A Beach Cottage Coastal Family Room Makeover with drop cloths

Wed 24th, Jul, 2013

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Well you never know Beach Cottage ladies do you?

I have to tell you that for about 2 years now, ok make that more, I’ve been just a teeny tiny leetle bit whiny about the white leather sofas in the Family Room…poor poor old me right?  First world problem.

I ask myself regularly whatever possessed me to buy them in the first place…and the only thing I can come up with is that I was in a rush…which is true but how that made me choose something a mile away from squashy linen sofas that suck you in and keep you there for the night I will never ever know…


Anyhoo, as you can imagine there are other people in this old cottage, whose main concern is not the aesthetic qualities of the sofas in the Family Room (by that I mean that despite sulking and other means my husband was not to be convinced of the need for the $10,000 linen covered puffy sofa sectional that I have had my eye on for a while).

So when in IKEA the other week, looking for a kitchen and coming home with nothing other than a lightbulb for my hairdresser and a cheeseboard (a miracle happened for sure!) I took myself off to the sofas section and thought that while that $10,000 sofa may just be off the radar for the moment, one from IKEA might just be doable…I sat there, and sat there, did a bit of Instagramming, checked my emails and definitely considered adding a Swedish Boutique sectional and sofa to the Family Room….something wasn’t quite right in the comfort department though…the thing is the mahusively lovely linen covered sofa in the other shop is mahusively comfortable…IKEA, just not quite so much…fine but you know….so I came home without a kitchen, without a sofa or wardrobe but with yet another cheeseboard.


A few days later I came home and Mr BC in his infinite wisdom and because he had moved the sofa to find something and seen rather a few dust bunnies under there, ahem, had decided to move the sofas to facing each other, coffee table in the middle so that hoovering in the space where the sofa was (against the wall) could take place.  No my husband does not do the hoovering.  No I did not do it either.

Aside from domestic duties and what is a blue and what is a pink job, blow me down with a white feather Mr Beach Cottage I do believe I quite like the room like this…don’t hold your breath but I may stop whinging on about these sofas…for at least a month…I think I might be able to do something with them.


And so I got to work…now if there is one enquiry I have on this blog, apart from what shade of white paint is my favourite and am I sponsored by the Swedish Boutique, it’s

‘how can I cover up my old sofas and make them more beachy and coastal?’

Well I say go forth and adorn with white…


…the main problem with me and these sofas, was and is, the fact that the leather is cold, not sinky as in it doesn’t sink when you sit in it, not fabric and mostly I wanted a softer linen-ish more casual feel…so I decided a solution to that cold, un-sink-in-able couple of sofas could be to layer ‘em up, foof em up and hope for the best.

The first attempt was pretty ordinary…but this I am pleased with and after a lot of tucking, cursing, smoothing and folding, the ‘covers’ on these sofas can be sat upon as if they were made for it without everything coming up around you as you sit down, or worse, falling on the floor when you get up…

Do you have sofas that for the life of you wonder why you ever purchased?  Do you have any secrets on how to cover the darn things up?


p.s when I am rich and famous and have a private masseuse remind me of a former life where I lived in the rattiest old cottage in Sydney and covered up white leather sofas with painter’s drop cloths, k? ;-)

p.p.s the kiddos have to sit on the floor in this house and eat in the garden ;-)



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39 Responses to “A Beach Cottage Coastal Family Room Makeover with drop cloths”

  1. Honeyaar(Sonal) says:

    Bonjour Mme Beach Cottage,
    Well, I must say given your not quite first choice of seating, the family room looks pretty darn ” AMAAZIING …..DAHLING!!!!! ”
    Your pics are stunning and the room looks lovely and airy.
    Your first world problem is a step away from moi…zee sofa is classique chocolat
    From Natuzzi no less , but so hmmm…how do I say …masculine??!!!
    Comfortable oui, but cold in winter.
    Zee solutzion: cover with throws and cushions and look zee other way!!!
    Hehe ;-)

  2. Deb says:

    timely post for me this one!
    I just found at le oppe shoppe, a mustard yellow great big crochet tablecloth, and having a yellow lounge, which is decidedly not an appropriate colour with small children, I placed it over said sofa, and voila! You cant see the stains anymore, AND it looks almost pretty!
    Nowhere near as nice as yours, and no matter how hard I try, I know that the throw, along with every cushion, will be on the floor in a pile in no time at all, like they are every day around 3:30pm!
    ;-) Deb. x

    • sarah says:

      yes, I have considered velcro-ing or sewing my cushions to the sofa…come 3.30pm they magically all jump onto the floor!

      I like the sound of your crochet throw..score :-)

  3. michelle says:

    I like your leather lounges and I also REALLY like that pom pom throw. I want. xx

    • sarah says:

      it was a super expensive classy shop ;-)

      Aldi aka the German Boutique xx

      you can have them if I ever get a new one

  4. Rukmini Roy says:

    Makes me want to snuggle up with a good book- it looks so, so good. Sarah, I think you are a beautiful woman. I just stepped into the whole marriage thing and I realize how difficult it is to pull everything off, perfectly at the same time. And i still don’t have kiddos. You are an inspiration to us. It was the other day I was telling my husband, I think when I grow up even more- I want to be somewhat like mrs. beach cottage- a woman with 18 hands and a whole lot of balls.

    • sarah says:

      aww thanks Rukmini!

      I must say that you only see the good bits on here…my life is far from perfect lol !


  5. Kat says:

    It all looks gorgeous as always Sarah.
    You have the magical styling touch :)
    Once I can afford a new couch, perhaps then I will be able to decide what to buy…have only been thinking about it for oh, um years now.
    With four children who have left stains on our neutral coloured macro suede lounge, I cannot even fathom white. (even though I lurve it!)
    I am thinking maybe grey next time, but am sure to change my mind many, many times in the meantime ;)

    • sarah says:

      I hear you Kat – my 13 year old and still going strong sofa in the other room has had all sorts happen to it – thank goodness I got slipcovers b/c it goes in the wash and comes up as good as new! I’ve never quite gotten over that…and it’s great not to have to worry!

      Have you thought about layering up on your sofas?? I have been researching this for a bit and the trick it seems is to use various sizes and layers rather than try and ‘throw over’ if you see what I mean


  6. Linda jenkins says:

    Does Ikea do sofa covers that might work??

    • sarah says:

      I haven’t found any sofa covers that will fit the arms on these sofas, thanks Linda…

      I did find some of those tie on covers but the fabric was actually quite horrid!


  7. Nice work! We have a browny sofa that is so comfy but b.r.o.w.n. I am constantly wondering what to do with it…get rid of it, get it covered, attempt a cover myself???… In the meantime it’s just smothered in neutral cushions!! xx

  8. alison says:

    “first world problem” LOL LOL. We all have them, don’t we!

    Wow, personal massuese is on my list too.


  9. Lee says:

    Love your lovely cottage!!! Am constantly checking out your photos!
    I for one purchased cream sofas a couple of year ago – now with a 5 year old and a Labrador puppy I must of been insane – they are so comfortable so I would love to get covers for them instead of throw rugs! Where is your light shade from in that room? Is it ikea? X

  10. Ellen Smith says:

    I love painter’s cloth! I love your choice:) and did you know you could make coastal stripe table covers from drop cloths? Apply straight lines of painter’s tape to the cloth, use a cheap paint brush and dip in paint. If you brush most of the paint off, it will have a faded, vintage look. (Another rabbit trail)…

    • sarah says:

      Yes thanks Ellen I have seen them on lots of blogs…I tried it and have one on the front deck…I must blog it one day!

  11. Val Stopford says:

    Love your style Sarah and the ‘new look sofas’. I did laugh when I read your comment about why on earth you chose the sofas in the first place. We moved to our BC 4 years ago and have made many mistakes along the way. The worst – and I feel it will be the most expensive – was when I decided to have our nubuk leather sofas recovered. I just wanted them done, so for some inexplicable reason I chose ……..wait for it…….lavender linen!!!!!! Oh dear!! I tried to convince myself that they were great – even when my ‘Dear One’ looked at me and shook his head! As we are now about to renovate our living area I am thinking that having slip covers made is the best solution ….. When I am in my dotage, the lavender may appeal again!

    • sarah says:

      oh dear! though at least it’s not white leather…

      could you somehow disguise it by layering…I’m very pleased with mine actually…to be honest I can’t quite believe how much better they look with layers of stuff on them haha

      good luck with that lavender linen…makes me feel less bad haha xx

      • Val Stopford says:

        Yes – cannot see any phase of my life when lavender ( In all honesty it is more purple than lavender )will be the dominant colour of my decor ( however I do justify my decision on occasions by telling myself that the colour is favoured by royalty, and means luxury and passion!!!!). Sad excuses really!! I have them covered with white covers in the “back room” and hope to one day make the slip covers myself. It seems such a daunting task though!!! Until then they remain my reminder ” To take time when choosing”.

  12. merilyn says:

    your cottage always looks perfect to me, compared to mine but that is not on show and we live in our house messily! mind you, I don’t know how you successfully put a male in a white bedroom! … it’s beyond me!
    I have made covers for my lounges in stretchy fabric years ago they are not perfect but are doable!
    and have many comments about them how great they look! this is a cover up job over cabbage roses in sanderson linen … so over that! I stretched the fabric and hammer tacs into the timber a few deft stitches here and there and safety pins etc and bob’s your uncle! … if you can sew you could do this with
    gorgeous textured or self patterned white stretchy fabric with very pleasing effects! to stop it from riding up so to speak you could put bracing elastic underneath the sofa … good ideas! run with them! lol m:)x

  13. Ankita Ghosh says:

    Such lovely pics, Sarah! The white shines through (not in a loud way, of course) in a beautiful, heartwarming manner! Just absolutely loved the way you have spruced up your living area.

  14. Mrs Woog says:

    My couches are Moran Tan numbers that I literally stalked. They were $10,000 new but because I never buy new when it comes to furniture, I found them after 2 years of searching on eBay for $2,000. That was 6 years ago and they get better with age.

    Funnily enough, the lady bought them for her Gold Coast apartment and as soon as they arrived, stuck them in her garage and ordered white leather sofas!


    • sarah says:

      I like your shopping style ;-)

      I wish someone would relieve me of my white leather sofas…I am putting an ebay search on right now for the sofas I want:-)

  15. Linden Townhouse says:

    Your sofas look very comfy! We just bought the IKEA sectional with white slipcovers and love it! We find it to be very comfortable, and the size and scale is just right for our tiny city townhouse. I love that I can change up the slipcovers without breaking the bank. This is the first time I have ever had a washable sofa cover, and it is brilliant!

  16. Cheryl says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I used drop cloths to make slipcovers for my sofa and loveseat. I love using dropcloths because you can throw them in the washer with bleach and fabric softener and they get softer every time you wash them. Dropcloths also kind of have a linen look to them. I love them.

    • sarah says:

      yes me too, I have one in the other room that is looking lovely now that it has been washed a lot!

  17. samantha says:

    yes, we bought red sofa’s a few years ago, two of them, and to this day I don’t know what possessed me to do so, I have been covering them up ever since with a huge throw from ikea that I found on ebay.
    I even made one of those gif photos showing the transformation of our badly chosen very red sofa.

    I’m on the look out for a new cream/white or maybe light grey corner sofa…I think… :-)

  18. Dianne says:

    I love the room. What you have done is great. What do you mean by layering? I have a white Ikea love seat and single chair. I like what you have done. I would like to “layer” the love seat, but not sure what to put on it. Could you give me some direction. Thanks Sarah.

  19. I love your dining-room and you can be happy you bought WHITE leather sofas! My mom bought a green one in a hurry when she moved. NOw she’s stuck with decorating around the green sofa! I love how your family room looks.