November 2011
« Oct   Dec »

Featured at:

craftsterBest of Craftster 2008

As seen on

Fan of:


Help, please


It’s been almost a year since we painted our living room, and I just now finished the slipcover for the couch. I bought the fabric in January, and I think I started working on it in June. There was nothing enjoyable about this project, though I am quite happy with the results. My co-worker lent me an old book (Simplicity’s “Simply the Best Home Decorating Book) that includes pretty detailed instructions on making a slipcover, so it wasn’t confusing, just cumbersome to deal with so much heavy fabric. I ended up using clothesline from Home Depot to make the piping since it was cheaper than buying piping cord at the fabric store, and I’m really glad I did. The extra-thick piping looks really nice, much better than the pre-made stuff, although it took quite a while to make what seemed like miles of piping. I had great plans to finish all the seams with my serger, until about half-way through when the serger came unthreaded and then after days fiddling with it to get it threaded again, the needle broke and I had to order more. By the time that arrived, I had moved on.

I still have to make covers for a large “chair-and-a-half” and a smaller chair, though I’m not sure whether I will do one of them the same as the sofa and the other blue with gray piping.


For now, I need some advice! What color/colors would you use for accent pillows? I had wanted the room to be a pale blueish gray, but it ended up being much more BLUE than I thought it would. The curtains are silver/gray and white (cheap curtains from… I bought white and silver, and then cut them apart and sewed them back together to make the stripes). The other furniture in the room is a a gray-ish wood tone (IKEA bookcase and coffee table). I do like yellow and gray, but I’m also thinking red or orange. Or would you keep it neutral? Any fabric recommendations?

Here’s what the room used to look like. Very cheerful, but a bit more country than I prefer now. I wouldn’t say I want a totally modern room, but something in between.

14 comments to Help, please

  • April

    So, you want advice for pillow colors, not paint colors, right? Just double-checking since I wasn’t sure at first.

    Since there are a few colors you have in mind as possible options, why not get some fabric swatches in the colors/prints you like and toss them on the couch? Kind of like paint chips help with the wall.

    Since pictures are never the same as seeing a space in real life, our suggestions (like, “you should totally go with yellow!”) may not be the best ones. Having said that, I would recommend colors with some punch (sunny yellow vs. pale yellow, etc.) since the rest of the room is so monotone right now. Also, warmer tones (like you suggested, yellow/orange/red) would help tie in the floor. I’d steer clear of the cooler colors since there’s so much gray and blue already.

  • April

    Btw, great job on the slip cover!

  • hey, here’s another april’s opinion… :) right now i am working on the same issue as you. we just bought a grey couch/sectional (charcoal grey) and i’m not sure of the what accent color to go with. i am thinking orange, but i also like blue…maybe orange and turquouise? i like that combo and it is more modern than just blue. i am sure i will change out pillows with the seasons, but i have not other accent colors/ decor yet. our walls are tan (which i hate and my husband likes, so it’s not changing for now). i love your curtains! i’m not sure what direction i will go with our curtains yet.

  • Hi ! I would go with red or orange, but I’m sure yellow would look great too, just I think maybe a warmer yellow would look better. I love your room as it is, your slipcover is impressive !

  • Margaret

    I am in awe of your beautiful slipcovers, and all those miles of piping to make! Here’s my decorating advice–I’d go for bright yellow and/or orange, but more than that, go to Pier 1 or World Market or whatever you have with a good return policy, buy some pillows and accents you like, take them home and try them! Then return them if you want to make your own, but at least you’ll have a general idea of what colors you like. I’m the queen of return–I’m just careful to keep the receipts and make note of deadline to return.

  • Jo

    I love yellow and white with gray! Red would also have a lovely wow factor!

  • Elizabeth

    Amazing slipcovers! I don’t think I would have had the perseverence.

    I would go with deep red (now) and/or brighter red near Christmas, but I always think red adds some depth. Your room looks very Swedish modern, so grey pillows with embroidery would be good too.

    Thanks so much for sharing–it is inspiring to get me moving!

  • Wow. I’m impressed with your stick-to-it-tiveness. I’ve never managed a slipcover project though I always tell myself I’m capable. I don’t think it’ll ever happen. I vote for bright yellow. It seems very modern to me now—gray with a pop of yellow. Take a look at Holly Becker’s book Decorate (she of the blog decor8) for inspiration. She favors a lot of white and gray interiors with pops of color. There are lots of gorgeous examples in the book and her blog, too.

  • beverley

    the slip cover looks great! impressive work as always.

  • Renee

    I’d suggest a rug… adds texture, color. I noticed the trim looks green/blue… I’d pull some of that for pillows so it looks pulled together. you can add other pops of color to go w/ it.. maybe yellow… add a few colorful accessories and maybe some art on the wall… stack books, an orchid, wooden box, etc. on coffee table to warm it up. A throw is also a good way to warm up a room. Good luck!

  • […] chair is the reverse of the sofa, which is gray with blue piping. I think I like the contrast, but am not sure I still like the red […]

  • […] to spark a house-wide curtain-replacing campaign. Next up was the living room. Even though I made curtains not too long ago, I just didn’t love them. It doesn’t really show up in that photo, but […]

  • Melissa

    Can you please tell me where the curtains came from? I am looking for big block horizontal gray/white strip curtains.

  • Holly

    Hi! I made those gray and white striped curtains by buying inexpensive sets of all-white and all-gray curtains, cutting them into strips and then sewing them back together to get the striped effect. But if I had to do it over again, I would buy plain white curtains and paint the gray stripes, like this:
    Those curtains are a lot closer to my original inspiration, these curtains from Crate and Barrel:

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>