Q: My mother always taught me that furniture should go at right angles to the wall. She said catercornering was tacky. I'd love to put the bed at an angle in the corner, but even though she's no longer around to scold me, I feel insecure. Can you get me over this?
A: If I couldn't, no less a top designer than Bill Blass should offer assurance that today catercornering furniture gets no catcalls.
In Mr. Blass' New York penthouse bedroom, he angles his paisley-upholstered bed neatly into a corner, leaving as much wall space as possible free to hold his collection of master drawings, prints and paintings. Actually, the bed looks -- and performs -- like a sofa. With the antique desk, side table and upholstered chairs, the room itself is more like a library than a bedroom, another idea for creative space use from a designer who has indeed mastered all the angles.
Q: I'm about to order new slipcovers made for two chairs, a love seat and an ottoman. How will I know I'm getting my money's worth?
A: There are several quality checkpoints that will help you judge the caliber of workmanship you're buying:
The fabric you choose should be strong and durable, lighter in weave and weight than upholstery fabric, but sturdy, rather than stiff, especially if you favor shirring or a gathered skirt.
Protective finishes are highly desirable. They tend to last longer if they're factory-applied rather than sprayed on after the slipcovers are made.
The slipcovers must be cut on the piece of furniture, like fitting a dress on a model. This is the time to settle on what kind of skirt, if any, you want, and whether you'll get a zipper or grippers for fasteners.
If the material you've chosen has any potential for shrinking, ask your slipcoverer to cut it a bit large.
Sofa covers should have a fastener down the center back, or better, at both back ends; chairs should fasten down one side of the back; cushions partway around three sides.
Welting can be made from the fabric or solid color to contrast. It should be straight and sewn into the fabric.