Use This Surprising $17 Buy from Lowes to Make Your Sofa Look so Much More Expensive

This clever, inexpensive alternative to a linen slipcover uses an unsuspecting item that almost every DIYer already owns

A living room with a cream linen sofa
(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

A soft and slouchy linen sofa is the stuff of dreams. I've always been drawn to the simplicity of the neutral color, the timeless quality of the organic material, and the subtle texture that has the power to soften a whole room. If, like me, you've longed for a linen sofa but never committed, whether due to the cost or practical drawbacks, I've found a genius trick that you're sure to love.

If you're a renter who's forced to live with an unsightly sofa, or maybe you just want to elevate the look of your existing couch on a budget, you'll want to know about this $17 buy from Lowes that can immediately make your sofa look so much more expensive. Even if you already have a linen sofa, this unsuspecting item - something that nearly every DIYer has stashed away in their garage already - makes an inexpensive alternative to a pricey fitted slipcover. Intrigued? I thought as much. Here's what you need to know about this genius trick for faking a beautiful linen living room sofa.

From the cottagecore style to the minimaluxe trend, linen sofas have been cropping up everywhere of late. The natural material has a certain degree of luxury about it - it's a super durable fiber that can be woven to make a wonderfully texture textile, which of course makes it an excellent choice for a sofa. The only downside to that, however, is that it's typically quite expensive, too.

If you want the same look on a budget, you'll be pleased to hear that's easier than you might think. All that's needed to elevate your living room is a linen flat sheet draped over your sofa as a throw cover or, if you'd really like to keep spending to a minimum, a painter's drop cloth, which can be bought from Lowes for as little as $17. While the latter won't be the real deal (since canvas drop cloths are typically made of cotton), they have a similar look and feel for a fraction of the price.

This genius hack comes courtesy of home blogger Tayler Lowden, owner of Flipping Vintage, via her Instagram. Keen to get the linen look for less, she uses a flat sheet to cover her sofa for a cozy, whimsical look in her own home. 'I don't use a flat sheet on my bed and I was thinking of other ways I could use it in my space, and at the time I needed a sofa cover,' she explains. 'I have a king-size bed so a king sheet fits best in my opinion and drapes better than other sizes depending on your sofa. Also, it’s easy to wash and does not cost as much as a custom slip - win-win!' 

A post shared by Tayler Lowden

A photo posted by flipping_vintage76 on

So, what are Tayler's tips when it comes to draping a sofa? 'I simply place the linen over the sofa as if making a bed, with the top of the sheet at the back,' she says. 'Make sure to tuck the sheet in tight so when you sit it doesn’t come out. Another hack to do this is to use a foam noodle or long rod and tuck it in the backrest after placing the sheet over for a more nonslip slipcover.'

Of course, linen will have the one up on a dropcloth when it comes to making your sofa look more expensive but in some cases, a dropcloth will do just fine. The same method applies if you decide to use this trusty DIY staple (just ensure you splash out on a new one - no one wants a paint-splattered sofa!).

You should also be sure to size up your sheet or drop cloth to ensure it covers your entire sofa - Lowes has a 6' by 9' dropcloth that should be suitable for standard-size sofa, or a 9' by 12' for larger ones. Some people prefer the live-in look that's created when the fabric hangs at the bottom, but you could always tuck any excess material under your sofa and fix it with staples or velcro for a cleaner, tidier appearance.

Ikea coffee table hacks linen sofa and footstool as coffee table by Bemz

(Image credit: Bemz)

Linen bed sheets have been all the rage in recent months, and it looks as though the material is now set to make its way into more living rooms, too. The question is, why?

'As experts in high-end furniture, we certainly see the appeal given the practical benefits of linen in upholstery - especially in slipcovers,' says designer James Scaife from sofa brand, Olson and Baker. 'Linen's natural characteristics are almost hard to believe. It's much stronger than cotton, its longer fibers minimize dust and lint accumulation, and linen covers are low-maintenance, breathable, and hypoallergenic.'

James is keen to note one of the more impractical sides to linen, however (something you'll certainly have noticed if you have linen bed sheets). 'One that can catch some people out is that it can crease/wrinkle without sufficient massaging and plumping,' he says. 'That said, we actually love that look and it's dead-on-trend at the moment. Just like contemporary fashion trends, it's becoming more and more popular to just relax and enjoy the character of your linen for what it is. Creases and all!'

Ready to bring some linen into your living room? Whether you opt for a fully-fledged linen sofa or fake the look with a drop cloth, we're right behind this relaxed, organic-inspired sofa trend.

Our favorite accessories for a linen sofa

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.