before & after: painted rug + pet-supply cabinet

The more painted rugs I see, the more convinced I am of the concept’s brilliance. I’m not saying that we should be dumping paint on our hand-knotted wool rugs instead of cleaning them, but it’s great to see the ugly-yet-durable flooring of the world receive a new lease on life. During her home renovations, Jennifer was able to create a modern, graphic rug that suits her needs, fits her style and cost her next to nothing. Clever transformation, Jennifer! — Kate

Time: 3 hours (not including drying time)

Cost: Free (everything was on hand)

Basic Steps:

1. Prep and prime. Vacuum the rug thoroughly and prepare your work area. Roll on the first coat of primer. Don’t forget to paint the edges of your rug! Let dry overnight.

Did the rug soak up all of the primer? Is it dry? If so, add another coat.

2. Paint your base color. You should have a fairly even coat of primer on your rug, so now you can roll on your base color. The rug will look splotchy and seem like it’s sucking up all of your paint. Don’t worry! After a coat or two of the base color, it will even out and start drying faster. Let dry thoroughly between coats. I think it’s best to let each coat dry overnight. Two to three coats are needed to get a nice, even base.

3. Add the design. Using painters’ tape, mask off your design or use a stencil. Or get really wild and paint something freehand! I wanted something simple and graphic, and since this was the entryway to the family room, I thought an arrow pointing the way would be perfect. If you work with painters’ tape, use the handle of your paintbrush to really push the tape down on the bumpy surface. Know that if you want straight lines, you will still have some touching up to do. Apply your paint in an up-and-down pouncing stroke with the sponge brush to push the paint into the grooves and keep your paint from spreading under the tape. The acrylic craft paint should dry within an hour. Go back over it and touch up any lighter areas, and then very carefully remove your tape.

4. Finish it off. Use your small, flat angled brush to touch up your lines. This is kind of tedious, but I found it relaxing in a way, as it requires a steady hand and total concentration. Very Zen. Once your design is dry, finish it off with a coat of polyurethane. You’ll notice how easily this goes on because of all the paint on your rug!

That’s it. You’re done! The rug is incredibly durable and quite a conversation piece. Your friends will exclaim, “You painted a rug???” Yep. Sure did. — Jennifer

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.)

CLICK HERE for to see Solana’s finished pet-supply cabinet after the jump!

I love seeing pet-oriented projects, particularly because, for some reason, most pet supplies have not yet figured out how to be attractive to humans. Solana’s dog-supply cabinet is not only a great reuse of an old cabinet destined for the garbage, but it’s also an attractive and unobtrusive solution for pet-supply storage. The built-in chalkboard to keep track of vet appointments and vaccinations is a brilliant addition. Great work, Solana!

Time: 3 days (working in stages)

Cost: $17 (cabinet was free, plus supplies)

Basic Steps: I was about to drive this cabinet to Goodwill when I decided I would experiment with it one last time. Right after deciding to keep it, the first thing that popped into my head was, “I’m going to make Miguel (my dog) a closet!” I’ve been obsessed with big, bold stripes lately, both in fashion and interiors, so I thought I would give it a try.

I’ve tried painting stripes before, but they always seemed to bleed under the tape, so I knew that using these bold, contrasting colors was going to take some time and patience. I’m not sure if the quality of tape helped, but it worked out great! I used to buy painters’ tape from discount stores (2 for $1.00), but I soon realized why they were so inexpensive, and that’s where some of the problems arose in past projects (tape that doesn’t stick or tape that leaves residue).

I used to rush some of my DIY projects to fit them into my busy schedule, and that’s when mistakes are made. My advice is to take your time, let the paint dry, buy the right products and make sure you enjoy the process. I took my time on this project, and I’m so happy with the results. Not only is it great to look at, but it has also really helped to have everything in one place. — Solana

  1. january says:

    such a cute little pet closet! amazing idea!

    january, x

  2. alice says:

    i’ve been painting my kitchen rug all weekend – slowly, painstakingly.

  3. Personally, I like the shelving before…I could see myself storing fabric a plenty there…..

  4. Kelly says:

    I love both of these, and might have to add them to my To Do list after all the wedding madness settles down.

    I’ve got 2 small rugs that I’m not fond of (have them so my scaredy-cat dog will go up the stairs), might have to try this so I will be okay with them a little more. And I love the pet cabinet! I’m going to have to search CraigsList for something like this because I have the perfect spot for it near our back door.

  5. that rug before and after is the bomb! i’m so impressed.

  6. Definitely never considered painting a rug…
    – agata.

  7. love the painted rug..guess one would need a very tightly woven rug with zero pile to get it right..thanks for sharing..xx meenal

  8. Lauren says:

    Best painted rug I’ve seen yet!
    And that cabinet turned pet corner? Genius.

  9. yvonne says:

    great projects…the rug looks fantastic!

  10. Amy says:

    Beautiful job on the pet supply cabinet, I absolutely love it! Now I have another thing to keep a look out for when I go thrifting!

  11. kendra says:

    It looks great! I still don’t understand the painting of the rug though (although it looks fantastic). Does it end up being sticky and no longer soft?

  12. janice says:

    Love both of these and as it seems I will be settling on a house on May 1st – many of these project will be looming on the horizon for me!! Thanks so much for sharing all of these great projects. :)

  13. Dylan says:

    Looks great! The color theme matches great with our two Pugs Buddy and Bella! :)

  14. Trina says:

    I love the look of the rug and am considering a similar project! One question though, once all is said and done, and the you’ve got a lovely design applied, how does the rug feel, and in a heavy traffic area, does the paint begin to peel and/or crack with wear?

  15. I could totally use a cabinet to hide all our kitty supplies – nothing is uglier than a big box of kitty litter!!

  16. Julie says:

    Great rug—definitely sounds like more than 3 hrs., drying included.

  17. Maureen says:

    I love the rug, and willing to try one, HOWEVER….What is the rug made out of? Does it need to be all natural fibers, can you paint a blend w/ synthetic?

  18. Katherine says:

    That rug owns! What a great idea!

  19. Summer says:

    I just painted a rug for my house and it turned out great! Mine was a sisal rug, and took the paint really well. Even after all the coats of paint it doesn’t feel weird underfoot or anything. I actually think it feels better than the sisal alone. I’m planning on painting this Ikea rug (, if anyone wants to have a go at painting a rug. :)

  20. Marisa says:

    PET CLOSET! love it! there are lots of ugly pet accessories and my dog loves to tear up her toys, so it would be great to have a place to hide all of them beautifully! thanks for the idea…

  21. emjay says:

    what kind of paint does one use to paint a rug?

  22. Vanessa says:

    pets need their own organization, too! such a cute + clever DIY.

  23. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for the great feedback on the painted rug! Here are the answers to your questions:

    Trina- the rug feels more like a mat now, flat and hard but because of all the paint, it has a smooth surface. It’s incredibly durable.

    Maureen- this rug was definitely synthetic or some kind of blend. It’s probably a better choice because the fibers are smoother. The main thing is it should be a closed-loop rug.

    Emjay- I used an oil based primer, yellow latex paint, and red acrylic paint. I finished it with a coat of poly for extra protection.

  24. Trude says:

    Wow both these projects turned out beautifully! But I think my dog would looove having his own closet like that. ;)

  25. Rochelle says:

    the rug idea is cool… what kind of paint is best for painting rugs? and could this be done to a cloth rug?

  26. Nowvintage says:

    I love the rug!!
    the shelving is sad, I love the look of industrial, and the shelves would have made an awesome way to store multiple drawings and prints..But this is made to work for another persons needs.. to each their own

  27. I guess my question is does the paint on the rug chip or crack?

  28. Oh that cabinet is EXACTLY what I need for my bathroom! Thanks so much for the great idea, it looks fabulous!

  29. Solana says:

    Thank you everyone for the compliments on my pet cabinet! It was a lot of fun coming up with this idea.

    Jennifer, your rug is fantastic! I can’t wait to give that project a try.


  30. Janny says:

    The pet closet is adorable! I have 3 big yellow labs and I could use a little organization in my life with all their toys, leashes, chewies, etc. I’ll have to find myself an armoire to refinish. Thanks for the fantastic idea Solana!

  31. Love the bold stripes on that cabinet! And the rug is definitely swoon-worthy

  32. Misty says:

    Has anyone painted a rug to give it multiple colors and texture? I want to paint a rug in a huge area that has coffee stains on it, however, I don’t want it a solid color–something like sponge painting a wall. I don’t know what paint to use, if it has to be mixed or if has ever been tried.


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.