5 Best Farmhouse Fabric Ideas for Your Home

Best farmhouse fabric ideas, inspiration, and examples for adding this popular decor style to your home. Budget friendly options included!

One of the easiest and most budget-friendly ways to add a specific style to your decor is with fabric. By simply switching out pillow covers, or adding a table runner, it’s possible to transform a room in just a few minutes. Today I’m sharing five of the best fabrics to add farmhouse style to your decor. If you’re like me, and don’t actually live in a farmhouse, adding fabric and accessories can bring a touch of farmhouse charm to any space. 

There is a list of sources at the end of the post.

grain sack dining room chair with pillow

Farmhouse Fabric Ideas: Grain Sacks

First let’s talk grain sacks. My love of grain sacks borders on obsession. They have a rich history and each one tells a story. They are not the easiest things to come by, but the search is worth the end result. I buy mine on eBay. Other sources are Etsy and antique malls or flea markets. I have never found any grain sacks at my antique mall, and have the best luck buying online. Grain sacks are fun to repurpose into pillow covers or table runners, but if you don’t sew, just add them to your decor as a layer. 

What You Need to Know About Grain Sacks

grain sack table runner with pussy willow centerpiece

Place one on your coffee table or dining room table under a tray. Use them on the back of a chair or a vintage ladder. They can even be used to cover seat cushions and work great for upholstery. Honestly though, upholstery would get a little pricey unless you have just one or two chairs…but it certainly would pack a punch. I covered my dining room chairs with grain sack inspired fabric, and it was much more affordable than if I had used real grain sacks. 

Easy Pussy Willow Centerpiece 

Farmhouse Fabric Ideas: Ticking

Ticking is up next. It’s easily recognizable because all ticking has a specific stripe pattern. It was originally used to cover mattresses and pillows. You can still buy real mattress ticking in fabric stores…but my personal opinion is that it’s hard to work with. It’s stiff and doesn’t soften up much after washing.

blue striped tea towel with blue spatula best farmhouse fabric ideas

I opt for 100% cotton ticking that washes up beautifully and is a dream to work with. (Link at the end.) Soft furnishings made from ticking are cozy and add the perfect farmhouse touch. Red and blue ticking are probably the most popular, but it now comes in many different colors. 

How to Make a Tea Towel

best farmhouse fabric ideas ticking pillow on rocker

Farmhouse Fabric: Mangle Cloth

Mangle cloth is probably the least known among vintage farmhouse fabrics. A few years ago, I made a window valance for my kitchen with matching chair covers, and I used a magnificent, long run of mangle cloth that I found on eBay.

farmhouse fabric mangle cloth window valance

Mangle cloths are very long and wide, with blue or red stripes running down the sides. They were used to protect fine linens when they were put through a mangle machine to be ironed. (Think an old fashioned wringer only hot.) Mangle cloths are not easy to find and most of them come from Europe. The sides with the stripes are finished with a selvage (or finished) edge, so they can be made into a table runner or table cloth. 

neutral linen pillow farmhouse fabric ideas

Best Farmhouse Fabric: Linen

Of all the fabrics that lend themselves to the farmhouse look, linen is the most universal, and it literally goes with anything. White linen, ivory linen, flax linen…they all make beautiful decor items. For a solid fabric, it has incredible texture. Once it’s washed, it becomes softer and thicker. The more it’s washed, the better it gets. 

diy no sew linen napkins with frayed edges

I use it for window panels, pillow covers, cloth napkins, table runners, tea towels…and the list goes on. If you are ever in doubt about what fabric to use for something, choose linen. It’s a no-fail decision. 

DIY Linen Napkin Tutorial

Best Farmhouse Fabric Ideas: Burlap

The last best farmhouse fabric idea, but most certainly not the least, is burlap. Burlap is one of the best ways to bring farmhouse flair into your decor. It’s affordable, can be found anywhere, and is neutral in color. It can be purchased at all craft, discount, and fabric stores, which makes it super easy to find.

Burlap Tasseled Runner Tutorial

burlap table runner with tassels on table best farmhouse fabric

It’s also very simple to make no sew items with burlap. If it’s prepared correctly, a straight and frayed edge is easy to achieve. It’s also thick enough to survive being hot glued!

How to Wash, Dry & Cut Burlap

burlap bunny pillow on sofa

Burlap Bunny Pillow Tutorial

Farmhouse Fabric Ideas Bonus Tip:

One more way to add a little farmhouse charm to your decor is to sprinkle a vintage quilt or two around your rooms. I’ve been collecting blue quilts for a few years, and I love to use them to add layers and warmth. Smaller quilts are more affordable, so I look for baby quilts or coverlets. They can be purchased on sites like Etsy and eBay, or at flea markets and antique malls.

vintage quilts on basket blanket ladder farmhouse fabrics

I hope you’ve been inspired to add farmhouse personality to your home with one (or more) of these fabrics. Here are some links to sources for each one of them. The grain sacks and mangle cloths are the most expensive, but if you are patient, even those can be found for a reasonable price. If you decide to make a purchase, make sure to consider the shipping cost. It can add a good bit to the price of the item. 

*Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement.

Grain Sacks on eBay
Grain Sacks on Etsy
Mangle Cloth on eBay
Pure Linen
Blue Ticking
Red Ticking
Burlap
Ticking pillow covers on Etsy
Vintage quilts on eBay

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30 Comments

  1. Judy Earls says:

    Beautiful I just love that look

  2. Hi Ann! I do live in a small old farm house and recently inherited two red, blue and white Persian rugs. They are beautiful and I want to make sure they blend in and add timeless beauty to my old house. I love all of your ideas and will be looking for appropriate fabrics to make my old house more beautiful. Thank you for sharing your ideas! Your home always looks so classy and comfortable.

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  4. What a lovely post Ann. On my enclosed porch I am using off white denim slipcover on the sofa and black and white ticking toss pillows. Also added a couple of black/white square pattern you used at Christmas-can’t think of the name.
    xoxoxo
    xoxoxo

  5. Josephine Marie Howland says:

    It’s interesting that you mention Mangle cloth. I actually still have a working mangle. It was my mother’s. She and I both sewed so she had it to send her items through. It is wonderful to send your cloth napkins through and is a real time saver. I will often put through lengths of fabric to get them smooth before sewing.

  6. Ruth Loyce Gillies says:

    Thank you for all your wonderful ideas and the links to sources… I have already gone shopping (buying) for lovely pillow covers :)

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  8. I find the smell of burlap very off-putting. Does washing it before using it eliminate that problem? I hate the petroleum aroma that seems embedded in burlap.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Laurie…washing the burlap does remove a great deal of the odor. It doesn’t remove all of it though. I have found that the smell completely fades over time. I store some burlap runners in a drawer and when I open it, there is no smell.

  9. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    Thanks, Ann, for the great post! I love grain sack! We have covered our dining room chairs in grain sack with the blue stripe. I had never heard about the mangle but I like it, too!

  10. Although I don’t live in a farmhouse,I do love adding farmhouse decor to my home. I love all the fabrics you talked about in your post, very informative.

  11. I love all of your sewing tips. Your knowledge of older fabrics got me wondering if you or perhaps one of your readers can help to identify some linens my husband acquired from his great aunt. There are six large cloths (30” x 15”) made of damask with cloth tabs sewn on the back of each short end. They are embroidered with his aunt’s monogram. She was born in the early 1900s. Any clue as to what these were used for? They are too large for a placemat and too small for a table runner. The tabs on the back have us puzzled. Thank you.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Harriet…my apologies for the delay in answering. From your description, I think the linens are kitchen towels. The cloth tabs on the back are for hanging the towel on a hook. The linen most likely came on a roll that was 15 inches wide. It was cut into lengths to make the towels. What a treasure…you are very lucky!

  12. Great info, and ideas!! Thanks, have a great day.

  13. Ann – I love this post! My home is not farmhouse, but I find myself drawn to some of the elements of farmhouse – chicken wire and pillow ticking in particular. I think what is so appealing about these various fabrics is that they bring a sense of warmth and relaxed comfort that is both inviting and appealing. And your home showcases that perfectly! BTW….I took your advice from your latest sewing post about creating patterns for items you sew frequently. Total game changer. I create a few patterns for pillow forms, and was delighted at how much time, effort and frustration it saved me. Thank you so much for that!!

  14. Rae Elizabeth Batig says:

    Oh, my! Now I want to “collect” grain sacks. Thank you for a beautiful post.

  15. Donna Marie says:

    The only thing I don’t like about 100% cotton is the wrinkles!!! Lol

  16. Diania Abernathy says:

    Oh My goodness Ann!….Thanks for introducing us to the wonderful world of Mangle Cloth!!!

  17. Marlene Stephenson says:

    Thank you Ann,i am just now reading this cause i have been on vac,i am glad to have this info.

  18. Thank you so much for sHaring this wonderful decorating ideas! I’m glad, I found you!! Oh, by the way. I made the chocolate cake and it was delicious ! My husband loved it. He thought it need frosting.. He loves sugar… It wa perfect for me. Hope everything is well with your dad.
    Thinking of you

  19. Oh I love those curtains and you make the nicest stuff Ann! It all looks so beautiful! Thanks for the links:D I’ve never heard of mangle, but I like it!

  20. Ann,
    I have recently had a total knee replacement revision and will be stuck at home most of the summer, with limited mobility. I have sewn the little hearts you showed at Valentine’s, where it is a small project, and all hand sewn. Can you recommend any other project that is easy to do at home, hand sewn, and very few materials? I love French knots and hand sewing, but cannot think of an worthwhile project while I’m laid up.
    I love your blog, adore the photos you add, and admire the way you think a home should feel and look. Yours is just perfect! Thanks!
    Linda

  21. Anita from Cedar Hill Farmhouse says:

    Oh my I love your fabrics, and now I know about mangle! Actually I have bought it before, but didn’t know that is what it was called. Thank you!

  22. Love these ideas! The grain sack is my favorite!

    Have a wonderful day friend!
    karianne

  23. Penny @ The Comforts of Home says:

    I love all your fabric choices for a farmhouse look. The cool thing, for me is that they also are great fabrics for the French Country look! I have a mangle cloth with red stripes that I use as a runner on my dining table.

  24. Diane Zueck says:

    Thanks Ann. I certainly learned a lot after reading this post. I had heard of mangle cloth, but never knew much about it. Thank you for all the sources and creative ideas to incorporate these wonderful fabrics into our homes. I do have to include a little bit of warning when using burlap. I have a slight allergic reaction when working with burlap. I do love it though. I usually wear a surgical mask over my nose and mouth when cutting and sewing burlap. That usually takes care of it.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Oh good idea on the mask…I agree it is dusty!

  25. Yvonne @ StoneGable says:

    What an amazing post, Ann! So informative and so many great tips! I have never heard of mangle cloth… but I LOVE it! I’ll be looking for it for sure!!!
    Pinning and featuring your post on my fb page!!!!

  26. Rachelle Fisher says:

    Good morning Ann! I love your blog, you have such great decor ideas. I have a question regarding decorating with burlap. I have 8 kitchen chairs that I want to recover the chair pads, and I would love to use burlap. Your thoughts? Do you think it would eventually fray?

    Any advice you can send would be very much appreciated!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Rachelle!
      I’m sorry to say that I would not advise using burlap to recover seat cushions. It just isn’t woven tight enough and I know it would pull out of the staples. Flax linen would be an option and it’s neutral in color. The link at the end of my post goes to Joann Fabrics. If you use a 50% off coupon it’s very affordable. Another idea would be plain (not striped) grain sacks. You can find them on eBay and they are priced lower than the striped sacks. Sometimes you can get a plain sack for $20. Depending on the size of your cushions you could possibly get 4 chairs covered from one sack. Good luck…hope this helped!