Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

August 24, 2015

20 Innovative + Modern Ideas for Decorating with Rope

Nautical rope table, DIY

While working on my rope side table, I had a line from Horrible Bosses 2 stuck in my head: "otherwise we're going to string him up by his pretty little neck with the roughest, coarsest piece of rope we've got in our rope inventory".  Here's a terrible quality clip of the scene:    

Handy Hubs didn't really appreciate why I thought that line was hilarious - or why I'd bust into an old prospector accent anytime I so much as looked at a piece of rope - but, unfortunately for him, we still have some rope left in our rope inventory, so I won't be retiring the bit anytime soon.  I'm brainstorming ideas, so I started a Pinterest board devoted to rope (and also some nautical ideas).

Here's a short-list of my 20 favorite ideas for decorating with rope - innovative and modern ideas to buy, borrow, or make!

This mid-century inspired rope room divider, from The Brick House, is THE best rope project. 

Rope wall; room divider
The Brick House
On a similarly epic scale, this rope ceiling caught my eye:

Decorative rope ceiling
Design Milk
The Wrap Bench from cb2 is gorgeous - of course I'm smitten with the mid-century lines.  I know there's a sad, broken bench languishing in a thrift store somewhere, just begging for a DIY rope seat.

Mid-century modern style rope bench
This rope headboard, from Better Homes & Gardens, would also make for a really easy - if a little time consuming - DIY project.  The idea would be equally pretty as a chair seat or shelf on a table.

Rope headboard - DIY potential
Better Homes & Gardens
This Shades of Light rope and wood table has major DIY potential and at first I was considering a similar design for my table, but the boat cleats were a bit pricey.  While cleat shopping, though, I spotted some white metal boat cleats that I keep thinking would make great wall hooks...

Rope and boat cleat credenza table
Shades of Light
These tables boast colourful rope, which makes me love them all the more.  It took me a lot of searching to find more of the exact width of rope I was sent for my challenge, so I'm now very familiar with every gauge, material, and colour of rope available within 100km.  I know of some super cheery stuff that would be perfect for making something similar (or you could make some fabric twine). 

Colorful rope tables
Emily Henderson
I have seen quite a few DIY rope shelves online, but this one by Burkatron is perfect: simple, modern, white - it's beautiful.

Hanging rope shelf
I honestly wouldn't have looked twice at the Palecek Strings Attached Lounge Chair until I spotted it recovered in a bold blue starburst print, in an issue of HGVT magazine.  Now I've been casually keeping my eye out for some kind of rattan chair to modify for this same look - how pretty would it be on the deck?

Rope chair
via Candelabra
If you find yourself saying, "but none of the furniture pieces you've shown use enough rope," then perhaps this DIY jute wrapped vanity from The Gathered Home might tickle your fancy.  It only required about 1500 feet of rope...

Rope vanity
The Gathered Home
The vanity above is actually a clever Anthropologie knock-off, and I think that this Rope Lace Tiara Chair from Urban Outfitters has similar DIY potential.  Wrapping the design in rope could really update - and perhaps make somewhat less scalding on hot summer days - those dated metal patio furniture sets that practically burn a design onto the back of your thighs. 

Rope chair

I have seen a few thick rope railings but this one, featured in House Beautiful, takes the cake because it's so chunky and makes a real statement.  I also love it paired with the other textural elements.

Rope railing
House Beautiful
Speaking of railings, I keep thinking that there's potential here for a railing or furniture hack...

Rope railing
The New York Times
This bold and colourful kitchen, spotted on the DIY Network, boasts custom rope pendant lights - with great DIY potential!  You'll have to peel your eyes away from that stunning ceiling, for just a second!

Rope ceiling light
DIY Network
Emily Henderson created this cool and mod DIY coat rack, using a bit of rope to secure the centre.  It's wondrously easy to make (I'm talking minutes!), and if I had the floor space, I'd whip one up in a hurry.

Cool coat rack - Easy DIY
Emily Henderson
For someone with less floor space, this suspended rope hanging system is cool, with an industrial, rather than nautical, feel.  It could definitely be warmed up with a wood dowel and copper clips.

Rope hanging storage
Design Milk
For a dose of rope on a smaller scale, this DIY rope basket from Alice and Lois is easy to make (no sew!) but looks chic. 

Rope basket
Alice and Lois
This hanging planter is a perfect way to also use up some wood scraps.  If the wood was whitewashed and the planters were painted a pale aqua or navy, this could look so beachy. 

Rope hanging planter
I kept envisioning a rope wreath, but it turns out that a rope wreath has already been done - many times!  This one is cute, but I especially like the little embroidery floss details on this one:

Rope wreath
I've seen rope wrapped around a lot of vessels and shapes - from tin cans to tires - but I love the look of rope wrapped around a gleaming glass vase the best.  It's pretty, but rustic.

Rope vase
Better Homes & Gardens
Last, but not least, is the rope table Hubs and I made - which I hope you'll vote for every day :)

Rope table DIY

If still craving more, check out my Rope + Nautical Ideas Pinterest board - and if you've spotted a really great way to decorate with rope, leave a link in the comments or tag me on Instagram because I'm still on the hunt for some great ideas!

20 Modern Ways to Decorate with Rope


  1. The shelf is my absolute favorite! It would look so nice in my house. I love the idea of decorating with rope - so budget friendly

    1. I agree - that shelf is definitely your style: simple, modern, cool! I would love to see you tackle that DIY!

  2. Tanya, the beginning of this post legitimately made me laugh out loud!! You're quite the comedian. Even my husband watched the clip and read the beginning of your post about your "rope inventory" when he heard me laughing

    1. Have you seen the movie? It is amazing stress relief - I actually laughed out loud through a lot of it. I recorded it on my PVR and save it for rough days... Happy to have been able to share it with you :)

  3. Lee Valley sells great metal clothespins that would be perfect for that suspended rope system.

    1. Oooo, that it so good to know!! Of course Lee Valley would have them, lol, they have EVERYthing. I miss living in a city with a Lee Valley store because the catalog is just too overwhelming. Thanks for the info :)

  4. I love the ceiling, chair, plant holder and like the table with the boat cleats and the headboard if it was done a little neater, I don't like being able to see the knots and what not. That chair though, is beautiful...and big enough for my big ole booty lolllll

    1. Haha, maybe that's what appeals to me too! My butt literally picks everything: our first car, our dining room chairs...
      You need to start a blog. You're the kind of person who would actually turn these ideas into cool projects!

    2. lol @ but picks everything.

      It is still in my mind and I just keep putting it off, that dang procraftination again.


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