Inspiration: Burlap

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I loved an article in the November issue of Canadian House and Home where they featured burlap as this season's sought-after accent. I'm loving the idea of it being used as an upholstery fabric, giving an understated feel which contrasts so well with more formal pieces, creating a relaxed yet refined look. Above image: Chair Barrymoree; fabrics, Designer Fabrics. Photo by Michael Graydon.

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Working as a coffee barista years back, I always wondered what one could do with all those burlap coffee bags and I guess "it just wasn't the time", but I love this idea of making a headboard slipcover out of burlap coffee sacks; and if your local coffee shop is friendly, I'm sure they wouldn't mind saving you a few bags. In this article, H&H said they paid $5 for theirs and then along with creating the slip cover, we love that they have contrasted it with a dark coloured wall and white linen bedding to create a more polished and current look. Above photo by Michael Graydon.

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The above photo (taken by the lovely Janis Nicolay) is from the bedroom and home of Darci Ilich, co-owner of Vancouver's Yaletown shop, The Cross. The bed, named the Margaret Queen Bed is a hand-carved hardwood bed in antiqued white with Raffia upholstery and a definite high-end piece, however we draw inspiration from it, as it too has that more laid back feel we're seeking here.

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Since the holidays are on the way, I couldn't resist this image of a beautiful wreath using burlap as an accessory in the form of tassels. A modern take on traditional holiday decor. Tassels from Designer Fabrics, photo by Michael Graydon.

This whole burlap thing has me rather excited as I think of all the possibilities from ottomans and benches to recovering dining room chairs, lampshades, pillows, the list goes on and on. Here's a few handmade pieces to start:

Jan Halvarson


Karyn said...

I adore the chair in the first photo. I've had a love affair with burlap for a long time and have yet to use this kind with the tighter weave but now that I've seen it here, I can think of many applications starting with a chair in my master bedroom!

Acaislim said...

I love all!
Looks great.

Roxanne said...

*gasp* There are no words for how beautiful I think burlap is. I must have that bed!

Tricia McKellar said...

Is that burlap & velvet on the chair in the first photo-- how wonderful!

jean said...

I used some burlap to make a headboard for my bed in my last apartment. I loved the way it looked and I thought I'd share some things I learned from working with it.

I bought mine at Joann's (fabric store in the US) so maybe it's not the tighter weave burlap that one of the above commenters mentioned. That said, it shed a lot when I brought the fabric home from the store. I washed it 3 or 4 times by itself before I was able to get a piece of fabric that didn't leave behind clumps of fibre in the washing machine. I did wonder if all the washing would disintegrate the fabric or fade the dye but it held up well.

I did find that since we leaned against the headboard most nights reading in bed, etc., the burlap developed a bit of a sheen. I didn't think it looked bad though. We used that headboard for about 3 years and when we moved out and I dismantled everything it still looked great. I had sewn the cover so that it was removable thinking I'd throw it into the wash as needed. But I never ended up doing so. Usually I'd run the vacuum over it with the upholstery brush attachment about once a week to take care of any dust or cat hairs.

Joann's has a decent selection of colors. I ended up choosing this fabric because of the color. Here's a photo if you're interested. Sorry it's not the focus of the image, but you can see it in the background and get an idea of what it looked like. And here too.


Jan said...

NOW could well be the time.

Unknown said...

I used burlap as table runners for my wedding in May. I made fringe about 10 inches long that hung over the sides of the tables. They were beautiful.

Señorita Puri said...

looks beautiful, but turth is that it sometimes is too rough and when you otuch it it feel quite unconfy.

Jan Halvarson said...

thanks for all your comments, it's exciting to see people's take on it.

jean - thanks for your valuable info - and i love the blue - looks awesome! i didn't even know burlap came in blue.

jan - yes i think you are right

Señorita Puri - you are right it can be a bit scratchy to cosy up to - so perhaps a pillow or something like that might be best in a place where one doesn't want to curl up to.

mayaluna said...

Thanks so much for including some of my burlap work in this post. Working with recycled coffee sacks vs. store bought burlap has the obvious added benefits of repurposing, but the typography is something to get excited about. I think it's why I love that headboard so much!!
Added coffee sack info: I recommend spot cleaning burlap. Handwashing only if necessary. Machine washing will increase the excess fiber shedding that Jean spoke of and make any of the original graphics disappear.

Sideways Shop said...

We LOVE working with burlap. The upcycled coffee bags are our favorites - it is all about the graphics & typography! While burlap can be "scratchy to cozy up to" it makes a unique design statement. I wouldn't use burlap on the pillows I sleep on, but as accent pillows or accents on furniture, it's great! Keep up the great work.

samantha hahn said...

oh I love it as upholstery!

Amy said...

I love that burlap headboard. It looks great against the dark wall.

lisa solomon said...

totally have a thing for burlap. used to have burlap curtains in my studio... maybe i should resurrect them