Before and After: A Bold $70 IKEA Hack Is Just What This Entryway Needed

published Jan 3, 2020
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The best projects always seem to work out when our budgets force us to be creative—that’s when savvy shoppers and DIYers start to look outside the regular sources to find clever new ways to transform their homes. (Hello, IKEA hacks.) That certainly rang true for Melissa Rodgers when she decided to give the entryway stairs in her 1978 quad-level a refresh.

Melissa and her husband have been in the renovation process since moving in in 2015, and had previously removed a closet that was at the bottom of the stairs, replacing it with built-in cubbies and new tile flooring. This opened up the space and allowed Melissa the opportunity to make the staircase more of an architectural feature. She ripped out the rug, then painted the treads and risers white, the banister black, and the spindles gold. For the wall, she created an accent piece with black paint and gold washi tape applied in a geometric pattern. But would you believe this isn’t the after? In fact, this is the middle.

Washi tape can only look good on a wall in a high-traffic area for so long, and this gold washi tape was about to expire. Melissa started to think about options. One day she found herself in the As-Is room at IKEA, staring down the 2019 Art Event Craig Green Birds Rug marked at a steep discount.“It had all the colors I use in our home so I couldn’t pass up the $50.00 price tag,” Melissa says. “I was not sure what I was going to do with it until a few days after I got it home. In fact, I left it in the trunk for several of those days.”

That’s when Melissa thought of something clever: What if the rug didn’t belong on the floor at all? What if it belonged on the wall of her entry?

“Once the crazy idea creeped in my head I hung it up loosely with some nails to see if I was going to like this bold idea,” Melissa says. “It filled in the space perfectly, the colors were exactly what I am into.”

Melissa’s husband built her a $20 wood frame that he stretched and nailed the rug to. Once the artwork was done, Melissa repainted the accent wall white (to better show it off), then gave the stairs’ treads and risers a slick coat of black for contrast (Benjamin Moore’s Black Panther).

When asked what she loves about the “after,” Melissa says: “I love how much brighter it is in that spot. I love how it gives the illusion of being more spacious even though it is not. I love the scale and the texture of the artwork/rug. I love that you can catch glimpses of it from anywhere on the main floor. It was exactly what our space needed to pull everything together.”

And as for advice on stretching a rug to hang as artwork, she says to “Measure, measure, measure.” A second person to help stretch and hammer the nails is very helpful, too.

The 2019 Art Event Craig Green Birds Rug is sold out at IKEA but is available on eBay from various sellers for around $300. However, this clever hack works for any rug that’s pretty enough to be art—and is an affordable way to create large-scale pieces with max impact.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.