I came across this in a novel “The fingers of my successor daily turned the handle of this door which opened now on the yellow flame of the gas-fire, pink-shaded lamps burning through the snow-grey afternoon, a waste of cretonne loose covers.”

Could anyone help clarify why “a waste of cretonne loose covers”? Covers mean curtains? The room is so well illuminated that it doesn’t need curtains?


Loose covers are fitted covers for upholstered armchairs, to protect the upholstery or hide it when it is worn out. I think the author is using waste in the sense of area of barren land (see https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/waste , noun definition 3). A snowy waste is a large area of empty land covered in snow, and the room is seen as an unprofitable area covered in cretonne (furnishing fabric).

  • In the US, such coverings are called slipcovers. Loose covers in the UK? – KarlG Mar 31 at 11:00
  • @KarlG Yes, that is what we call them. – Kate Bunting Mar 31 at 15:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.