Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Sheets as sofa covers? Why not!

When I mentioned to my Mum a while ago that I was planning on holding a swish soiree for my May birthday this was her reaction: "Oh good, maybe you'll be able to take all those coverings off your sofa now?"

Not quite the response I was hoping for.

When we bought a King sofa a few years ago, we knew that it was an investment for life. Heck, the cheap and nasty things we have bought have mostly turned out to be with us for life, so I have no intention of parting with this perfect piece!  It is so comfortable and versatile and can be configured about twenty different ways apparently. More than fulfilling my  urge to regularly change things around. The sofa is big, but low and compact - so doesn't ever feel too bulky or like it's overwhelming our space. (And no, King Furniture hasn't paid me to write this - sadly..)

In a household with four children under the age of ten, covers on my chairs seem like a no-brainer to me. My kids are not often raging lions who jump on, scribble on or ruin everything they touch and we've managed to weed out most of their friends who are (joke people!). Covers provide a layer of protection that means I don't have to stress about leaking textas or mashed pieces of cake on the microsuede. I plonk down on the sofa to relax, not to obsess about whether the fabric has been sullied. (Love that word by the way, sullied.)

Sofa covers or throws or sheets are another way to decorate a room with exciting fabrics. I'm not talking ugly things that will make your sofa look like you've thrown your dirty washing on to it. Finding a fabric with patterns and colours or textures you wouldn't or couldn't use anywhere else is an opportunity not to be missed. I use the seasons as inspiration. I can change the look of the room from summer to winter depending on what I use to throw over the chairs. I don't spend up on big expensive throws, that would defeat the purpose of not having to worry what happens to them.

I mostly use sheets. And this brings me to my AMAZING FRENCH SHEETS FIND where the department store angel literally stood in front of me and said:

Here is a never to be repeated opportunity.
Don't stuff it up!

One day, many years ago I was browsing the children's books in a department store. A sales assistant appeared (Australian readers will know what a rarity this is, however this is not the miracle I'm writing about). She asked me if I needed any help, and I said no thanks I was just browsing.
"Have you looked at the sheets?" she asked. This seemed like a pretty weird question, since I was browsing books and all. When I answered in the negative, she smiled and urged me to go look, as there were some great deals.

My curiosity got the better of me, being a bargain hunter and all. I wandered over towards Manchester and came across one of those island tables, choc full of packets of multi-coloured, multi-patterned sheets. On closer inspection my excitement rose. Actually I think I did a small dance and high fived a passing old lady. These were high end designer sheets. French made sheets. 80% reduced!!

Discontinued stock. Discontinued patterns. These were the most divine burgundy, blue and tea-stained French paisley designs I HAD EVER SEEN. There were king and queen sized fitted and flat sheets, duvet covers and pillowcases. They were marked down hundreds of dollars. There was nothing that cost over $50. I think I rang everyone I knew - hardly anyone was interested. (Why? Why??) One friend agreed to take a blue set. I bought some for my mother. I bought some to put away for later. I bought as much as I could without going into major credit card meltdown.  Now I  wish I'd taken out a bank loan to buy it all - it was one of those retail moments where I happened to be in the right place at the right time (thanks to the department store angel) - and I'm not sure it's ever going to happen to me again. Sob.

Anyway, I use some of these sheets on my King sofas. They look amazing. They've faded a little from the wash and from the sun. I'm too scared to check the linen cupboard to see if my stash has run out. I fear it has. I've searched ebay for years but never come across anything else like them. I like to think they give my living area a cosy French feel of warmth and sophistication. I know they are only sheets.

But I love them.

Did I say that already?

Not a great photo - and yes, I know my windows need cleaning. You can see the fabric though, can't you? Try squinting..
You probably won't see a picture like this in a decorating magazine. Sheets thrown over sofas probably are not everyone's idea of cutting edge style.. I'm okay with that.

So just in case you're wondering, I did take off one of the sheets/covers on my sofa for the swish soiree.

No one mashed cake into the microsuede.

Since the soiree I've given some of the sheets a rest and replaced them with some wintery blankets that are cosy and warm.

I found a fabulous Italian blanket in an op shop in yellows and pinks with a floral design that I'm loving.

More on that another time..

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