DIY: Rugs as Pillows

By Kate Riley October 23, 2017

This is one of those simple projects that’s a reminder of the versatility of textiles. Just because you find them in one form doesn’t mean they can’t be turned into something else! Do a search on Etsy and you’ll find lots of Moroccan or kilim print rugs converted into decorative pillow covers.

I found these two $16 cotton rugs at HomeGoods and I thought to myself, hmmm I love the soft texture and the blue colors and the Old Worldish print. They’re lovely as rugs but a little thin. Wouldn’t these be fun as textured pillows for my sofa?


So I turned them into a set.



Here are the simple steps on how to turn a cotton rug like this …


…into a pillow cover like this.


This is simple sew project but no zipper required. I used the same envelope pillow technique I’ve used for years, here’s a refresher.

First, trim the fringe on the short edges. You can use it to make tassels for the corners if you like (I chose not to). Trimming the fringe avoids the possibility it may get stuck in your sewing machine.


Next, grab a pillow insert and lay it down on the rug just to confirm you have enough material. (I used a 24 x 24” pillow insert). Cut the rug in half.


The longer sides of the rug have a nice seam so use them to your advantage, they will appear on the edges of the envelope on the backside of your pillow cover. Cut the second half of the rug in half so it forms two rectangular pieces, each with a seamed edge.


This is the trick with forming the envelope: place the front piece face up so that the print is facing you. Layer the backside pieces print side down, one piece overlapping the other to form what will be the envelope opening.


Trim the pieces to form a square, allow for at least an inch of excess material around the border. Lay the pillow insert on top as your guide and pin the pieces together just outside the pillow form.


Sew the four sides together. Take special care with the sewing machine needle as you sew over the layers of the envelope and those seamed edges of the rug. (Go slow to prevent needle breakage).


Turn the cover inside out and fill with pillow insert.


Remember those seamed edges along the sides of the original rug? See how they form the perfect edges of the envelope opening on the back of the pillow cover.


Turning a cotton rug into a pillow cover is that simple. :)






  1. I’ve used your envelope pillow cover tutorial a couple times before. I have to say these are possibly my favorite that you’ve done. I just love that texture/print. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing

  2. What a great eye to spot these rugs in the first place and then to turn them into something even more precious. Wish we had Home Goods here in Australia. Your cushions are beautiful and soothing! Kate, you might like Turkish designer Rifat Uzbek’s cushions. We save up for those!

  3. What a great idea! I will be checking that aisle at HomeGoods every trip from now on. Your pillows are beautiful!

  4. So pretty! I have made envelope pillow covers, but I haven’t tried a rug as fabric. I love that pillow!

  5. LOL — I love textiles too and am constantly finding tablecloths that should be robes,drapes that should be cigarette pants, etc. I used a fabulous cotton scarf with a deco print of tennis players on a yacht to line one of my denim jackets.

    I will definitely be on the lookout for a rug now — maybe for a floor pillow?

    And BTW, for a textile that heavy, I would suggect a sewing machine needle made for denim — it’s pretty heavy duty, but you do still need to take your time.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Excellent tip to use a needle for denim, thanks!!
      I also think like you, I always see fabrics and think this would be so great as…. (insert home décor item) :)

  6. Love this! I’ve wnted to make one for while but haven’t found the right color rug yet. Best tutorial!

    • Thanks Raquel, it’s super simple once you get the hang of it! It was a lightbulb moment for me when I figured this out :)

  7. Those are beautiful Kate! Prettiest shades of blues and so clever to use rugs. You are so creative! I have my mom’s sewing machine and need to bring it out if the closet and follow your tutorial. Looks very easy to follow!

  8. Love your pillows…I found some similar rugs in Home Goods about a month ago and bought all they had in the size I wanted…I am using a few of them to make the top of small benches. I intend to use the others as pillows as well! My daughter is building a new house and they fit her style perfectly!

  9. This is a great idea Kate! I haven’t seen your envelope method before, so thank you for going over it again. I think these covers looks absolutely fab, what a great repurposing idea!

    What sparked you to turn rugs into cushion covers? Had you seen it before you first did it? It’s a brilliant idea!

Leave a comment!

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Lately on Instagram (@centsationalstyle)