How to Make an Extra Long Lumbar Pillow

By Brittni • Updated on 11/05/2021

Making an extra long lumbar pillow for our guest bedroom that costs a fraction of the price of the cute ones you’ve seen online.

Light-filled bedroom with linen bedding and a blue extra long lumbar pillow.

You know those extra long lumbar pillows that everyone loves? The ones that are a couple hundred dollars on fancy decor sites? I love them too! And we made one for half the price of the pricey ones. But even more interesting… the main material may surprise you. Hint: It’s not your standard fabric!

Bet you can’t guess what material this long lumbar pillow is made out of before clicking through. Or maybe you can? Click through to see if you’re right!

This DIY lumbar pillow is perfect as a decorative bed pillow or as a statement on a long sofa / seating area. It would also look cool in a reading nook or window seat.

So what’s this long lumbar pillow made out of?

This might be a little strange, but stay with me. The pillow is made from a woven flatweave rug!

Extra long lumbar pillow in neutral bedroom, with linen bedding.

Blue rug being held up to show both sides, which will become a lumbar pillow.

Still with me?! Yep, it’s a rug that was turned into a pillow. What so you think? The idea behind using a rug as an extra long lumbar pillow was two fold.

  1.  It’s the perfect (super long) size at five feet long.
  2.  It’s a great, luxe looking textile because it’s a woven flatweave – similar to Kilim pillows, which can be very expensive. I recently saw one that was $208 for the cover alone (no insert included) and it was cotton backed, meaning the higher quality textile didn’t wrap all the way around the pillow.

So, I’m feeling pretty good about the fact that all the materials for this pillow were under $100 (including the inserts) AND the material wraps all the way around. That said, you can totally get the cost down even more if you find the right rug. OR only cover the front with the more expensive material and opt for an inexpensive cotton or canvas for the back.

Sale price tag from a blue Kilim rug.

How to Make an Extra Long Lumbar Pillow

I decided to use the BACK of the sale rug I bought for this project because I liked the pattern better (more minimal) on the back. Always check the back of those woven flatweave rugs when you find them on sale because the pattern is usually very different on the back – it’s good to have options. ALSO, this 3×5 rug was on mega sale (in-store)…50% off the original price and then an additional 20% off of that, which brought the cost down to $60 (from $149).

A 5 ft long lumbar pillow is best suited for a queen size or kind size bed because of how long it is. BUT this idea would be a really cool headboard for a full size bed also. Just add some leather straps, loop them around the pillow (one on each side) and nail the loops into the wall. A similar technique to my DIY curtain rod, but with the lumbar pillow instead of the dowel rod and a longer strap / loop of leather.

Materials

  • 3×5 woven flatweave rug
  • needle and thread (choose similar color thread to rug color)
  • two 20×30 pillow inserts OR one 20×60*
  • large clips or clamps

*The closest I could find to a 20×60 pillow insert was this 20×54 insert from Bed Bath and Beyond (it’s only $10). If you nee the insert to be the full length though, I’d recommend using two 20×30 inch pillow inserts to get the full 60 inches.

Measuring rug to create an extra long lumbar pillow.

Step 1: Fold and clip rug to desired size for lumbar pillow.

To make a lumbar pillow, fold over the rug to your desired size. I folded the ends over each other to about 14 inches (see photo), but in hindsight, I think I could have gone a little shorter – maybe 12 inches. Depends on your preference. 

Then use clips or clamps to keep the rug in place, while sewing by hand. It really helps to keep that straight line if you use clips.

Hand stitch the length of the rug to create the pillow pocket.

Step 2: Hand stitch the length of the rug to create the pillow pocket.

For sewing, use an overhand stitch running the length of the pillow, where the pieces fold over.

Stuff the inside of the lumbar pillowcase with pillow inserts.

Step 3: Stuff the pillow.

Next, stuff the inside of the lumbar pillowcase with pillow inserts (or one big long one instead). I used 2 separate pillow inserts because I already had them.

Two of these 20×30 lumbar pillows from Pottery Barn were the most affordable ones I could find before hitting publish on this post – at $20 each. And this is the 20×54 insert from Bed Bath and Beyond if you’re okay with something slightly smaller.

*If you do go with the smaller insert, I’d recommend sewing the sides in closer to the insert length (you can tuck the rug sides in and then sew OR cut the sides down and then sew).

Sew up the sides with a basic stitch.

Step 4: Sew up the sides with a basic stitch.

Lastly, use a basic stitch to stitch up the sides after the insert or inserts are in. Then it’s ready to use!

*We left the tassels exposed for an extra detail, but if you don’t like the look, you can fold them in before sewing up the ends. I wouldn’t recommend cutting them off though because it may unravel the weave of the rug.

Closeup image of natural light bedroom with linen bedding and a blue extra long lumbar pillow.

Want more DIY pillow inspiration?

I’ve done so many different DIY pillow projects over the years. And while this long lumbar pillow might be amongst my absolute favorites, I have a handful of others that hold top spots in my heart as well. Here are a few more pillow projects you may like…

  • I feel like mud cloth will always be cool, right? These reversible mudcloth pillows are a great way to add some texture and pattern to your space.
  • This faux fur pillows project is a popular one.
  • A giant DIY monstera leaf pillow (and a small one too) perfect for a kid’s room.
  • And one of my favorites! This DIY circle pillow that will make any chair or sofa look instantly cooler.

Light-filled bedroom with linen bedding and a blue extra long lumbar pillow.

Blue extra long lumbar pillow on neutral linen bedding in light-filled room.

How to Make an Extra Long Lumbar Pillow

Brittni
You know those extra long lumbar pillows that everyone loves? The ones that are a couple hundred dollars on fancy decor sites? We made one for half the price and the main material may surprise you. Hint: It's not your standard fabric! Bet you can't guess what material this pillow is made out of before clicking through. Or maybe you can? Click through to see if you're right!
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Ingredients
  

  • 3 x5 woven flatweave rug
  • needle and thread choose similar color thread to rug color
  • two 20x30 pillow inserts OR one 20x60*
  • large clips or clamps

Instructions
 

Step 1: Fold and clip rug to desired size for lumbar pillow.

  • To make a lumbar pillow, fold over the rug to your desired size. I folded the ends over each other to about 14 inches (see photo), but in hindsight, I think I could have gone a little shorter - maybe 12 inches. Depends on your preference.
  • Then use clips or clamps to keep the rug in place, while sewing by hand. It really helps to keep that straight line if you use clips.

Step 2: Hand stitch the length of the rug to create the pillow pocket.

  • For sewing, use an overhand stitch running the length of the pillow, where the pieces fold over.

Step 3: Stuff the pillow.

  • Next, stuff the inside of the lumbar pillowcase with pillow inserts (or one big long one instead). I used 2 separate pillow inserts because I already had them.
  • Two of these 20x30 lumbar pillows from Pottery Barn were the most affordable ones I could find before hitting publish on this post - at $20 each. And this is the 20x54 insert from Bed Bath and Beyond if you're okay with something slightly smaller.
  • *If you do go with the smaller insert, I'd recommend sewing the sides in closer to the insert length (you can tuck the rug sides in and then sew OR cut the sides down and then sew).

Step 4: Sew up the sides with a basic stitch.

  • Lastly, use a basic stitch to stitch up the sides after the insert or inserts are in. Then it's ready to use!
  • *We left the tassels exposed for an extra detail, but if you don't like the look, you can fold them in before sewing up the ends. I wouldn't recommend cutting them off though because it may unravel the weave of the rug.
Did you make this?Mention @paperandstitch or tag #paperandstitch!

Sewing by Casey Harper

Did you guess that this lumbar pillow was made from a rug before clicking through for the answer? Let me know in the comments below!

7 comments | Click here to reply

[…] heavy-duty textile perfect for projects that need some sturdiness or weight to them. Hello extra long lumbar pillow, I’m looking at […]

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Yes. I could see that it was made from a rug. But I like the idea!

Susanne mamimade

Useful Content. Thanks a lot for the info!

Floranet

Thanks Susan! This would be the perfect body pillow, with a soft fabric or softer material rug. Good thinking.
-Brittni

Brittni

Love this idea!! Body pillow here I come!!

Susan August

Hi Share! Love the idea of velcro-ing the ends to make it easy to clean.
-Brittni

Brittni

lov the idea of using a woven rug for a lumbar pillow. If you have pets which I do, I need the ability to clean items easily, so instead of sewing the ends I used heavy adhesive Velcro to close after I used a couple of bed pillows I had on hand to stuff at both end before pressing the velcro to close.

Share Smithwick
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