7 Dazzling DIY Decor Projects Using Burlap

Burlap has come a long way from its lowly origins. This natural fabric was traditionally known as a sturdy but coarse cloth, used to make sacks for food products like potatoes or coffee. Woven from jute or sisal fibers, burlap started its "career" in home improvement as a backing for floor coverings such as carpet and linoleum. In the past few years, though, the humble fabric has moved on up to a starring role in the field of interior decoration. Why is burlap so beloved by designers and crafters? Well, its homey good looks help it blend perfectly with fashionably shabby decor, but it's equally capable of providing a whimsical touch at upscale events like weddings. It can add a special style to any room of the house … or your outdoor living space. Try one or more of these burlap inspirations to get your home ready for a fabulous fall.

1. Throw Pillow

Front Porch Ideas/HometalkBurlap is perfect for creating colorfully unique throw pillows to accent your living room sofa or your patio swing. Stencil the fabric, screen print it, or simply hand paint to get the personalized look you love.

2. Storage Containers

Jessica/HometalkYou can never have enough cute boxes for stashing scattered stuff, am I right? But when you start to find that your storage container habit is blasting your budget to bits, it's time to make your own instead. One simple but elegant, super low-cost way is (shhh! Don't let the secret out!) to wrap empty shoeboxes in burlap. Don't forget the labels.

3. Table Runner

Creative Cain Cabin/HometalkDress your table up or down, as the mood strikes you, with a cheery burlap runner. FYI, the famous fibrous fabric now comes in a rainbow of colors and prints, in addition to traditional gunnysack beige. Do take note, though, that burlap tends to be scratchy, so you might not want to rest your elbows directly on the runner.

4. Wall Banner

Maria Panayiotiou/flickrBroadcast an inspiring message to the world with a wall banner, handcrafted by yours truly. Embroider, cross-stitch or applique words and patterns onto a burlap background. Then hang the delightful results in your living room -- or your own personal forest.

5. Curtains

Cori from the Flying C/HometalkOne of folks' very favorite things about burlap is that it does not require tedious hemming, since the cut edges can just be left to form a natural fringe. Put together an easy and inexpensive set of no-sew burlap curtains and hire a handyman to hang them beautifully with the money you save.

6. Wreath

Emily Mathews/flickrWelcoming front door wreaths are always in fashion, especially when they are made of quirky burlap rather than the more usual evergreen branches, garden flowers, or foliage. Add in a few contrast fabrics (anyone for gold lame, perhaps?) and you'll announce to visitors that your home is one of a kind. PS: Great for curb appeal!

7. Hanging Planter

Mike Linskvayer/flickrThere is something so incredibly charming about a hanging planter filled with bright blooms. The unexpected touch of an authentic burlap bag as the plant holder takes the idea up yet another notch. Attach to a chain link fence for the ultimate in urban outdoor chic.

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

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