before & after: sarah’s rug + tatiana’s sofa

This first project of the day is such great inspiration, not only for people who may be slightly frustrated with the lack of sophisticated kid’s stuff out there but also for anyone looking to create an inexpensive chic floor covering. It should be no surprise that this comes from the same creative genius behind the floral sisal rug makeover we published previously, Sarah Baltare.

Sarah used a couple coats of primer and simple acrylic paints to completely transform the smooth side of these foam mats into a bountiful graphic garden. I love the fun colors and the beautifully bright florals, which seem so much more enjoyable for kids than the standard primary color blocking. You can read more about how Sarah completed this look here on her site. Thanks for sharing, Sarah! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

I’ve never been daring enough to own a sofa like this, but this project from Tatiana proves that sometimes the more daring the better. Bold sofa lines and bold patterns are a match made in heaven in this case. While I’m usually a bit hesitant to paint natural wood, I think the dark frame with the dark print is working quite well, and the fun pillows are perfection. I’m greatly inspired by designers who choose to make statements, and I will definitely use this sofa as motivation to take my own design risks. Great job, Tatiana!

  1. Laura says:

    I LOVE the idea for painting that foam floor mat, those are comfy, but kind of ugly (maybe too strong or word I apologize). What a great way to customize. That couch is also amazing.

  2. I LOVE Tatiana’s couch fabric! Roll me up in it and send me down the river.

  3. Katherine says:

    Ooh, I love that sofa. It always a hard call about painting wood, but the paint definitely helps update the piece.

  4. Rachel says:

    LOVE the rug!! What a great idea!

  5. Barbara says:

    The floor mat is good but most of all I love the sofa – that is inspired.

  6. cjm says:

    I totally agree with Laura. Those foam floor mats ARE ugly. Love the after! And the throw pillows on the couch couldn’t be more fun!

  7. Sing says:

    That sofa is great!

  8. Katie says:

    While I’m not a fan of pink, I don’t think the “before” sofa was bad enough that I’d have changed it! It is a hard call about painting wood and I usually don’t, but the black does look spectacular.

  9. Lori says:

    I have the foam rug stuck in the top of my son’s closet right now… I’m on my way home to get started:) That was fantastic!

  10. Tanya says:

    I totally had to take a double take with that rug. I didn’t even believe it was the same. Wow – super impressive.

  11. I wish we had room for something like this! I always see these great old sofas on the side of the road but we only have room for one small one in our house and we already have one that we bought.

  12. breeree says:

    Would like to know how the paint holds up over time with kids playing around on it! I hope it would. I like the old pink sofa too but the re-do is a nice one.

  13. Kim says:

    I ADORE Tatiana’s couch! Amazing job–and I love that fabric. Can anyone source it?

  14. Shanley says:

    anyone know what that fabric is on the sofa? i’ve got a chair that is screaming for it..

  15. Taylor says:

    both very impressive!!

    @Tanya, me too!! I was like, “where is it???” hahahah

  16. Brittany says:

    Love Sarah! I’ve been following her blog ever since you featured her first rug and I absolutely adore this rug that she painted!!!

  17. kelly says:

    Okay this foam floor tiles makeover is great, especially since I have an 8 month old and am in the market for some of those. Thanks for posting the link to her site, because my big question was how to prevent smudges and smears in case of spills or drool or wet hands! I will just have to look into whether or not polyurethane is safe, and if I feel okay with it, I will be so excited to try this!

  18. d*s fan says:

    Both of these before and afters are amazing!

    No one should be ashamed to say the rug before was completely hideous! I hate how so much kids stuff comes in a mish mash of colors that don’t look purposefully put together.

    I too tend to prefer wood in a more natural state but I can’t imagine recovering the couch with that fabric without painting it! What a great update!

  19. Tandy says:

    The foam rug is beautiful, but I do wonder how well the paint and poly hold up. Seems like the flexible surface of the mat would cause the paint to crack. Couldn’t see where this issue was addressed on the blog. Anyone have experience with this? I might like to try it out for my kitchen.

  20. Noelle says:

    The fabric on the couch is from Ikea. I recovered a chair in it a couple of years ago. I also used it to make a blind. I just LOVE it.

    Great projects!

  21. brooklyn says:

    Anyone know where I can find the pug pillow? Too cute!! And great sofa transformation!

  22. Kris says:

    Love the couch! And I’m curious about the pug pillow too!

  23. H says:

    I’m pretty sure the fabric is from Ikea. I can’t find it on the website anymore, but I remember seeing it in stores and online consistently over the past two years. Perhaps it is still in stores?

  24. kellie says:

    What a wonderful transformation for the rug. I love the idea!

  25. Sarah says:

    DS readers,

    Thanks for the lovely comments regarding my rug – so kind. To address your questions regarding durability, the rug has been in place for about a month and was in my apartment for about 3 weeks before that. There are no chips or cracks in the rug and it cleans up well. There is likely to be some hairline cracks with time, however due to the priming, I know the paint won’t chip, there is a good bond on it. The mat is easy to clean with soap and water and for any moms concerned, I used a water based non-toxic and low emission poly to seal the paint. There are likely other options from your paint store.


  26. Maria says:

    I love EVERYTHING in this post.

  27. Tatiana says:

    Thank you so much everyone for your sweet comments about my sofa! It was a labor of love.
    As far as the fabric, I got it from Ikea. Not sure if they still carry it but they are always restocking fantastic new prints. And it’s very affordable.
    I purchased the “pug pillow” from Pillow Pillow Pillow ( It’s a brilliant site and they have a lot of unique products.
    If you have any other questions that I didn’t address feel free to email me at blog.tatiana.mikhailovna[at]gmail[dot]com
    And don’t forget to visit my blog: !
    Thank you again and thank you Design Sponge!

  28. dana says:

    That foam ‘rug’ is brilliant!!

  29. sarah says:

    great thing about painting wood is it can always be UNdone :)

  30. Marianne says:

    I think the idea for the rug is good, and the look an improvement.
    But I have to say I’m pretty sceptical about the environmental part of it.
    First of some of these foam rugs are basically not kidfriendly in their chemical make up, ( ) and then you add primer and acrylic paint.

  31. I absolutely LOVE the childrens’ puzzle rug idea! I have been struggling to find a good solution for a carpet in my studio (one that is unobtrusive and is easy to clean up) and I think a variation on this might work. Thanks for sharing it :)

  32. I thought you had posted the wrong after picture of the rug! All I can say is WOW. That is one talented lady.

  33. Eva says:

    I saw that fabric (for the couch) at IKEA and almost bought it!

  34. Megan Biram says:

    WOW! That foam mat transformation is amazing! At a glance you don’t even notice that it isn’t a rug. Great idea.

  35. Wow – I love that couch – it’s gorgeous. What a great idea – to paint on the back of the foam rug. Last year I tie dyed some slip covers to give our family room a little pizazz maybe I’ll try the rug idea as a cheap alternative. I looked quick and thought it was a rug from company c – my fave!

  36. Katie says:

    That “rug” is brilliant! I am totally inspired!

  37. The sofa has such great lines. Works so well with the dog.

  38. The rug is such a great idea- just think this could be a genuine best seller- kid’s stuff can be so boring !!
    I would LOVE to have that sofa , corblimey!! Hahaha.

  39. lisen says:

    I love that sofa makeover. Well done indeed!

  40. Lisa says:

    I guess I’ll be the only one – I think the before sofa was much better. The before looks like a more high end piece to me.

  41. Nicole* says:

    yay! it’s tatiana’s sofa! great job girl :D

  42. stylefyles says:

    these are both AWESOME makeovers…things I would love to have in my own home. Very inspirational, especially the transformed kids’ rug!

  43. Anne Good says:

    I’m DYING over the last sofa and the pug in the picture too!

  44. Esmeralda CJ says:

    Oh my gosh! I love both projects but that couch really turned out sooo wonderful! I also have a pug to go with that couch! :D

  45. Renee says:

    I thought the pink sofa was hideous. What a glorious transformation, melding classical and modern. Where can I get those fish pillows?

  46. That sofa rocks! Totally anthropologie-esque ;-) Wishin’ my hubby liked those kind of sofas (I’d definitely have one)….no such luck.

  47. deb says:

    Love your site. I was blown away by the transformation of those kid foam tiles!! Crazy good.

  48. Retromodgirl says:

    Tatiana’s blog link comes up with an error message. I think she deleted her blog.


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