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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Do We REALLY Love Burlap?!!

I remember the first time I saw burlap being used on a decorative element for the home. I’m not sure how long ago it actually was, but it has probably been close to seven years.  I was ordering a full length table skirt for my dining room table from Ballard designs. Ballard had a burlap table skirt and I remember saying to myself, “Who would want a burlap table skirt? It is so scratchy!”

The rest is history! Over the years burlap has become quite in vogue! It is not only being used for table skirts, but you name it, and you will find something that is made in burlap. My friend Stacy at Conspicuous Style Blog has an amazing line-up of images of anything, and everything you  can find using burlap. If you love burlap you are going to love this post on her blog.

Now, back to my question, “Do we really love burlap?” Do we love it enough to make a commitment in using it on a piece of furniture?  Or do we truly see it as a trend and will only make an investment in smaller accessory type pieces for our home? Will burlap always be in your life or do you see it as a passing phase?

I will have to be honest in stating that I am not a huge fan. I am not saying this to offend anyone because I love the freedom in design to express one’s self. 


Since burlap has been used so much over the past few years, it made me question my own opinion. Am I missing something? What are others seeing in it that I am not?

I find burlap to be scratchy!! It looks scratchy and it feels scratchy!! So what is it that appeals to so many in the design world?


Obviously burlap adds warmth in its color, and if you want texture, you are really going to get texture by using burlap. It is also very inexpensive too!!


Those are all good and valid reasons to use burlap, if you truly love it. I, on the other hand would prefer a lovely, textured linen over burlap.


Burlap has been on what I call, “ The Trend Train!” for quite some time. Is it going to become a classic? I personally don’t think so! What do you all think? Do you think burlap has been over used, or do you think it is here to stay and destined to become a classic?


Whether you love burlap or not, remember, always……….

“Enjoy the Process!” Of:

Expressing yourself in the design of your home!


Tina From The Enchanted Home blog has a series of post where she does a wonderful interview with other bloggers. Today she interviewed me!!

I felt so honored to be asked to participate in this series. If you would like to get to know a little bit more about me, be sure and visit..........
The Enchanted Home


Anonymous said...

I do like it in small doses. Love the tablescape and I have to admit I do love that last chair and I would use the Christmas stocking. I think I like anything that adds texture. I have had sisal and seagrass rugs in the past... scratchy too... it had to go... it cut the kids knees when they were younger. xo

The enchanted home said...

Just posted your interview...thanks again!
Onto the subject of burlap.....I have seen several pictures of it in rooms that I think are gorgeous, especially the French inspired ones BUT would not buy it for my own home, for a few reasons. I do think its very trendy, it is super uncomfortable and rough, like sandpaper and on a practical note, it doesn't fit into the decor of my home, that said have seen it many times where its looked fantastic but I do think its a trend. Great pictures!

lisaroy said...

I think burlap is more of a trend right now. I don't mind it used in some instances - like the little sink skirt in a laundry room or a runner on a table, but I don't think I could commit to a piece of furniture (too scratchy). I'd rather go for a rugged piece of linen which is similar in look but much nicer in feel (and classic, not trendy!) :)

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Hi Kathysue,
I'm not sure how long burlap will stay in vogue. I think you either like it or don't. I have made many pillows using it and most have sold, but to be used for decorative uses only. It is scratchy for sure.

I think it goes with the french look and that's why everyone is using it. Will it be around for another five years????? Who knows.


Susan said...

Hi just read your interview over at
the enchanted home and loved it! We have a lot in common, especially your love for
the Pacific coast, the Notebook, and your
favorite foods. I was also touched by when
you and your husband say the Notebook together, that is so sweet!
Glad to have found your great blog too. On the subject of burlap, I had a pretty ottoman covered in burlap which I put in my bedroom but it was very itchy and no one ever wanted to sit on it, so gave it to my little sister who was moving into her first apartment. That was my one and only experience with burlap.

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Hi Kathysue! Well, I have to say that I love the LOOK of burlap. It adds so much texture and a rustic feel to your decor. And since I am going for French country, it has perhaps more of a place in my home than others...but not too much of it! I would never upholster a chair that some poor soul would have to sit on! But...there are nicer grades of burlap that aren't quite so scratchy. Maybe a throw pillow that you can move aside or table runner where you aren't actually touching it is a good way to use it. What I am waiting for is Charles Faudree's new book coming out in September. I can't wait to see if he has adjusted his style to include the burlap and chippy white that is so fashionable now! (I'm betting not.) Because, you know, I think he's the man! lol We'll see! Happy week!...hugs...Debbie

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Always remembering I am not a designer, so not one to really know enough about these things to be considered an authority; I will jump in and say, it's okay for an accent, perhaps, but I do not believe I could use it as an upholstery fabric for a piece expected for long term. I also believe it is one of those trendy things, that come and go and sometimes return.

I first saw burlap used in design as early as the 1960's. I saw draperies using burlap and lined with muslin. Particularly a short drapery, sort of cafe length.

Thanks so much, Kathysue, for your encouraging remarks about my photography efforts.

Simple Daisy said...

I have to say....i'm torn!! I love the look of burlap...it's simple and very cost effective! But I do agree it's very scratchy!! :(
I love textured linen or even muslin much more and the muslin is still super cost effective!! Great post:)

NanaDiana said...

Hello~Hello- I found you through Tina. FINALLY someone that dared say it- Burlap in the kitchen? Not for me either- I grew up with burlap feed bags in the barn and they made me itch then and they make me itch now. Love your blog,lady..and I am signing up as your newest follower.

Pop by sometime if you get the chance-my own blog is not about design-although that is part of my background-but it is more about a record of the little nuances of every day life in my crazy household. I think we are about the same age so you will relate a bit.

I am so glad that Enchanted Home did a feature on you- she is just a great gal, isn't she? So...here I am and guess what? You are stuck with me now- I am your newest follower- Hugs- Diana

The French Hutch said...

I just read your interview over at The Enchanted Home. Your blog is lovely and your style is one I admire so I'll be your newest follower. Its so nice to meet you and I plan to visit often.

The French Hutch

Karen said...

I can't imagine upholstering anything in burlap, like you mentioned, it's texture is pretty rough. I do think that it would be a fun and affordable choice to dress a buffet table for a fall party.

Taylor Greenwalt said...

Kathysue, I just read your interview with Tina at Enchanted Home Blog. It was a great interview and I loved your verse. I just started a blog on design. You are a natural writer. Thanks for sharing.

cotedetexas said...

you are so true - its def. a trend, prob in five years it will be gone. but i do like it, esp. if you can't afford beautiful linen fabrics. or you have a booth in an antique mall = its great to use as wallpaper over the walls. but i must say some of those skirted tables are gorgeous. great post.

La Vie Quotidienne said...

It depends on the context in which it is used. I think it looks fabulous in the laundry room photo. But personally, I would never use it on upholstery. It does give wonderful textural effect and in the garden is would be fabulous. Actually, I was thinking about combining it with some elegant silk fabric to make a pillow for my new media/library room. Funny...I never saw a scrap of it in France.

mwaxter said...

Hi! Found you throughThe Enchanted home and was drawn to come over for a visit
after seeing your interview which was great! I also married my highschool sweetheart but married after we both graduated from college, and are married 35 years and 2 daughters later. I think this is an interesting post too. I like the look of burlap on chairs and settees but its a very easy fabric to cozy up to, I also think its very trendy right up there with chevron,poofs,and bleached light woods.

Shannon@Cozy Home Scenes said...

I love the look of burlap in home furnishings but would not want it because I don't see how it could be durable and it IS scratchy. I use it for small craft projects and sneeze the whole time due to the lint. I think burlap is a fun fabric but is just a trend. Shannon

Tricia Rose Rough Linen said...

Yes linen is the answer Kathysue - but then I would say that wouldn't I!
Seriously, I get a lot of customers who like the look of burlap but want the far superior handle and texture of natural linen. Burlap is for fun, not for the long haul - or next to your skin, ouch!

Jessie said...

While I think burlap looks fantastic because it gives off a more rustic look and the feeling of warmth, I wouldn't want them for my furniture. It looks great in a picture but it's just not very practical. However, if it is used in small doses like table runners or Christmas stockings (similar to your inspirational pictures), I don't really mind. You get the rustic look without the scratchy feeling. I think this trend is made popular by stores like Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware, don't you think?


Jeanene said...

I am not a fan of burlap. I think it's a trend that will eventually fade.

Stacy CUrran said...

First, congrats on being featured T Tina's blog...I'm going to read it now. Second, your post is completely different from mine, but I really appreciate that you linked to mine...you are too sweet! As for burlap, I love the way it looks on a lot of photos, but if I ever use it in my own home it would be for stockings (love those pictured) or perhaps something else seasonal. I do love it for some people, like Miss Mustard Seeds style. It's just not really a fit with the rest of my house....but you make a point that I totally agree with, about how you should always decorate the way you like,, not how someone tells you you should!

Lee said...

I have a table runner in burlap that I picked up from World Market and it adds a little rustic texture to a picnic outdoors. Combines well with linen napkins.

Babs said...

I'm probably the only person out there who's not a fan of burlap. While I DO like the look of it and the texture it brings to a room, I personally, don't care for the feel or smell of it.. and how do you clean it?
Practical me, I much prefer linen or cotton.

Sally@DivineDistractions said...

I never got on that trend train, nor the one where everything looks worn out. Call me a snob (I love linen), but burlap is for hauling bags of dirt, not decorating!

Ann from On Sutton Place said...

I love the look of burlap but I can't stand the feel of it or the smell. I have made a few pillows...I would love to make a table runner but haven't gotten there yet. I think the stocking you included is absolutely perfect. I remember seeing years ago on Trading Spaces sometimes they used burlap as window panels. It is affordable to be sure. Great post...

The Buzz Blog said...

I guess since I grew up in Belgium where the Marche aux Puces look was "de rigueur" I would agree with you... so many companies have hopped on the burlap bandwagon and I'm just itching for color!

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

I like it only in smaller pieces. It is very scratchy like you said. I think it will be around for a while though especially in this down economy since it is so cheap.

Amy Chalmers said...

Coming over from Enchanted! Nice interview by the way, nice to know more about you, as I do know you from your comments, but now so much more. I totally agree about burlap and had to add that as my overrated trend when I was featured on Enchanted's Behind The Blogger. On that we agree, but I love soft warm greys and a little distressed white paint never hurt to warm up a cottage!

Decorating Lady's Humble Abode said...

Love the look of it in pillows and chairs, but not really user friendly on skin. I have an allergic reaction to burlap and linen. Fond this out the hard way...tried on a nice, linen, pants suit some years ago by the time I got it off my back was a big red rash. So this won't work for my home. As far as a trend it will pass on by, but will pop up in the future sometime. Thanks for the burlap post. Decor. Lady

Marianne said...

I do like the look of burlap and in small doses. I don't like it for the same reason as you, it's too scratchy! For that reason, I wouldn't upholster furniture in it, but can look nice for an accessory piece. I would much rather have linen any day!

Unknown said...

Kathysue -
First off.....so excited and happy to see you on The Enchanted Home and in HofF!!! Loved your article - so well expressed!!!

Now, burlap. I have to admit liking it - mainly because of the texture it can bring in - but I like it for a tablescape, where you don't have to really touch it. I also love it as a curtain liner - it lines some curtains in a really cool room in our house. It adds another layer of texture at a really low price.

Happy August - it looks like it's off to a great start for you!
xoxo Elizabeth

diane said...

Love the Christmas stocking and love the printed curtains in the laundry room and that is probably where burlap will continue to be popular. I think burlap furniture is probably a flash in the pan but it's been around a long time for crafts and probably not going anywhere for a while. did you know it also comes in lots of bright colors? I am loving that as fun window valances in a teen's room, laundry room, playroom etc.

Karen T. said...

I do like burlap as long as you don't go crazy with it (lol). I guess it's the relaxed, casual, and textural feel it lends. Although it's been around longer than I thought it would be, I do think it is a trend. That being said, I have a wonderful French antique gilt wood settee I found at a local antiques shop that is covered in a type of burlap that honestly is not scratchy at all. (Maybe it's not really burlap.) I almost didn't buy it because of the burlap, but am so glad I did. I'm using it it my kitchen right now and can always get it reupholstered if burlap goes out of style.

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

I think a table runner is enough for me. I love the look, but not the feel, so I can't imagine that I will be adding any to furniture. I think the trend will go away.

By the way, I saw that you were featured in two places and I am so proud of you. You so deserve all the recognition you get. I love you bunches. Hugs, Marty

Sue said...

I love to see it in the pictures and in other's homes. I have a couple of small notebook covers etc. made of burlap. But, the one time I tried to make something with it, I was sneezing and itching all over. I could never have a piece of furniture covered in it-too scratchy for me.

Anonymous said...

I am a very tactile person so the thought of ever using burlap in my home was never even a thought! I think there have been some lovely ideas using it but every time I see a chair or something that is made that would somehow be against your skin I have a terrible urge to start scratching! Course I am one of those who tears out every tag from my clothing because they bug me so!!

bee blessed

Barb @ The Everyday Home said...

Lover of burlap here. I will admit, it may be on the trend train, and I rarely fall for trends. I think burlap just might stand the test of time. I definitely agree, its a love/hate thing. I don't have large amounts in my home...small pillows, a tableskirt/runner...but loved that last chair. Did NOT like the club chair. All of the tablescapes were divine. (remember my handwritten frenchy tablerunners?) :-)

LOVED this post. :)

vignette design said...

Burlap is definitely getting to be over-kill! I like it in small doses, like a lampshade or Christmas stocking. Also, as a tableskirt with a fine wool paisley layered over it. Your first image of the ruffled tablecloth is very cool. Burlap also makes great wallcovering. I like the texture it gives, but not as upholstery. I do like linen better and also soft feed sack material. Great post!

La Dolfina said...

You are everywhere these days!
Loved your interview over at The Enchanted Home!!
Love you!!!


La Dolfina said...

Burlap has a place and it is a classic of sorts but it has been used on things that were never really meant for burlap and it has become a tiresome trend I think.
Thanks for always making us think :)

Pinky at Designs by Pinky said...

Well, right now I definitely thinkn it is a trend but I see it working BEAUTIFULLY in a farhouse setting! It just seems perfect there, like your 4th image of the laundery room. I would like a table runner or to use it to line pots of plants or flowers but other than that it would not "fit" in my home. XO, Pinky

mel@georgicapond said...

Not a big fan of burlap I have to say, although as decoration for festive celebrations it looks great, such as that Christmas stocking. I think in a rustic, rural environment in the right setting it can work but I'd be reluctant to use it domestically. Too scratchy. Apart from that, I think there are far too many beautiful colours and patterns in the world to stick with something so plain. Thanks also for your comments on my fence post, I hope it didn't come across as criticism of the US, believe me I have nothing but admiration and envy for that way you do things over there! And loved reading about you on Tina's blog, lovely to learn about your thoughts and background. x

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

If you're stupid enough to put it on a chair... be offended. I hate it. lol

Splendid Sass said...

I am with you. It is scratchy. I do love the way it was used here in the laundry room and for the Christmas stockings. I have seen curtains done that I really liked. I am just a little more formal.
I hope that you are having a great week.

pippi said...

I love the way burlap photographs, its texture and honest color can be rustic, cottage, or provincial depending on the styling.

I too don't like the feel.

I've just returned from the Summer Las Vegas International Home Furnishings Market and the faux up-cycled vintage feedback look is everywhere, so i think the 'trend' will be around for a while. It complements the drab greige palette which is also ubiquitous.

There were several vendors, however who took the next step in the look and used open weave linens that have different thread widths creating a nice simulation of the burlap qualities while also being wonderfully soft, clean, and cool to the touch.

Thanks for the great post!
I've repined some of the images on my Pinterest "burlap" mood board http://pinterest.com/katiehatch/burlap-fabric-trend-2009-2014/