A patterned flat weave rug used to occupy most of the floorspace in my tiny kitchen, but I wasn't happy with how it was faring nor how it felt. Wanting something a little more padded but not liking the look and price of most of what I found, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I bought this foam kitchen mat for about $10 at Target and debated a few different patterns. Using a photo of a real suzani
as a rough guide, I ended up spending several hours over a few days painting this pattern freehand. (I used acrylic paint, and the top of the mat had a weird, fabric-like texture that helped it adhere.) Once I was satisfied with the design, I sprayed the mat with a few clear coats of Rustoleum ($5) to protect it from foot traffic. So far it's holding up just fine.
A chef's gel-filled kitchen mat it is not, but it's more comfortable than its predecessor and cost only $15. I also appreciate the fact that this mat doesn't collect pet hair the way the rug did (guilty party shown in the "before" photo), and it's easier to keep the floor clean now.