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DIY Painted Rug

By House*Tweaking on Oct 17, 2012

Curious about the fate of the IKEA rug that I pulled from the boys’ room?



I gave him a makeover and a new place to live. This must be what it feels like to be Oprah. New cars for everyone! Oh, wait. Sorry. I’m getting carried away. But if I had cars to give away, I’d give them to you guys. Thanks for having my back over on Apartment Therapy. It seems I’ve hit a nerve there. Ah well. The negativity gets me down for about 5 minutes then it makes me want to win even more. Keep spreading the word about Mabrey’s room!

Now back to more bada-booming…

…and bada-binging…

I’ve been itching to layer a patterned rug over the 9′x12′ sisal in the family room. While the sisal is really durable and holding up well to our young family, it isn’t the coziest thing to rub your bare feet on.

So when the flatweave rug got booted from the boys’ bedroom, I brainstormed a way to make it work in the family room. As-is it was pretty plain Jane. Just an ivory cotton. It would have gotten lost on the sisal without some tweaking. I decided some bold stripes were in order.

I vacuumed the rug then laid it out on top of a plastic drop cloth in the mudroom, smoothing things out as best as possible. I cracked the door and window for ventilation.

After browsing striped rug images online, I chose to go with 4″ stripes running width-wise and taped them off. Luckily, the rug inherently has woven lines running width-wise so it was easy to measure every 4″ and then run my painter’s tape all the way across. I made sure to press the edges of the tape down firmly so paint wouldn’t seep underneath. I also curved the tape around to the back of the rug at the edges to hold it in place better.

The hardest part – which wasn’t even that difficult – was placing the tape so that the stripes to be painted were fully revealed while the stripes to be left untouched were taped appropriately. Basically, stripes getting painted got taped off outside of the stripe and the unpainted stripes got taped off inside of their 4″. Make sense? Then I marked each stripe to be painted with an “X” so once I got to painting I wouldn’t get confused and flub up the entire design.

I had HH get some low VOC paint mixed up at Home Depot since he was going there anyways for another project he was working on. {The suspense!} As far as the color, black would have worked but HH and I decided that it would be fun to step outside our neutral comfort zone and go with a bold blue. It’s Benjamin Moore’s down pour blue and we had it color matched in flat Behr Premium Plus. I guessed that I would need more than one quart but less than two quarts so I had HH get two quarts for good measure. It ended up being a pretty good estimate. I painted twelve 4″ stripes about 6′ long and used ~1 and 1/3 quarts of paint for <$25.

I used a small foam roller to apply the paint to the rug.

I quickly learned that it was best to roll the paint on perpendicular to the stripes to fill in the tiny crevices of the woven rug. Then I would go back parallel to the stripes for added coverage.

I painted in my pajamas and HH thought it was necessary to take a picture of me in action. I didn’t soak the rug. I just applied enough paint to cover the stripes. Still, it was a good thing I had the drop cloth underneath because paint did seep through in a few spots.

When painting was complete, I stepped back and knew right away I was going to love the results.

I carefully removed the tape while the paint was wet. Then I told everyone to stay out of the mudroom. Easier said than done. In 24 hours, it was dry and ready for layering.

I slipped one end slightly under the couch and the other end under the upholstered chairs to anchor the seating area within the sisal rug.

The tacky texture of the sisal does a good job of holding the striped rug in place. No rug pad is needed.

I know someone will ask so… the painted stripes aren’t stiff. If you run your hand over them you can feel a slight difference between the painted and unpainted stripes. It’s less noticeable under foot. Low VOC and no VOC paints have a higher content of acrylic which makes them more flexible when dry. At least, that’s what a paint guy told me once.

Our family loves the ‘new’ rug. The bold blue stripes feel modern, masculine and preppy. It feels very Nate Berkus-meets-Dash & Albert to me. But less expensive. If I were looking to buy an already striped flatweave in this size, I’d be looking at $200+. This one cost me ~$85. Most of the big pieces in our family room are neutral so this non-black/gray/brown item is fun. It makes me want to add more pops of color.

Just what I always wanted. My own little striped rug. I will name him Rugby and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him and pat him and pet him and rub him and caress him and have him for my very own.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking


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