Earlier this month after my visit to Restoration Hardware, I fell in love with their new “deconstructed” style upholstery. I actually started this project several weeks ago, but ran into some issues which I’ll share here in a minute…

Cue the angels singing: Ooooooooooooohhhhhhhhh

{Restoration Hardware}

I had a few burlap coffee sacks at the house and decided to makeover my living room furniture (I had been meaning to slipcover the two couches anyways…). Before you think I jumped off the deep end and was about to ruin perfectly nice couches, remember that both of our couches came from Craigslist and, combined, cost just $200. I wasn’t too worried about it going horribly wrong.

Do I ever, though?

Really, I can’t be trusted. This is why I thrift shop. 98% of the furnishings in my home are thrifted, refurbished, or made by me. Horribly wrong or not, I’m proud of it! So on with the deconstruction!

My plan wasn’t actually to deconstruct the couch. Phew. To get a little inspiration, I started by opening up the burlap sacks. They were just whip stitched together with twine… perfect because all the edges were hemmed! Must be related to my friend drop cloth…

It was at this point I realized these sacks were HUGE! I was able to do my small loveseat with just two of them. Here’s the couch before (old shot, but you get the idea):

The plan: cover the base, back, and sides of the couch with burlap, then make covers out of drop cloth for the 4 cushions (2 seats and 2 backs). I cut one sack in two long strips, which were wide enough to cover the bottom of the couch. I sewed them together and placed the seam in the center of the front of the couch (versus running one strip as far as it would go then having an oddly placed seam).

I love love love the teal stripes on this sack, but I thought I’d get tired of them in large quantity, so I opted to just use the natural part for the base. I turned the couch on its back, then stapled the burlap around the bottom where there was solid wood.

Once the very bottom was secure, I pulled the fabric tight and stapled all around the the top part of the base. The only problem? There really wasn’t anything solid to staple to. I thought the staples might hold, so I left it alone for a few weeks- but sure enough they started to work themselves out. I decided to take a different approach: hot glue. I figured that the areas where I’d be gluing are covered by cushions anyways (so if I hated this a year from now there’d be no serious damage). The hot glue worked perfectly!

I draped the back of the couch with part of a sack and stapled/glued it in place. On the sides, I originally planned to use upholstery tacks, but based on my poor results with the staples…well…yeah I sort of gave up on that. I ended up actually hot gluing the sides as well (which actually ended up being hot glued to other stapled burlap, so again there really isn’t any noticeable damage).

Sorry there aren’t any pictures of this process, it basically just consists of cutting fabric to fit the shape of the side (or arm, or whatever your couch has), then folding under the raw edge and hot gluing it in place as you contour it to the shape of the couch. Once I started with the hot glue, it took me about 30 minutes. Easy peasy! Here’s the couch ¬†with its new threads:

It’s hard to see the sides, but I did work in a little bit of those stripes :) Do not judge my animal hair problem, I swear I clean this all the time but it attracts the hair like a magnet (hence the need for lighter, washable slipcovers…)

I love that the burlap breaks up the dark color of the couch, and it looks a lot more interesting than it did before. I still want to proceed with phase two: slipcovering the cushions, but realistically that’s just not happening in the immediate future. For now I’m content with a partially deconstructed couch. What do you think? Would you ever try this on a piece of your furniture?

2 Responses

  1. Sandy

    AWESOME Rachael! I’m very inspired to try this on a faded extra large ottoman we have!! As for the pet hair….hey, if you don’t have a little pet hair in your home, you haven’t lived!!! That’s my philosophy! Gotta love our pets! Keep up the amazing work!

  2. Julie

    Love the burlap! I like where the couch is heading- and I think it will look super-sharp with the drop-cloth covers. I’m going to hold out on redoing my couch until I see what yours looks like in the end! I love the restoration project!!!!


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