How to cover an armchair

How to cover an armchair

Floral textile and staples used to upholster furniture lying on a table

There are many reasons you might decide to cover an armchair. Perhaps your much-loved favourite chair has seen better days but it still adds a certain je ne sais quoi to your interiors, or maybe you’ve invested in a vintage piece you’d like to protect from damage. Or it could be that you’d simply like to achieve a shabby chic look and feel in your space by adding layers to your replica furniture.

In this blog, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to covering armchairs to help you to make sure the final look exudes style and sophistication.

What are armchair covers called?

Armchair covers are also known as antimacassars or chair back covers. They are designed to cover and protect the back or head of a chair. The name ‘antimacassars’ is derived from a hair oil that was used in the 19th century called Macassars. Sometimes the term can be used to describe protective fabrics that cover the arms of the chair too, although these are more commonly called arm caps or arm protectors. You’ll find antimacassars in a variety of materials, such as lace, polyester, cotton and more. They are also available in a wide range of styles, so whether you like retro embroidery, herringbone tweed or pretty patterns on chenille, you’re sure to find something that will work in your living room.

Armchair covers can also refer to slipcovers that go over the whole chair. They are a good option if you want a less time-consuming and expensive alternative to reupholstering a worn, torn or otherwise damaged piece of furniture. Slipcovers can also be used if you want to change your furniture to complement an updated interior decor scheme. As the name suggests, all you need to do is simply slip them over your armchairs to transform their appearance.

How to cover an armchair with a sheet

Whether you want to protect your furniture, cover unsightly stains and rips or add texture and interest, covering your armchair with a sheet can work wonders. Simply follow these steps to create a stylish look:

  1. Place the sheet on the armchair, ensuring you’re happy with the pattern placement if there is any. For example, if you have a striped sheet, you may want to check that the stripes sit vertically or horizontally on the chair.
  2. Tuck the sheet in along the sides and edges.
  3. Use fabric pins to pin the sheet so that it’s taut against the chair and stays in place.
  4. Pull the excess fabric back into two corners at the back of the chair and pin them together.

This method is especially useful if you’re looking for a temporary solution or you want a permanent method that allows for easy cleaning. When your chair cover needs a refresh, simply remove and put it in the washing machine. And while your sheet is being laundered, simply cover your chair with another sheet of your choice for an elegant look all the time.

How to cover an armchair with a throw

Throws are the ultimate furniture accessory. They allow you to add colour, texture and hygge to your home in an instant, and they are a perfect accompaniment to armchairs.

There are many ways to use a throw to cover an armchair. For a neat and tidy appearance, you could fold a small throw lengthwise and drape it so that some fabric falls behind the chair and the remainder sits in a central position down the head, back and seat of the chair in a vertical line. You could then place a cushion on top of the armchair to keep it in place and create an extra layer of comfort and style. You could also use a small throw to cover the back of the chair alone or you could drape it horizontally across the arms and seat of the chair to protect them from wear and tear.

If you have a large throw, you could use it to cover the entire chair if you wanted to. All you need to do is position the throw so that it covers the chair and tuck in along the edges to keep it in place. This could come in handy if you have children or pets. It could also be used to create a boho-chic aesthetic that can be effortlessly updated.

How to cover an armchair with fabric

If your chair is looking lacklustre and you want to permanently alter it, all you need to transform it is some fabric, a measuring tape, a pair of fabric scissors, sewing needles, thread and a staple gun.

Once you’ve figured out how much fabric you need (see section below), choose a pattern and material you like. Then cut out the fabric to cover each section of the chair. Next, position each piece of the template on the right section of the chair, stapling it down around the base or edges of the upholstery. You will probably need to sew the fabric around the arms or wings of the chair.

How many metres of fabric to cover an armchair

Before you begin to cover your chair, you need to work out how much fabric you need. Simply follow these steps to get an estimation:

  1. Measure the length and depth of the seat cushion and multiply both measurements by two. Then add the two figures together.
  2. Measure around the arm of the chair and then measure the width of the arm at the widest point. Double both of these measurements and add them together.
  3. Measure the length of the back of the chair from the top to the bottom.
  4. Measure the height of the back cushion from the top to where it meets the seat.
  5. Measure the seat depth under the cushion from the back of the seat to the front of the chair.
  6. Measure the height of the front of the chair from the bottom of the upholstery to where it meets the cushion.
  7. Add all measurements together to get the total amount in metres.