How to Put a Throw Cover on a Couch

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A throw cover is a fast and affordable way to refresh your couch and update the room's look. By approaching the task methodically, you can tame that pile of fabric and soon be enjoying your newly covered couch.

If you're shopping for a new cover, measure your couch in inches, starting from the outside edge of one arm, to the outside edge of the other arm. Also measure the height of the back of the couch, the height of the seat front and the depth of the cushions. Use these measurements to check that the cover you purchase will fit the couch.

Tip

  • Throw covers have different styles: Some are designed to go under the seat cushions, while others go over them. Some styles have ribbon ties to gather the material that drapes over the front of the arms. The specific procedure for putting on a couch cover may vary depending on the style.

Before You Begin

To make your task easier, set up your work space in this manner:

  1. If your cover is new, wash and dry it according the product's care instructions. This will help remove packing folds and reduce the "new-cover" odor.
  2. Clear the space around the couch by moving

    away furniture that sits next to it, such as side tables or an ottoman. Remove any decorative pillows from the sofa and set them aside. If the cover is designed to go under the seat cushions, remove these as well. 

  3. Vacuum the sofa thoroughly.

Putting on the Cover

Things You'll Need

  • Large safety pins
  • Dowel or length of PVC pipe
  • Upholstery twist pins

Step 1: Mark the Front and Back Centers

Unfold the cover and determine the center front and back points at the outside edges. Some covers have a tag sewn into the hem or a stamp that indicates the center front or center back of the bottom edges. If your cover doesn't have a tag, use large safety pins to temporarily mark these points.

Step 2: Cover the Seat and Front

Drape the front half of the cover over the seat and down to the lower edge of the couch front, keeping the center point aligned with the bottom front center. Adjust the cover so that the lower front edge hangs evenly about 1 inch above the floor. Tuck in enough of the cover behind the seat or seat cushions to hold it.

Step 3: Cover the Back

Bring the rest of the cover up and over the back, letting it fall evenly to the floor or to its full length. Some covers only partially cover the back, which should be indicated on the product description. Make sure the back drapes smoothly and the bottom hem is level, and the center point matches with the center of the couch back.

Step 4: Cover the Arms

Adjust and smooth the cover fabric over the couch arms. Make sure the bottom edge is level and about 1 inch about the floor. Tuck in the excess material between the sides of the cushions and the arms of the couch. Tie the ribbons at the front of the arms if your cover has them.

Step 5: Tuck in the Excess

Tuck the excess material firmly between the seat and back of the couch. To help keep the tucked material in place, push a rod, such as a length of PVC pipe or 1-inch wooden dowel, down between the seat cushions and back. The rod should be about 1 foot shorter than the width of the couch seat. You can also use shorter rods in a similar manner between the sides of seat cushions and the arms of the couch.

Step 6: Secure With Twist Pins

Secure the back and sides of the cover in place with upholstery twist pins. These pins look like a spiral with a clear plastic or decorative head. To use them, position the point of the pin where needed and twist the pin through the cover into the upholstery. Place the pins in different spots to keep the cover from slipping, such as along the back bottom of the couch or beneath the outer top edge of the arms.

Step 7: Replace the Cushions

Replace the seat cushions if you removed them. Some covers come with separate cushion covers; put these over the cushions before you replace them. Replace any decorative pillows you removed and put the surrounding furniture back in place.

Tip

    • You can have PVC pipe or dowel cut to the length you need when you purchase it at a home improvement store.  
    • Change the pillows, throws and other decorative items you use near the couch to give the room a totally new look.   
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