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  • Writer's pictureMary & Kim at Hey Nancy!

DIY Painted Rug

Kim here! I wanted to share about that one time I painted a rug....

Yup, you read that right. I painted a rug. Did you even know that was a thing? It totally is. Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it (more on that later) but I wanted to share the transformation, what I learned, and a quick tutorial for those curious.

For this to work, you’ll need a flat woven rug. I found this one for free in an alleyway as advertised on Craigslist. As I type that I realize how sketch that sounds…… but aannyywaaays. I was trying to get away with spending as little money as possible. At the time I was newly married and we had very little extra money, so a DIY project seemed like the perfect solution.

After cleaning the rug well, I made a stencil of the pattern I wanted out of cardstock and traced it on the rug, starting at the midpoint (marked with an x). Next I started painting the outlines in white. I should also mention that precision is not my strong suit. I’m more of a let’s-wing-it-and-see-how-it-turns-out kind of gal, which is why you’ll see that my spacing is off in some places.

After I finished the outline of the pattern, I went to work painting in the spaces. As you will see, I went with purple for the main color, which was cool at the time, but I don't think I would choose it if I were to do this again (which, as I alluded to before, I wouldn’t). You live and you learn, right? I had a few other decorative accessories that were purple so I thought I would highlight that color.

Because the material soaks in the moisture of the paint, I had to paint multiple layers in order to get the pigment that I wanted. I believe I did three coats.

Then all I had to do was wait for it to dry! Boom. Done.

Not bad, huh? I actually think it’s pretty cute.

This was our very first apartment as newlyweds almost seven years ago now. I loved the huge bay window with the beautiful view of the lake. I loved how bright the space was. I loved the pretty hardwood floors. I loved the lilac bush on the street corner that would waft it’s sweet smell up through our windows in the summer. Most of all, I loved that it was ours.

We had mismatched furniture gathered for free from various sources including the dumpster, and I was still trying to figure out my style and blend that with my new husband’s. We were also working on how to accomplish form and function (notice the shoes lined up underneath the futon...we’ve come so far, really), but we were making it ours. A silly little project like painting a rug was a way for me to do that. It’s like Mary and I like to say - “Something is better than nothing, imperfect is better than never started, and a little gumption & creativity can go a long way!"

That was kind of a bunny trail, but we want to encourage you that you can love where you live too, you can make a house your home, even by just making one little change at a time. Now back to that rug -

When my husband and I moved to a different apartment I actually ended up painting the rug again to go better with the vibe we had going on there. The second time around I used an easier pattern of straight lines that I made with painters tape. That was much quicker than repeatedly tracing a little stencil like I did the first time that I did this project.

Despite the fact that I did this project not once but TWICE, I wouldn’t recommend it. While I liked the look of it, it wasn’t soft or cozy; instead it was kind of plastic-y. This made for easy clean up because you could just wipe the dirt or spills away (which actually came in quite handy when we brought home our puppy). But while this did achieve a look that I liked in our home, a big reason to have a rug is to bring warmth and softness to a space, which this project definitely did not accomplish.

I also mentioned that I was trying to find a solution for my tiny budget. Rugs can be so expensive, amiright or amiright? When you factor in the cost of paint and materials however, not to mention all the time it took me to do this project, I probably spent just as much if not more than the cost of a reasonably priced rug.

This can be true of other diy projects as well. Not to knock diy projects - we love ‘em and have certainly done our fair share, but there is wisdom in counting the cost. You may find an old chair at a thrift store and see the potential of fresh paint and a reupholstered cushion, but again, you may be able to find a new chair that you like just as it is without having to do all the work of customizing it.

If you are looking for a rug for your home, we love! Not an ad, we genuinely love them - they have great options for any style and you can often get coupons and deals so you don’t have to break the bank!

What do you think of my painted rug? Would you ever consider painting a rug? What projects are you tackling around the home during quarantine? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading!


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