The time had come to update the bedroom. It had a tired, heavy look, and I was surprised my teenage son noticed it too. The room seemed cramped, even though a king-size bed was dwarfed within it. I decided it was time to brighten the room, but I had to do it without reinventing the wheel. We were considering putting the house on the market, so we wanted a fresh look but not break the bank in the process.burlap1

What projects would I tackle while keeping everything economically feasible? I am a DIY’er at heart, with very little time or patience to actually do many projects myself. I could just imagine trying to strip and sand my intricately-carved furniture, all the while thinking of the writing deadline that was fast approaching. That would be a recipe for frustration and hurry, and results are usually way below sub-par.burlap2

So I set about determining what I could do to update my current bedroom that I could love enough to keep for a new home. Of course the curtains would stay, but I wanted to love the euro shams, throws, furniture right into the next abode.

Over the years I have moved away from all my old pieces that have the traditional reddish cherry wood finish. I sold most of them, but I still love my bedroom furniture, especially my armoire. I decided to find a reasonably-priced furniture refinisher.  He took months longer than he said he would because, as he stripped the pieces down, he discovered different woods had been used in the construction. He had to bleach the wood for a unified look, since I wanted the light, natural wood tones to come through.

Now I had to determine what fabrics I wanted to complement the new light furniture. When I first heard that burlap had been introduced as the new trendy fabric I thought designers were completely out of their minds. Potato sack cloth?  Really? What lengths, I thought, will some people go for a new look?

Little did I suspect that I would fall in love with burlap.  How in the world did I get there?burlap3

My friend Renee’ was the first I knew to use it.  I thought it would look clunky, unfinished, and my naughty self came forward to judge her.  Boy, she was really drinkin’ the designer Koolaid this time!  How could she go in a big way for the latest thing, sure to flash out of fashion quickly. Then I went to her house.

The curtains she had carefully pressed to drape perfectly were warm and lovely.  Burlap???  I fell in love with the open weave.  The vivid texture, the soft tones.  I had to use it in my house. It was perfect for the look I was going for.  It also didn’t hurt that I saw an open weave in a pricey catalog, but the fabric, which looked almost identical to burlap, was actually silk.burlap4

A trip to a local design studio was necessary. I saw just what I wanted, a lovely open weave, which I could order for a mere $75.00/yard! That was not going to happen. True, it was softer than burlap, a higher quality fabric, but that to me was not enough reason to justify the expense.

On line I discovered burlap numerous places, but, miracles of miracles, at the it was only 1.90/yard!  Of course, it was not the best quality burlap in the world, but I could use it to my heart’s content at that price. I knew with that rough (and cheap) a fabric I was going to have flaws… slubs, dark areas.  I decided that, for the price, I’d consider them elements that lent to the rustic (and intended) feel of the finished project.

I had to have it made. I remember making a dress for 8th grade home economics class.  It turned out pretty well, but not without my mom’s steady hand, and insistence that I rip out every wobbly seam. “As you sew, so shall you rip,” she used to tell me.  I’d be working on this project forever, ripping out seams and screaming at the sewing gods. I have a neighbor who is extremely talented, and very reasonable.  She took pity on me and decided to help me out.

The after-pictures say it all. I was very pleased with how the new, soft espresso/chocolate throw and pillow shams complimented and contrasted with the tweedy open weave of the burlap euro shams, bedskirt and curtains. All I had to do now was spray the old brass drawer pulls with an oil-rubbed bronze paint and my new look was complete. I moved some pictures in from another room, to place over the bed, re-sprayed the frames, and voila.  A new room at a tiny fraction of what you would expect to spend.

True Confessions Time:  I noticed the bed skirt was wrinkled so I got out the steamer, which promptly tipped over while steaming and got water droplets all over the floor and bed skirt. Rather than waiting for everything to dry out so I could display wrinkle-free, I decided to post.  Did I mention this is not meant to be a perfect blog where everything goes right? It’s supposed to reflect life, so there you are:  wrinkled, imperfect bed skirt. But I am still happy with the overall look.

I share these ideas to give hope for home transformation.  Even with limited funds, the old adage is true: where there is a will, there is truly a way.

2 Thoughts on “Burlap Mania in the Bedroom”

  • LOVE IT SALLY! I too have a large area I want to curtain off and now I know just what I’ll use. Thanks for your fun and intelligent blog. Here’s to potato sacks:)

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