Dining room chair covers can be very practical and attractive if done correctly.
Unfortunately the first impression many people have of them is at wedding receptions where badly fitting covers are placed over awkward shaped chairs. The result is not flattering.
For dining room chair covers to look their best and protect the chairs, there are a few points to think about.
Upholstered or loose?
There are different sorts of dining room chairs.
- Drop-in seat. Here the seat can be easily removed, and is usually upholstered, although it can have a loose cover.
- Stuff-over seat. The seat is upholstered, and the fabric is taken all the way down the sides and firmly attached underneath the frame.
- Upholstered back and seat. Both are upholstered, and the seat can be either drop-in or stuff-over.
- Fully upholstered. None of the frame is visible, or very little.
You can have covers made for any sort of chair. Loose covers have advantages in that they can be removed for cleaning, and can be easily replaced if they get damaged or you get tired of them.
Do you want them to be practical?
Why do you want covers on your chairs?
If you have a young family, you may want you covers to be practical. Perhaps your chairs are good upholstered ones, maybe with some sentimental value, and you want to protect them.
You'll need to get covers which will stand up to the assaults of young hands, feet, food and worse! The best type of fabric would be washable, so you can just pull the covers off and straight into the washing machine.
Are they mainly for effect?
If you have a smart dining room and your think your chairs are just a bit ordinary, you could use covers to bring some sophistication into the room.
The type of fabric you use should be reasonably hard wearing, probably an upholstery grade cloth. If the covers are only used occasionally then you could get away with a less durable fabric.
What sort of style?
If your dining room chair covers are to be practical, they'll need to be as simple as possible. This will be helped if the chair is constructed in a simple style, with no exaggerated curves.
If the chair shape is very plain - such as cottage style wood with straight back and seat - then you could have your covers made in two sections. One section would fit over the back, and the other would be a seat cushion. The back section could be made as a simple cover which slots over the back, while the seat would be a cushion attached by ties to the seat or back supports.
But if you want your covers to make more of a statement, then go for an elaborate cover. These can enclose the chair completely, finishing to the floor.
This type of fitting often has some sort of embellishment on the back, such as a tied bow, or buttoned flap. The skirt section can be plain with 'kick' pleats on the corners, or the fabric is 'gathered' giving more of a drape effect.
Does the chair shape matter?
Very much so. If your chairs have lots of curves, then it will be very difficult to get well-fitting covers.
No covers fit perfectly, and some stretch and sagging of the fabric can't be avoided. But too much and the result is, well, frankly it's a mess.
If you want to have dining room chair covers which look great, the only way is to buy chairs specifically designed for covers. When you buy new, there is usually a selection of fabrics for you to choose from. Some stores even let you supply your own fabric if you want to match your existing furnishings.