Our den is a hodge-podge of other rooms' leftovers. Ideally it would have wide plank wood floors, a sleek sofa, John Robshaw pillows, and a Madeline Weinrib rug. Its reality is a craigslist couch, an assortment of handmade and sales rack pillows, and stained wall to wall carpet. My DIY area rug is my attempt to bring it all together — for free!
We had absolutely no budget for this room which meant I knew I would have to be creative when it came to furnishing it. Next week I'll reveal the full Before & After of the room, but the final step — and the one that has made the biggest difference — is this DIY area rug.
I can't tell you how long I've pined over magazine cutouts of Madeline Weinrib's perfectly casual and chic rugs…
and pictures of beautiful antique block printed textiles only to realize that I didn't even want to spend the money on Urban Outfitter's way-too-small 3x5 rug (which is no longer available).
However all the daydreaming lead to a revelation one night as I was walking in my front door and happened to look down. There, beneath my feet was my answer: $10 rubber filigree welcome mat! It was 11pm. My husband may have rolled his eyes and headed off to bed, but by morning I had a new rug.
The How To:
1. Lay a plain rug on a flat surface (mine was an old stained IKEA wool rug that had been in my mom's basement for 10 years before making its way into our home a year ago)
2. If using an old rubber mat, scrub off any dirt. If you don't have one almost any home store or hardware store will, some starting below $5. Added bonus: you can still use it for its original purpose when you're done!
3. Pour paint into a paint tray and insert roller, rolling off any access paint so that only the bare minimum of paint is on the roller. It should not be dripping. (I used regular leftover wall paint mixed with about ¼ cup of water because I wanted a less concentrated pattern in order to make the design look slightly faded)
4. Roll the paint lightly and evenly onto the mat (I used the backside or "flat" side of the mat) making sure not to press too hard to avoid dripping or pooling.
5. Place the mat paint side down onto one corner of your area rug and press the mat into the rug. (Since I wanted to create a faded, antiqued look I decided to press the mat down harder in some areas than others so that some areas would receive more concentrated paint. Pressing the mat evenly would give a stronger, more consistent pattern if that's what you'd like.)
6. Repeat until the whole surface of the rug has been covered.
7. Wash excess paint off the welcome mat, and place back on the front steps.
In short, use the mat as a giant stamp!
If I were to do it over again:
• I would enlist the help of another person. The rubber mat is not extremely light, and I'm not extremely strong, so it was difficult to lay the unwieldy rubber mat down perfectly the first time. Another set of hands would have solved the problem.
• I would stretch the area rug taut and weight the edges to make sure there were no bunches. Ours was an old rug, and was not a perfect rectangle.
• I would be sure to be more careful about lining up the edges of the mat perfectly with the area that I had just stamped. Some areas look a little wonky.
Other that that, I'm thrilled! It lends the whole room a more cohesive feel.
Images: 1-10: Leah Moss, 11: Madeline Weinrib, 12: Urban Outfitters via decorpad