Upholstery detail


Many people ask,”what is the difference between re-upholstery and loose covers?” There is a big difference between the two types of furniture covering. In general you can tell the types of covers that you have by looking at some key pointers.

Loose covers can be totally removed from the furniture and either washed or dry cleaned. They commonly have a valance or a velcro’d under bottom edge on the body.

Upholstery will always have a fixed cover, sealed by a base cloth underneath. Consequently the term “Fixed covers” is commonly used within the trade.

There are certain types of furniture that are incredibly tricky to put loose covers on and therefore lend themselves more to re-upholstery. Most cushion covers will be removable which ever type of covers you put on the body.

It is hard to explain which furniture can or can’t be loose covered or who will or won’t like the finished result of loose covers. So there are a few questions that need to be asked before you even try to make a decision about which way to go.

Questions which include;

Is my sofa good quality? Can I find a new one? Do I love my suite?
Do I enjoy plumping cushions? Do I have time to fuss over my sofa and chairs every day?
Can I find someone to re-upholster my furniture?
 Can I find some one to make loose covers?
Do I want to protect my suite?
Are my cushions attached to the body with zips? Does my suite have zipped on arm pads?
Is my suite suitable for loose covers or should my suite be re-upholstered?
Do I have young children or a messy/ dirty house hold? Am I a neat freak?
Can I go without my furniture for a few weeks?

How you answer each question could sway you one way or the other.

If you answer no to the quality question, you need to be answering yes to “loving your suite”

Or maybe you have been looking everywhere and just cant find a replacement suite that you like. Loose covers or re-upholstery would be a really good solution.

By the same token, if you don’t really like your suite, or it is not comfortable,  re-upholstery or loose covers will NOT change that. You need to consider very carefully before investing your hard earned money updating a suite that doesn’t fit your room or your bottom!

Something to bear in mind is that despite the fact that loose covers should be made to fit your suite perfectly they will always move with use. You will always need to titivate them, so if you are someone who likes things “just so”, upholstery might be your best option.

The following pictures show examples of furniture that has been either upholstered, or loose covered and with a brief reason for the treatment underneath.

Upholstered chair.

This is a lovely little chair that really demanded a beautiful finish. A loose cover would not have been as sensitive to the chair or the owners.




Loose covers

Loose covers with contrast piping.


Loose cover arm chair

Armchair loose cover without frill.


Classic upholstered chair.

This chair currently in our workshop, could be re-upholstered or loose covered. It is a beautiful old arm chair that has a lovely long seat. A perfect chair for lounging in. Loose covers on this chair would quite tricky to stop any sagging under the arms and would benefit from the use of loose cover twist pins.




This suite really wouldn’t look great with a loose cover on it. It is the triple cushion and gather detail on the arms that gives this suite structure
A big cover over the top would make this suite look very puffed up.


modular sofa.

This sofa is a bolted together sofa and has very little in the way of tuck-away to keep any covers in place, however the cushions would all be able to have removable covers. So this would be ideally re-upholstered, but for someone who is happy to refit the covers regularly it would be okay to loose cover.

deep buttoned chair

Upholstered chair. This one could only be upholstered. A loose cover would turn this from an elegant chair to a squat ugly chair.


recliner chair

Recliner chairs are probably best re-upholstered, but are not impossible to loose cover well. An experienced loose cover maker should be able to make loose covers for most recliners, however re-upholstery would be the best way forward if you don’t want to be tucking it in at the end of each day. Upholstery or loose covers, we would always recommend arm caps.


Niki's soft furnishings ltd

Niki's soft furnishings ltd

Loose covers or upholstery it is a big investment that needs to be carefully researched before you go ahead. Making the right decision can totally transform your suite and room for years to come.