If you’re anything like me, you’ll jump at any offer to get free stuff for your home. I hate to think of usable things being thrown out. Consequently, my house is furnished with all sorts of second-hand furniture – from family hand-me-downs to junk shop finds. I even spotted an old couch left out with someone’s trash and saved it from landfill by giving it a new home in my living room (with the owner’s permission of course)!

The problem with recycling things like sofas and chairs is although they may be comfortable and have plenty of life left in them, they’re often covered in really ugly upholstery. As much as I love being green, I also want my home to look good. This is why I think slipcovers are a great innovation. They’re perfect for hiding unattractive or worn upholstery and for coordinating mismatched furniture.

Admittedly, when I first tried to cover my couch, I thought I’d be thrifty and make my own covers, but after factoring in the cost of fabric and the time it would take me (as well as my limited sewing skills), I decided it’d be cheaper to buy a readymade slipcover. Mass-produced slipcovers also look a lot better than anything I could make myself! Although not made from recycled materials, I do believe they are a greener alternative to buying new furniture. Every slipcover used helps keep a couch out of landfill by extending its lifespan. The environmental impact of replacing a sofa must be considerable, when you think about the energy involved in production, delivery and disposal.

The good news is that some Sure Fit slipcovers are now made from 100% organic cotton, making them even more eco-friendly. Apparently the conventional cotton industry is responsible for a quarter of global pesticide use. With increasing environmental awareness, I hope the trend towards eco-friendly slipcovers will continue to grow and organic fabrics for home decorating will become more widely available.

One-size-fits-all slipcovers are designed to fit most furniture, but as there’s no such thing as a standard-size couch and old sofas come in all shapes and sizes, it’s worth knowing a few fit tips. My top tip to keep a slipcover in place is to use old magazines. If you roll them up and put rubber bands round them, you can stick them down the gaps round the seat to keep the cover smooth and stop it becoming untucked. Old blankets or towels come in handy too. You can use them to add padding to narrow or wooden arms, or anywhere a slipcover is too loose. You can also fix them over leather or vinyl upholstery before fitting a slipcover over the top, to prevent it from slipping.

By using slipcovers you can easily bring a touch of style to your recycled furniture. They are a good green choice for the eco-minded homemaker decorating on a budget.