Poor Man’s Linen

A while ago I was honored to be a guest over at Melanie’s Pretties and Posies blog.  If you’ve never visited Melanie, please do!  You’re in for a treat.   If you missed my guest post there, I decided to repost it here today.  I’m taking a bit of a bloggy break to catch up on some things, but I promise to be back!  I’ll be working on some much needed changes to our second bathroom.  Currently, it looks like something out of an episode of The Jetsons.  If you don’t believe me, stay tuned and you’ll see! 


Today’s topic is using drop cloths in decorating.  My love affair with drop cloths began when I was a young newlywed. I needed a cheap way to make our apartment into a home.  With its dingy, old linoleum tile floors and dark paneled walls, the place needed all the help it could get. 
House Beautiful magazine came to the rescue and provided the inspiration I needed.  I had saved an article about a designer lining the inside of his entire bedroom with white drop cloths.  The drop cloths even continued over the window, allowing the light to filter through the fabric.   I ended up duplicating the look for our apartment bedroom, and every night it was like sleeping inside a dreamy tent.  We loved it!

In our current home I’ve used drop cloths in several place.  Here, for the curtain under our laundry sink.  I simply topped it with a piece of old curtain trim for a little flair…


The curtain under our kitchen sink is also made with drop cloth fabric…


As well as the inside-out liner of our bedroom chandelier


I cut some of the ready-made hem from the drop cloth edge to make the ties.  Easy!


If you’ve been reading home d├ęcor blogs for long, you have probably noticed canvas drop cloths making their rounds.  There’s a good reason for their popularity. With their nubby natural texture, drop cloths give the look of linen without the hefty price tag.  That’s why I like to call it poor man’s linen.  It makes a great substitute!


  1. I love drop cloths! I used them as curtains in my living and dining rooms. I am planning to make my holiday pillow covers with drop cloth too.

  2. I would have loved to have seen your first apartment all dressed out in drop cloths!!

  3. I am having our master bed skirt and both boys' bed skirts made from drop cloth...picking all of them up this weekend! ~can't wait!

  4. Great ideas! I am having my living room sofa slip covered in "duck cloth" from WalMart. It was only $4.97 a yard! Can't wait to see how it turns out! (After reading this post, I'm not as nervous about it!) :)

  5. I'm a lover of Poor Man's Linen also. I think my favorite thing about it is it's weight - not too bulky not to thin.

    So far I've use it to slipcover my sofa, as curtains, as footstool covers and as pillow slipcovers.

  6. i recently had two vintage french chairs with tufted backs redone in drop cloth and they were stunning. sold them at marburger to a lucky lady from austin.



  7. I love them too and have used them for years...long before they became "the thing to use". Some of us old broads were ahead of our time...not talking about YOU! lol I love your uses of them...especially the shade! Perfect- Diana

  8. Yup. Love them. Made a shower curtain out of one...I'll send you a pick if I think of it!

  9. I never would have known if you hadn't told! I must try the lamp shade liner!

  10. Hi there!
    Can you remember where you purchased the "My Beloved" pillow from? I remember seeing it and wanting to get it, now that I can buy it, I can't find it! I've looked on etsy with no luck.

  11. Stephanie,
    I made and sold the "My Beloved" pillow. LOL Although I'm no longer making and selling them. I'm so sorry! Those particular pillows take quite the time to make, and I'm afraid I haven't any to spare. Sorry again!


  12. Hi Rie, I recently used drop cloths to reupholster two chairs and I am thinking about drop cloth drapes now. I love how you have used them in your home.
    xo, Sherry

  13. I'm a drop cloth loving gal myself!!! The way you've used them are outstanding!!!

  14. ~*~*LOVE that idea!! They look wonderful in your home~*Now if I could only sew...hmm that would help!! ;) Hugs,Rachel~*~*

  15. What a great idea, must get down to the hardware store and see what the drop cloths here in Australia are like. Hope they are as nice!

  16. I am right there with you, Rie! I love using drop cloths for slipcovers, pillows, whatever! They are so cheap and really do mimic linen.

  17. I love your drop cloth ideas, especially the skirt under your laundry sink. That vignette is beautiful. Wish I could say the same about my laundry room right now. Best wishes.

  18. I just came across your blog, and I'm glad I did!
    Greetings from Italy,

  19. My daughter, a new graduate and in the working world in NYC uses a drop cloth as a slipcover over her stained leather couch (my suggestion)..it works with her Paris flea market look. YOU are so talented.
    Mary Ann

  20. Does anyone know where to obtain white drop cloths. I would like to make curtains but white would look better in my bedroom.


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