Teen Room Project #7: Throw Cushion Covers

Eden used to have what I thought was an awesome banquette style table/bench in her room that was perfect for doing her homework, art projects and painting finger nails. However, she was adamant that she did not want it in her room when we did the bedroom transformation. Instead, she wanted a comfy seating area to hang-out in when her girlfriends are over. Originally she wanted to make a pallet type sofa, but in all honesty, it seemed like another big project and not really necessary when we have a futon right outside her door in our landing that virtually goes unused. She agreed that this would be a great alternative and so swapped the banquet and the futon. The second floor of our home has two large bedrooms, a large landing area and a bathroom. This is the kid’s zone and so the swap really made no difference to me.

Although we may someday purchase a new cover for the futon, for now, we just removed the old navy one and replaced it with an older duvet cover. It is a bit larger than it needs to be, but Eden doesn’t even mind the oversized look and the price was right!

To dress it up, I decided to use some of the old cushions from the futon and make some simple new slip covers for them. I had all of the fabric on hand from previous projects and the style I made required no zippers and minimal work.

Throw Cushion Tutorial

Step 1: Cut the Fabric

For these simple slip covers, you simply measure the width of your pillow and add about an inch for seam allowances. Mine were all square, so the width was 14″ plus 1″ for the seam allowance. Ideally, if you are using new fabric and aren’t doing piece work, the length will be equal to 2X the size plus about a 3 to 4 inch overlap depending on the size of the pillow. For mine, The width was 15″ and the total length would have been about 34 “.IMG_2449

Step 2: Finish the seams

Next, you take the short sides of the fabric and finish the seams. I usually do a double fold to give a nice finished look. (This is just an example and I did not actually use this particular piece of fabric. I pinned the seams to give you the idea.)

Step 3: Fold and Pin

Lay the big rectangle down flat with right side facing up. Place a pin at the center point and then fold over one of the finished side seams so that it’s laying down the middle of the fabric. Take the other finished seam and drag it over so that it lays onto of the first one that has been placed at the center point. (Remove the pin.) You want to measure and lay it down once the folded cover is the desired width. So, the last piece will now be overlapping the first fold. Remeasure to be sure that the folded cover is the desired size of the finished cover.


Fold the first end in and lay it down in the middle of the fabric.

Fold the other end

Drag the other end over to overlap first side and stop when the folded square/rectangle equals desired size.

Step 4: Sew

Sew along the top and bottom of the cushion cover. Turn right side out and ensure corners are pushed out. Insert the pillow through the overlapped portion. This will sit at the back of the finished cushion.

*Of course, I didn’t have new fabric, I was using scraps I had on hand, so I had to do some piece work. It was basically the same concept, but I used “less appealing” fabric on the back where the overlap is and my decor fabric on the front. Of course, instead of a fold along the sides, mine has a seam. You just have to allow that little extra for the side seam. Here are the shots of the ones I made.

Floor Pillow:

Eden also had a large throw pillow that needed to be recovered to match her new decor. For this one, I simple removed the previous cover from the pillow and used it as a template for cutting out the new fabric. I actually used an old shower curtain that was in excellent shape. It is a bit silky feeling and I thought it would be great because it wouldn’t collect lint on it in the same way the previous fleece one did. I even removed the zipper from the old one and re-used it in the new cover. This cost nothing, but gave the pillow a fresh new look for her cozy little “den”.

floor pillow

The floor pillow cover was made from upcycling an old shower curtain.

floor pillow

Here’s a shot of the finished floor pillow with a cushion. The cushion fabric was left over from the Roman Blinds.

Bolster Pillows:

Finally, I took the old bolster covers and used them as a template to make a long tube like cover for back of the futon. This simply meant finishing the end seams and then sewing a long tube. Instead of the hassle of trying to make a nice fitting end, we just used ribbon to tie the ends. Simple to do and helps dress up the old futon a little. I’m not sure I “love” the ribbon, but I had it on hand and it will do until I find something I like better. These covers were also made from an old shower curtain. Eden doesn’t like a lot of pattern, but I was able to add a bit of interest with the varying sheens and textures of the cushion fabrics. I like the waffle fabric on the bolsters a lot.bolster

How much did all these new cushions cost? Not a dime. I was able to re-use/repurpose what I had on hand without being out-of-pocket at all. It is still looking a little sparse and we’ll definitely have to kick it up a notch, but its a good starting point. Now I can look for fabrics or pre-made covers that will coordinate well with what she already has. I’d really like to bring more colour and pattern in, but Eden and I don’t always see eye to eye and ultimately ….it is her space!



Teen Room Project #4: Floor Lamp Upcycle

A total decor change can mean lots of expense. To keep costs down, I try to be innovative and figure out ways to repurpose, reuse and upcycle items that we already own. Such was the case with this super simple upcycle project. We had bought this floor lamp for Eden in a bright blue to match her previous room decor. It seemed unfortunate that it would no longer work in her new space. The solution was simple…..a few coats of spray paint.

Floor Lamp Upcycle:

  1. Tape off all of the areas that you do not want to be painted. For this project that meant the inside of the lamp shade, the flexible silver portion of the pole and the cord. I simply taped the end of the cord near the lamp pole and then bagged the remaining cord and taped it to the silver portion that I had already taped off.
  2. Find a well ventilated area that is protected from spray off. (I used my hanging wardrobe paint tent in the basement.)
  3. Spray 2 to 3 thin coats of paint to avoid runs. (Let it dry between coats.)

The original blue worked well in her “old” room, but didn’t fit with the new colour scheme. This was a super simple and inexpensive fix ~ especially since I already had the black spray paint on hand.

The Magic of Spray Paint:

Spray paint is one of the staples that I like to keep on hand. This lamp is simply an example of how you can take something you already have on hand (or an item that you pick-up from a garage sale or thrift store for a couple of bucks) and transform it into a piece that really works for you.  My challenge for you is to look beyond the present condition or colour of an item and begin to look at the “bones”…..the size, the structure, the etching/carvings. Very often the ugliest pieces can be totally transformed with the simple shake of a can and press of a button. I have given so many items new life with a simple coat of spray paint!

If you wish to check out the full posts (with before and after shots) for any of the above projects, you can either browse the DIY and Upcyling section of my blog or do a search on my blog using specific key words.