Since the Victorian age, the antimacassar has covered the arms and backs of our living room couches and chairs.
Thrifty Londoners invented the armrest cover to protect furniture from men’s hair oil.
Later, the armrest cover became so standardized that even the Apollo 15 command module included them.
Through the ages, however, the armrest cover has proven consistently hard to keep in place.
In this short article, I will share simple techniques you can use to keep chair armrest covers in place.
Use a Velcro (Hook and Loop method)
Today, armrest covers protect couches and armchairs less from men’s fashionable hair oil. More often, the covers offer protection from typically grubby hands and normal wear and tear.
Living room furniture might be much more affordable for today’s Westerners than for Victorian Age Londoners.
But people all over the world hope to preserve their new furniture’s appearance for as long as possible.
One method involves the hook-and-loop method, otherwise known as Velcro. Since the Swiss engineer George de Mestral invented Velcro in 1948, the applications became obvious.
This would solve the problem of restless armchair covers, bedeviling humanity since the 1700s.
The product typically comes packaged as a self-adhesive circle. It has a diameter of approximately ½-inch. The surface of one-half of each circle is the hook. The other is the loop.
The hook part may be affixed to the corners of the backside of the armrest cover, usually with sticky adhesive.
The loop part is then affixed to the armrest itself, again with sticky adhesive. By applying gentle pressure, the hook and loop should stay firmly in place.
Use Elastic Straps
Believe it or not, many contemporary armrest covers come with elastic straps.
With such covers, simply pull the material tight on the couch or armchair armrest for a snug fit. Then take the cover’s elastic straps and tie them around the furniture’s legs.
So your furniture armrest cover didn’t come with straps? Make them yourself for a DIY solution. Elastic material or drawstring may be sewn directly onto the cover material.
Upholstery pins were designed for this sort of dilemma.
Available wherever home goods are sold, upholstery pins provide a decorative way for adding stylish accents to furniture.
Simply install the armrest covers in place and then pull the material to a good fit.
Depending upon the fabric, you may use large or smaller upholstery pins for the job.
Whichever kind, the upholstery pin will slide easily into the baggy portion of the armrest cover and into the furniture.
Naturally, the pins should be angled to avoid stabbing anyone touching the armrest cover.
Once installed, the pins should hold under most conditions.
Stretch Armrest Covers
One of the many solutions available at online and local retailers is the newer stretch armrest cover.
Such covers are made of thick elastic spandex, like exercise clothing for the living room furniture.
The spandex covers are typically made from a mix of 10% spandex and 90% polyester.
The armrest covers are also thick enough to do their main job: protecting the armrest from stains and undue wear and tear.
A popular alternative to spandex-style armrest covers is the velvet stretchy products that offer a softer feel for the furniture.
Top-grain Italian leather couches and armchairs may pair well with dark-grain wood paneling and French etagere bookcases.
The classic look fits the bill for the governor’s mansion or freelance crime fighter.
But appropriate armrest slipcovers, or antimacassars, are needed.
The online marketplace and many home goods stores are replete with options for the classic leather furniture set. Options range from spandex to stretchy cloth to leather itself.
Some interior designers, however, recommend a DIY approach.
Non-slip carpet padding may be a good solution, taking the following steps:
- Measure the furniture piece’s dimensions accurately
- Draw the dimensions of the armrest or furniture cushion onto a piece of the carpet padding
- Cut the non-slip padding into squares
- Sew drawstrings or elastic legs onto the squares
- Place the padding squares on top of each armrest or cushion
- Spray the padding with cool water, lightly
- Tumble dry the material on low heat for about 10 minutes
- Iron the material to smooth any creases
- Tie the armrest cover securely in place
Pro tip: Choose a darker color for the armrest covers or furniture slipcover.
Another option in DIY is choosing an armrest cover pattern consisting of three rectangular pieces. Measure the dimensions of the armrest on the couch or armchair.
Then, draw the measurements on the fabric. Be sure to add a ½-inch seam to the edge of each rectangular piece. Then cut the patterns.
Some patterns will also allow you to make rounded armrest covers, for an even snugger fit that won’t slip!
Yet, there are even simpler and less troublesome solutions for leather couches and armchairs. Simply buy cloth napkins in varying styles and drape them on the armrests.
These napkins may look elegant and can be changed or washed at any time, with no fuss.
In that case, the answer to how to keep the armrest cover in place is simple: Don’t bother!
Tuck grips: A higher-tech solution
A newer innovation that was not invented in time for the Apollo 15 mission is the tuck grip.
The armrest cover and slipcover strips are also called “sofa tuckers.” Made of flexible PVC, they work similarly to foam inserts.
They help to secure armrest covers and slipcovers to any furniture without slipping.
These products typically come in packages of 5-15 strips and provide enough material to outfit a living room.
The most advantageous part about tuck grips is the ease of use. This product slips into place on the furniture piece in mere seconds. It’s also just as easy to remove.
Like going with cloth napkins, the tuck grip for armrest covers is a simple and easy fix.
Those who adhere to Occam’s Razor agree that the simplest solution is often the best one. Other homemakers, however, may wish to get out the fabric scissors and staple gun!
Armrests for the car or office
Aside from the front living room, you may have a need for armrest covers to protect seating throughout your home and office.
Many people use armrest covers for bucket seating in their cars and trucks. Armrest covers are also used for the range of office chairs.
These include higher-end models in fancy offices to squeaky metal contraptions in an automobile repair shop.
Whatever the setting, armrest covers may require some off-the-shelf or inventive DIY solutions to stay in place.
Among the more casual, some people say they use lightweight microfiber towels as armrest covers.
Large and thick microfiber towels also provide a good and appropriate look for less formal settings.
Like fancier seating areas, the office or repair shop chairs may be outfitted with armrest covers that employ the usual solutions.
Microfiber towels may be equipped with simple-to-use sticky adhesives for the hook-and-loop solution, for example.
The same goes for any car or truck, no matter the make or model.
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