Burlap Sack Chairs

I have a chair. I found it on the side of the road. Yes. We’re sliding down that slippery, cigarette butt filled slope again.

I have a burlap coffee sack. Or two. I got them for free from a local shop.

So I have a chair and a sack.

Which is a good thing. Because my obsession with burlap covered chairs hasn’t decreased in the past 2 years. I figured it was a phase and I’d get over it once I saw burlap covered chairs all over Pinterest.

I didn’t.

I just want a burlap covered chair even more.

These two years of waiting has honed my love though. I like the burlap to be old and rough. A little worn looking. I’m not a big fan of burlap that’s been recently stencilled with words like love, hope or joy.

It’s not my thing. Words as decoration in general are not my thing. Although I’d love a vintage sign that says Eggs or Poulet or something like that for the chicken coop I built. So words are fine for a hen house not a human house. There’s no explaining my psychopathic type of thinking. Sorry.




Spindle Leg Chair w/ J. Voisin 1954, from Restoration Hardware

Antique Louis Chair w/ No. 10
Jenny Tidemo Styling/photography

Henry Road Union Jack Wingback Chair


See? What’s not to love?

I have no idea when I’ll get time to cover my chair with burlap because frankly sometimes I don’t even have time to watch the 17 hours of television I like to get in every day.

But if I have, to I’ll make time. It can’t be any harder than making a chicken coop.


  1. Sue says:

    I love old burlap flour bags. I found 3 in France from a village that no longer is there. They were from an old flour mill and had been patched over the years but were in great shape. I was lucky that they were really big and printed on both sides. I was able to cover three parsons chairs with them and they look great and are incredibly durable. There is just something about old burlap that warms my heart.

  2. gloria says:

    Handy tip. Do not sit in a burlap-covered chair while naked.

  3. AnnW says:

    You got That right! Looking forward to your adventures in upholstering.

  4. Jane says:

    Won’t that burlap cause itching?

  5. ShellyLeer says:

    You can wash burlap before upholstering with it. You can even drop in some fabric softener, it makes a world of difference. I’m with you Karen–haven’t been a huge fan.

  6. Bernadette says:

    I did over a wingback chair with coffee bags last year! Total hack, but it came out nice. here’s the post: http://brazenb.blogspot.com/2012/02/diy-coffee-bag-upcycle-wing-chair.html

  7. Danielle says:

    Right on! just jump into it, and take pics along the way in case you forget where something came from 🙂 I have a huge canvas drop cloth that I’m going to reupholster a wing-back chair with – kinda overwhelming – but I found this tutorial: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Reupholster-A-Chair-1/ But maybe it would be easier and wiser to create a slipcover? I do have toddlers… haven’t decided.

    • Deb J. says:

      A slipcover for a wing chair can be a tough thing to build – did one for my chair and getting the fit right is tricky. You have to go for the shabby chic, loose fitting look. I have had some success with a cross between slipcover and full reupholstering. That way you don’t have to take apart everything but can staple/tack parts where you need/want to. But go for it. It is very satisfying when you finally get something you like. Worth all the sore fingers!

  8. Emily says:

    I LOVE finding things at the “curb store” I have several in my home now. (A coffee table and a dresser turned to a bookcase) I have not fallen in love with burlap yet but I do know that my sister has recently used it in decorating her new “rustic” sytle home. I can’t wait to see what she has done with it.

  9. Miriam says:

    Ah, a tease! I was expecting to see the step-by-step restoration of your chair from roadside refuse to burlap-covered beauty. Alas, I must sit (on my non-burlap covered rump) and wait.

  10. We made burlap covered tables for parties using plywood and other discarded pieces of wood from builders building new homes near us. (Think oval piece from a jacuzzi tub) and they were almost free!
    You can see them on my wine ideas page of my pinterest page.(Debbie Neal)


    You will have to cut and paste to see it!

  11. Nicole2 says:

    That first one is a beaut. Figures it has to be from Restoration Hardware. It probably costs an arm, a leg and many other body parts. Can’t wait to see yours!

  12. Lauren says:

    There’s no shame in picking up a chair (or three) on the side of the road. I picked up three perfectly good deck chairs on the side of the road several years ago and I haven’t regretted it for a second.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Lyn! Great pictures. I can attest to how hard those pictures had to have been to get, LOL. That’s a woman with a LOT of patience. ~ karen!

  13. Pam says:

    Does your brain ever turn off? You must get tired sometimes.

  14. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Knowing your level of determination and stick-to-it-ness..am sure it will get done!

  15. Barbie says:

    OH KAREN! THank YOU! I have that exact chair from the first picture (we inherited it) I hate the upholstery on it! I have sat and sat staring at it wondering what kind of material to upholster it in. It’s on the top of my list since my husband just placed it in out master bathroom! NOW I KNOW! Thank you Thank you Thank you!

  16. Call Me Patty says:

    Love the burlap look, there’s something so organic about it. I made slipcovers for my 2 loveseats a few years back out of canvas drop cloths. Thought it would take me a long week end to do????? HA! 3 weeks later, I finished. But I LOVE THEM! Wouldn’t have them any different. Take them off a couple of times a year to wash and they’re like new. Greatest
    thing for families with kids and/or pets.

  17. Auntiepatch says:

    I completely stripped down a sofa with “good bones” a few years ago (20+). You just have to mark where everything came off and put it back together in the reverse order. It is a lot of work but worth it in the long run. My first try and it came out great!

  18. Shauna says:

    Thanks for this post. Just got a lot of inspiration for our annual halloween party from some of the commenters. Weird, I know since your post is for something much nicer than Halloween party props.

  19. Denise says:

    I wish I knew how to cover dining chairs like in the second pic with the open back…those are awesome!

  20. Call Me Patty says:

    The trick to doing slipcovers, is to pin everything as you go, inside out. When you’re finished just turn it right side out and voila! BUT make sure what you are slipcovering is the same on both sides.

  21. Lin N says:

    I have two lovely burlap coffee bags that I am going to upholster a bench cushion with….actually gonna con my friend, who is an awsome sew-er, to do it cuz I don’t sew. I’ll paint, wallpaper, change the oil in yer car, build a birdhouse, re-wire a lamp but…I don’t want to sew!

  22. Pam'a says:

    Alas. I’m almost afraid to admit this, but burlap is my brussels sprouts of the fabric world. You gals have fun, though!

  23. Amber says:

    Dearest Karen,

    I’m in total agreement that words like “love” and “hope” are stupid, especially on beautifully upholstered burlap chairs. Also, do you have a source for the last photo you posted? Those chairs are gorgeous and I was wondering if they were available for purchase. P.S. you are the best!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Amber! I’m afraid I don’t have a source. The picture came from Pinterest, and as is often the case with Pinterest it’s sometimes hard to track down where it originally came from. Everyone just pinned it from everyone else. My guess is it’s from a decorating/design magazine which makes sourcing it even more difficult. I tried. 🙁 ~ karen!

  24. Nicole says:

    send me the chair and the burlap…I’ll cover it and ship it back 😉 It can’t possibly cost that much for shipping to the states…can it?

  25. Marti says:

    If you’re going for a “retro look” chick pix for the henhouse, I vote for this one:


    Seems far more “Karen-ish.” (Is that a word? Perhaps we should suggest it to Webster?)

  26. Finleigh says:

    Hey. Hey guys.

    I..ah…I know where you can get some groovy burlap coffee sacks on the cheap.


    American Science & Surplus is one of my favorite sites. Ever. I give them a whole lot of my money for things like lab glassware and crazy mechanical widgets and deedlies.

  27. Cathy says:

    K–take a look-see at Karen @ The Graphics Fairy. She posts amazing royalty free graphics. Loads of French adverts, pigs, chickens, sheep and the plates & utensils to eat from.
    I spend a ton of time on her blog and Mondays are brag day.
    Let me just say that when I finally get to retire from this nursing gig that pays the bills, I’m totally going to be the coolest braggart any Monday ever saw!

    Cathy =^..^=

    • Karen says:

      Bragging day, LOL? I’m familiar with her site (it’s great!) but have no idea what bragging day is. I guess I’ll have to go and have a look! ~ karen

  28. Nancy Truhn says:

    Is there anyway to get “that smell” out of burlap fabric? I’ve noticed it on ribbons, yardage, whatever …. am I the only one that finds it offensive? : {

    • Karen says:

      Nancy – It does go away over time. But it gets REALLY bad when you wet the fabric. I know exactly what you mean. The slight smell of old burlap doesn’t bother me though. ~ karen!

  29. Sharon says:

    I want to upholster an old chair with a Burlap Sack that I got. Do you know if we can ”treat” it before or something…… Cause, for one, it’s a little bit rough and it tends to make some little ”string/thread” on clothes.

  30. Stephanie says:

    Hot Damn! I have almost the identical chair. I guess I know what I’m doing this weekend. Thnx for inspiration!

    I’ve covered furniture in painters drop cloth purchased from the hardware store – works great. Way cheaper than the fabric store.

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