The humble drop cloth doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

These canvas sheets protect floors, appliances and furniture from paint, dust and debris, and they’re destined to be spilled on, rolled up, reused and thrown away.

At least, that’s one option.

Drop cloths are one of the most versatile home improvement items because you can use them to keep job sites clean, or to make everything from curtains to room dividers.

And best of all? They’re affordable.

Here are five alternative uses for drop cloths to enhance your home’s décor and function.

Puppy sleeping on sofa with slip cover
Don’t want Fido messing up your sofa? Cover it with a drop cloth! (DepositPhotos)

1. Pet Covers

People love their pets just as they do any other family member, but each day, they face a dilemma.

They know upholstered furniture isn’t cheap, and they don’t want to replace or repair theirs anytime soon.

At the same time, they want Fido or Fluffy to feel right at home, and wouldn’t want to police their fur babies whenever those paws hit the upholstery.

Fortunately, there’s a happy medium: Cover your sofa and chairs with drop cloths! Your pets can stretch and roam wherever they please, and you won’t have to worry about fur and claws all over your couch.

Drop cloths used to cover sofa and artwork
So long, $100 sun and dust covers! We can protect our furniture for much less. (DepositPhotos)

2. Sun Shields 

The sun’s harsh ultraviolet rays, in addition to dust, can wreak havoc on wood and upholstered furniture. This is particularly true for homes without year-round occupants, such as seasonal and vacation residences.

Prolonged exposure to sunlight can fade fabric, and dust that piles up for months can break down wood finishes. This is why it’s important to cover fine furniture, especially if you won’t be able to visit — and maintain — a home for months.

Now, you don’t need fancy, expensive sheets to protect your furniture — some sun and dust covers range from $70 to $150 — you really just need canvas ones, in the form of drop cloths!

Bonus tip: Applying window film to glass doors and windows blocks harmful UV rays that can damage fabrics and furniture.

Stenciled tablecloth spread on lawn for picnic
Dye a canvas drop cloth and layer on some stenciled designs — friends will never know its humble beginnings! (DepositPhotos)

3. Stenciled Tablecloth 

There’s something to be said for tradition — and nothing is as timeless as a good old-fashioned picnic. Well, you can make any picnic special with a tablecloth created just for the occasion!

You’ll need a drop cloth, fabric-safe paint, a stencil brush and stencils from the craft store. (Of course, if you’re feeling really crafty, you can create your own stencils with construction paper and scissors).

Choose an outdoor table and cover it with newspaper. Then, spread the drop cloth on top and lay the stencil over it.

Next, dip the stencil brush into the paint and apply it on top of the stencil and the fabric. Don’t saturate the brush; it’s better to have too little paint than too much. You can always dip the stencil brush back into the paint.

Want a truly custom look? First, dye the drop cloth a solid color, like blue, and let dry, before adding the stenciled designs.

Curtains dividing the garage from the tool storage area

4. Room Divider

Unless you have a custom-built home — and your family hasn’t grown, and needs haven’t changed since move-in — you probably could use more space.

But sometimes, more space isn’t the issue; it’s dedicated space that you really need. Perhaps you have a large multipurpose room or garage that could use some division, and you lack the budget, desire or square footage to frame new walls.

Hanging a curtain is the easiest, most affordable way to divide a room, and it doesn’t require much time or skill. You just need some drop cloths, three-quarter-inch galvanized pipe, a tee fitting and curtain clips.

Watch the video: ‘How to Hang a Garage Curtain Made from Drop Cloths’

Outdoor curtains made from drop cloths

5. Outdoor Curtains

Homeowners increasingly want to extend their living space to the exterior — and that means making the backyard look and feel nice.

Transforming a blank patio is simple: Just add comfortable seating and make sure the space is well lit.

That covers the basics, of course, but as the saying goes, “The design is the details.” Don’t forget to add texture — lay down an outdoor rug, add plants and, finally, hang curtains.

It’s a simple as dying some drop cloths, installing a curtain rod and hanging the drop cloths with curtain clips.

The result is a patio with texture and (affordable) luxury!

How have you used a drop cloth? Tell us in the comments below!

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

Learn More