On a recent Selby visit, we spotted this fabric-draped sofa in the wonderful home of Hitoshi Uchida-san – owner of J’Antiques Tokyo (check out the full story). The beauty of it is that the sofa is covered with a really big swath of fabric that can bunch and drape luxuriously. The fabric is wide enough to go from the floor in front of the sofa, over the seat, up the back and hang over by a couple of feet – not something the usual 54-inch width of fabric can do. But where do you find affordable fabric like this?

fabric draped sofa The Selby

We’ve had great luck at paint and home stores, like Janovik and Home Depot. We’ve been surprised to find painter’s drop cloths made out of 100% cotton canvas and even, on occasion linen. They come in a variety of sizes. The key is in finding the color of fabric you like – or we should say the degrees of neutral. We’ve seen them range from white to off-white to beige to a lovely grayish brown. We still have drop cloths that be bought many years ago; we’ve even used them as a bedspread.

remodelista via kikette interiors

Here’s one used to make a bedskirt:

drop cloth as bed skirt

We’ve seen furniture upholstered in drop cloth canvas, as well as table cloths and curtains made out of them.

We’re thinking that cotton drop-cloths would take well to being embellished with fabric paint.

Drop cloths come hemmed, though can look beautiful with the edges scissor-cut like the “slipcover” above. We recommend going to a store to actually SEE the drop cloth rather than buying online. The colors and weights can vary greatly and actually seeing them helps figure what will work for you. We’ve been known to buy a few to take home and check out, returning what we don’t want. (Make sure the store will take them back.) If you can only buy online, we recommend starting at Amazon and checking out their drop cloths; they have a good variety, though it’s not easy to tell color accuracy.

Related posts: stylish d-i-y fabric disguises for ugly furniture
“guest” chair: a charming play on “guest book”
copy this: paint a pillow…sofa…bedspread…curtain…
blank-canvas furniture

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8 replies on “Chic, Not Shabby, Dropcloth-draped Sofa

  1. I’ve never seen linen drop cloths–will keep an eye out for them. BTW, plural of cloth is cloths; clothes refers to clothing/apparel.
    P.S. This is my favorite website. Thank you for all your labors.

  2. Yeah, the linen ones are a truly lucky find.
    And thanks for the alert about drop clothEs. I was totally asleep on that one.
    H-m-m-m, I wonder what dropCLOTHES would look like.

  3. Thanks for the great idea, straight onto that one!!

  4. You can find a wide variety of canvas, linen, etc. at art supply stores. Unstretched canvas is what I use. It comes on rolls and folded in clear plastic. Sometimes you can even buy it by the yard. Utrecht is great. I think Dick Blick carries it too. It’s really true that the feel and color vary. There’s usually a number of threads per inch, which helps to know how fine it is.

  5. Hey, thanks for the reminder. It’s one of the only places you can get really WIDE swathes of it. I am still using a few yards I bought years ago: strong stuff…a good investment.

  6. Another cool thing to do to add some richness and density to the natural color is to soak the cloths in a bucket of plain ol’ black tea. The slight inconsistencies in how the color “takes” makes the fabric even more interesting. (Not incidentally, I love your posts…faithfully savor them amid so much junk mail!)

  7. Sally, I just got a giant drop cloth from Home Depot to protect my newly reupholstered linen sofa from our dog as well as when my daughter visits with her two large dogs. The natural canvas looks so much like linen (my favorite) not to mention that it looks 1000% better than the sheet I was going to use AND it was way less expensive than the throws I was thinking about. The drop cloth is the perfect solution–pleasing and practical. A big thank you for another inspiration!

  8. YES. Some drop clothes look very much like linen and THOSE are the ones to look for. They are a bargain resource I’ve relied on for years. I’m so glad to hear first-hand how they worked for you.

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