fortune, but not in this case. Twenty-five years ago, Lela had slipcovers made from inexpensive white cotton duck material to provide a cool, crisp look--and she's been using them ever since.
As an interior designer with a passion for the English look, Lela has a way of combining fabrics in a variety of patterns and textures. During cooler months, each piece surrounding her fireplace is covered in a different fabric. One chair features toile and one stripes. Lela uses colorful pillows to add prints to the sofa and love seat, which are covered in solid fabrics.
Come warm weather, however, durable slipcovers replace the rich upholstery and dramatically brighten the room. Lela avoided a sloppy look by adding a shirred skirt and individual seat covers. A collection of cheerful pillows completes the change. During the springtime, she adds fresh flowers from her backyard.
To keep the slipcovers clean, Lela throws them in the washer and then dries them on low. She removes them while slightly damp so, when fully dry, they'll conform to the furniture.
Changing Your Look
Here are a few more tips to master a decor switch.
In Cooler Months:
In Warmer Months:
This article is from the January 2005 issue of Southern Living.