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What is a Chair Cover?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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The chair cover is one of the simplest ways to dress up just about any type of chair for any occasion. A cover can be utilized to add color and texture to dining table chairs, rejuvenate an older chair without the need to have the piece re-upholstered, or to pull in colors appropriate for the season or holiday. Best of all, a chair cover is relatively easy to create, making it one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to dress a room.

Like other types of chair accessories, the function of a chair cover is twofold. First, the accessory is an ideal way to bring new life to an older piece without spending a lot of money. For example, an occasional chair that is in need of stripping and re-staining can be given a new look with a simple cover that fits over the entire piece. The chair cover can be a tailored and form fitting accessory, as in the case of a slipcover, or a loose fit that is essentially designed to camouflage a worn piece.

The second function of the chair cover is to add color and texture to the decorating scheme for the room. One of the more common examples of this application is with straight-back dining table chairs. A loose fitting chair cover can slide over the back and seat of the chair and instantly add another burst of color to the room. When the cover includes a skirt, the chair cover also helps to alter the look of the dining room, giving the space additional warmth while still maintaining a rich and formal feel. Because the chair cover can be constructed with any type of fabric desired, the options for both color and texture are limited only by the imagination of the home owner.

There is a third function for the chair cover that is often overlooked. Covers can also be used to provide protection to furniture, by creating a barrier that prevents the chair from being scratched or soiled in some manner. These protective chair covers often have additional padding underneath the top material of the cover, which minimizes the chances for liquids or other fluids from soaking through and leaving a permanent mark on the woodwork of the chair frame. An inexpensive clear plastic chair cover is also ideal for placing over upholstered chairs when the homeowner plans on being away for long periods of time, effectively protecting the chair from dust and other airborne contaminants.

Many chair cover products are constructed with material that is machine washable. This makes it possible to use the chair covers for a dinner party and then launder the covers later if necessary. Because it is possible to purchase covers for a relatively small sum, several sets of covers can be purchased for use at different times of the year. Freshening the look of a room can be accomplished in minutes, simply by using a different set of covers and accenting with new pillow covers on all the throw pillows used in the space.

While it is possible to purchase mass-produced chair covers, just about anyone with the skill to follow a pattern and use a sewing machine can quickly create simple chair covers. Making the covers yourself is not only an inexpensive option. A homemade chair cover can be tailored to fit chairs in a way that commercial covers rarely accomplish. In addition, making the covers at home also broadens the options for patterns and colors that can be introduced to the space.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
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Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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