before & after: painted geometric rug

It’s awesome to see the DIY painted-rug trend blowing up these days, especially because rugs can be one of the hardest things to shop for — there are so many ugly rugs out there, and the best-looking ones always seem too expensive. This isn’t the first project Holly has shared with us — we featured the cool hand-painted wall design in her bedroom and the brass pendant light in her hall. Now she’s turned her attention to the dining room and added a cool mod pattern to an inexpensive IKEA rug. According to her friends and family, the rug remains super soft and pliable, and it cost Holly a mere fraction of what rugs with this design go for. Great work, Holly! — 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.)

Read more about Holly’s geometric painted rug after the jump!

Time: 2.5 hours

Cost: $60 (for rug and supplies)

Basic Steps: I sketched the design out on a piece of paper, taped a border on the rug in order to achieve more of a straight right angle than the rug was giving (it was a smidge uneven as most rugs are at the edge). I then measured the space I had to work with and created equal dimensions for the design from there.  I then taped out all of the long lines so this way everything would stay as symmetrical as possible. Then I cut the tape I did not want in the design out with an exacto (as it was only there to guide me) and then I mixed the latex paint with fabric medium at as close to a 1:1 ratio as I could. I am glad I used the fabric medium because the rug feels great and there is no flaking and it is not crusty and hard. I rolled the paint onto the rug and covered ever bit of the white that I could. I waited overnight for it to dry just to be safe and then I pulled off the green tape. My advice is to not skimp out on the type of tape that you use as well as the fabric medium because it really makes all the difference.Holly

Cat K.

This is so cute! When I first pulled up the page, I was like, “I can’t see the before picture.” and then I realized that it was just a blank rug. Kinda made the point all by itself. I would love to try this!


I have a rug that would be perfect for this project. What kind of paint was used?


How do you think this would hold up in a high traffic area of a home, such as the entrance? I love the idea and saving potential as well!


I want this in fabric form to make a curtain for my bathroom… I guess since I can’t find any fabric I like I may just paint my own!!!


Look amazing, like you said, there so many ugly rugs out there, and the good one’s are expensive so is good to see a DIY like this.


This looks great! I’ve been eying that same Ikea rug to paint, so I’m glad to have some instructions for it (all the details are on her blog!).


This is such a cool rug! I might need to look into this fabric paint idea… My sister has been raving about it too.


Looks amazing! Now, here’s a question–how do you think that would hold up on a porch rug which had some exposure to the elements?

Megan K.

I’ve always wanted to give myself a chance to do this! I love how Design Sponge always gives me a preemptive little nudge into creating these DIY projects! Seems like a perfect Autumn project :)


Sorry to add to the questions…where does one buy fabric medium? Craft store? Such a great post!


Great execution! But, yeah, where do you get fabric medium? Never heard of it… Thinking this would be good for reed blinds on our windows.


This is awesome….and far more inspiring than the $400k makeover…..THIS I CAN DO!


Re: Fabric Medium
It can be found at most art supply stores (not entirely sure about “craft” stores). Its usually either by the other paint-mediums (like gel medium) or with the silk-screening supplies.
PS: it is well worth tracking down!

holly- the almost 40 year old intern

Thanks so muchI for all the great comments! As for your questions, most regarding supplies and processI can be answered on my blog … the fabric medium I bought at Blick art supply and I link to the exact one used. I mixed it with flat latex paint. I credit that with making my project a success.. the rug is still really pliable and not hard and flakey. It actually is perfect for my dining room because the coating of the paint makes it easy to clean! As for the outdoor question, the rug is cotton so I am not sure that would work.


Do you think this would work on a thicker rug (i.e. wool tufted)? Most painted rugs I’ve seen are on a flat weave rug of some sort and unfortunately I need a heavier rug for my space!


Is this a specific type of painter’s tape or is it just green colored tape? Anyone out there know?


I use acrylic paint and fabric medium for fabric stencils (I’ve also used it paint on IKEA fabric for table runners). I found fabric medium mixed in with the acrylic paints at Michaels but not Joann’s. If I remember correctly it was around $3.50 for the same size of your typical acrylic paint bottle. Searching textile medium in amazon comes up some solid options.


wonderful! I have done a floor cloth but it just lacked dimension..a rug is so much nicer. This looks amazing!


after waiting for about an eternity because the ‘beore’ rug didn’t show up…. I was thrilled and charmed by the result. What a brilliant idea!
Well done Holly :)


I’m assuming it’s FrogTape. I’ve seen it at Sherwin-Williams. It’s a little pricey, but worth it – I used it when painting my living room.

tasha roe

this is gorgeous!! very inspiring!
I have found fabric medium by Plaid at Michael’s Crafts. It’s aprox $3 per bottle.

Where did you purchase the rug? I’m having a hard time finding one that big to paint. thx!


Love. Congrats! I wish this post would have come a few weeks sooner! I was experimenting with a rug swatch (24×24) for ages, trying to get a painted white look–with watered-down paint, just paint, pickling stain… All of them turned out hard. The answer–fabric medium! Do you think it would work as well on a jute rug?

Rita B.

I have never painted fabric but have used Frog Tape for other painting projects. Do NOT use the blue painters tape. Splurge for the green Frog Tape. You will be glad you did. Also, I have an artist friend who told me to store my various painting tapes inside the house and not in the garage, as the heat in the garage corrodes the glue on the tape.

holly - the almost 40 year old intern

Hi! I did not use frog tape but I used the scotch green heavy duty masking tape i bought at home depot. I thought it stuck to my rug way better than frog tape. The brand of fabric medium I used was Liquidex. As for the question of a thicker rug and if I think it will work… well, I really think you will get the best result if it is a flat woven rug. And I don’t see why it wouldn’t work on a jute rug…

Bridget from Refined Vintage

I think this is fabulous, I take my hat off to you Holly, I don’t think I have the patience for all the precise taping, but you have inspired me, I would have to do something more “freestyle” for sure. Thanks for sharing this with us!


Excellent result! Very Jonathan Adler :) Do you think the paint would run if you had to wash the rug?


“…specially because rugs can be one of the hardest things to shop for — there are so many ugly rugs out there, and the best-looking ones always seem too expensive.” Story of my current budget-decorating LIFE.


I did it! We chose to do a brick like pattern in a blue-gray with a couple accent bricks in loud colors. It looks great in our dinning room. Thanks!


yikes… ikea doesn’t show this rug online anymore… does anyone know if it is still in the store?


Great article, I have never seen this done before, I am very interest in the paint you used, I would of thought paint on a rug would flake and crack. Good Reading.

Chris Horne

Just saw your beautiful rugs, I can’t wait to try something like this.


argh! the starburst rug is so amazing! I absolutely love traditional Japanese patterns, and the asanoha is one of my favorites. Gotta make this rug. So grateful for this post!

Girl Scout mom

Thank you, thank you for blogging this! I wasn’t sure if textile medium mixed well with latex paint. The instructions on bottle of medium says to mix w/ acrylic craft paint. But I’m glad to see that it works well.


Pam,it looks as though it was FROG painting tape that she used. I have some & it comes in a plastic container. Walmart, Lowes, HD all have it :)

Lindsey lost in Europe

Hi, what a lovely idea to customise the look of a room. I am just at a bit of a loss as to what fabric medium is and where I would purchase it. Thanks Lindsey