The Couch Cover Deserves a Rebrand

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For as long as I’ve been living and breathing, a couch cover has never ranked high on my list of material desires. This is mostly because acting precious about functional objects is pointless to me, but let’s face it: The majority of couch covers are ugly AF. (While I enjoy floral prints as much as the next person, it’s not exactly the statement I want my furniture to be making.) Some of my earliest childhood memories include brief encounters with sofa sets covered in plastic, collecting dust in a stuffy living room that my playmates and I were forbidden from occupying. This precaution felt so extreme to me that I vowed to never become one of those aunties with the couch that crunches when sit on.

But as 2022 came to a close, I noticed the emergence of a quiet presence as I scrolled on Instagram: couch covers that were actually stylish. From couches draped in sheets to slipcovered chairs and sofas, the gradual shift toward investing in a couch cover made me wonder if this might be the millennial version of plastic on the sofa. I used to roll my eyes at the idea of covering a couch, but now that I have the sofa of my dreams I feel compelled to protect it at all costs—eight months have passed and I refuse to allow anyone to sit on it without a throw blanket. (I still haven’t lived down the day after my “couch warming” when my eyes deceived me into thinking that shadows from the sun were stains from the night before.) I’ve yet to find a couch doily that meets my standards and is also large enough to cover the entire surface of my two-seater sofa.

Beyoncé made a strong case for plastic off the sofa, but I won’t be satisfied until I have a chic couch cover in my possession. And the truth is, despite seeing a few outliers on my social feeds, they’re in short supply within the direct-to-consumer market. So I reached out to an expert to point me in the right direction. If you’re stuck in a pinch, fashion editor Laura Reilly highly recommends a linen duvet cover from Tekla—technically it’s for beds, but she swears it’s worth the splurge after using it on her bouclé sofa, and is “regrettably considering a second one” to tastefully conceal her other pieces of furniture. (Another pro tip from Laura: “During spells when we’re not hosting much, I’ll move it over to our queen-sized bed, where it also looks dangerously good.”)

“I’d always loved the look of furniture draped in big white reams of fabric, like in that scene in Jumanji where they revisit the abandoned manor,” Laura explains in an email. “I tried to achieve that mysterious, romantic look with linen and cotton top sheets, but both were too thin and ended up looking like a dorm room sleepover. The linen Tekla one has a great, heavy drape and completely covers the couch from tip to tail, pooling elegantly on the base.”

Here’s to hoping more designers will get on board soon, because the gap in this market is only growing wider by the day and I won’t rest until there are better options for dressing up our furniture. Camella Ehlke’s furniture wearables are a prime example of how this concept could be modernized. (Paloma Lanna is also clearly on to something with her sectional sofa, also covered in laidback linen and throws.) The exhibition “Substance in a Cushion” at Jacqueline Sullivan Gallery reminded me that, like all things in life, we shouldn’t have to sacrifice style for comfort. While I’m not 100% sold on the current selection of couch covers, best believe I won’t be taking any chances by exposing my cushions raw. In my fantasies, I can be found laying on a sofa draped in layers of organza. Like an Iko Iko cord cover, but for couches. Designers, consider this your call to action from one desperate design editor.

For your consideration, here are a few couch covers that aren’t hideous:

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