Author Archives: Jane

7 DIY Rug Options for Renters Or the Noncommittal

When you’re decorating a room, rugs are a fantastic way to make a huge impact on a space – the bigger, the better.  However, the prices of large rugs can intimidate a renter who’s decorating a temporary space, or a homeowner who is on a tight budget.

Now that I’m trying to finally decorate our basement TV room, I’m on the hunt for an inexpensive, large rug.  I’m happy to invest in a beautiful piece of furniture, but since we are renting, now is not the time to splurge on a fancy, over-sized rug.  That led me to search for DIY and budget options – and I was thrilled by the many results I found.

7 DIY Rug Options for Renters

1.  Painted Cloth Rugs – This option seems to be a popular one with DIY bloggers.  You find an inexpensive, plain rug, then either tape off a pattern or use a stencil when you paint it.  I haven’t found much info on how well a painted rug holds up to foot traffic, but it sure looks like a fun project that could yield great results if done well.

This painted rug by Sarah M Dorsey Designs is my absolute favorite:

Sarah of Diddle Dumpling painted her white Ikea rug using a DIY stencil. It looks fantastic!

2.  Painted Jute or Sisal Rugs - Jute Rugs are another great candidate for the paint treatment.  Below, Marian of Mustard Seed Interiors gave a simple jute rug a classy upgrade with a simple white border.

3.  Sharpie Sketched Rug – This is a newer twist on the painted rug concept.   Katie of Upcycled Treasures created a great West Elm knockoff for only $25 by using a sharpie to create the rug’s pattern.

4. Fabric Scrap Floorcloth – This funky rug is essentially a small quilt!  The blogger at Craftapple turned it into into a sturdy rug with a few simple supplies.  Skeptical? I was too, until I read how she did it.

5. DIY Fabric Yardage Rug – Camila of Effortless Style sewed a chevron rug out of fabric and rug backing.  I think this is a great option for renters who are stuck with dingy wall-to-wall carpet in living rooms or bedrooms.  A simple DIY rug like this would pull the room together if placed under or a bed or coffee table, and you don’t have to worry about heavy wear since it would sit over carpeting.

6. Remnant Cutout Rug – Finally, you could get an inexpensive remnant from a wall-to-wall carpet store and have it bound.  But why do that when you could cut out a fun shape instead, like they did at Offbeat Home?  A simple wavy edge could kick things up a notch.

7.  Overdyed Vintage Rug – I’ve saved my favorite DIY rug option for last.  To transform an old, unfashionable rug, you dye it a rich jewel or dark tone.  The former pattern peeks through, but the wash of bold color helps overcome the outdated pattern.  Be sure to use a natural fiber rug (cotton or wool)  to ensure it drinks up the dye evenly.

This rug at Paperblog is my inspiration – and you’ll never believe what it looked like in the “before” image!

I also love how this one by Kristen F Davis Designs turned out:

For our basement solution, I’m leaning towards that last option – overdying a vintage rug.  Now it’s time to hit the thrift store in search of an old, unloved rug!  In the mean time, you can find more rug and floor covering ideas on my Rugs & Floors Pinterest Board.

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Basement TV Room Makeover: Searching for a Large Rug

Now that the Janery studio makeover is complete, I’m ready to tackle the Basement TV Room with my creative energy. It’s is a long, tiled room that takes up most of the basement real estate.

I’ve started and stopped work on it in the past, because our needs for the space kept changing as the Janery workspace was growing.  Now that Janery is (mostly) confined to a separate space, we can finally decorate the basement.

Here is what it looked like when it was last photographed:

Basement Family Room | The Borrowed Abode

Basement Family Room 2 | The Borrowed Abode

One of the first elements we need is a large rug.  And by large, I mean 10 x 12 feet.  We tried an 8×10 in the past, but it wasn’t ideal in the large space between the sofa and the TV cabinet.

Ryan and I have considered a few options:

  • FLOR tiles – I love that they’re made in the USA, recyclable, and totally customizable.  And repositionable, making them great for renters who move a lot. But they’re not cheap.
  • One of the many awesome large rugs from West Elm or CB2.  The ones I love are not cheap. Also, many rugs from major retailers are ethically questionable.
  • One of the gorgeous, ethical rugs from The Rug Company. Again, not cheap.
  • DIY a rug out of a plain white Ikea rug.
  • A cheap, plain, dark rug from Home Depot.  (Been there, done that. Not my favorite option.)

We’re reluctant to invest in a nice rug for the space, because my cat Aretha is a little . . . weird.  She occasionally pees on the rug or the dog bed in the basement.  (One of the many reasons why the Charlie Cushions coming to Janery in May will be waterproof.)  She’s on Prozac now and it doesn’t seem to be happening anymore, but we have thrown out two rugs in the past because of this.

FLOR tiles could still be an option, because if one got peed on we could soak it in the enzyme cleaner to really get it clean, all the way through.  A 10×12 rug would cost $350 for the cheapest option, so I’m going to see if I can come up with some cheaper options before I agree to lay out the cash for the rug.

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Why Janery Donates to Programs for the Homeless

Each year I donate a portion of sales from Janery to programs for homeless people and pets. I donated approximately $500 of my 2013 profits to the cause, and I hope to significantly exceed that number in 2014.

As the parent to four previously-homeless pets, it’s fairly obvious why I support animal rescue. But the reasons for my support of programs for the homeless may surprise you.

When I was in college, my view of homelessness changed overnight.  One cold winter night, my friend got a phone call to alert him that his aunt had died.  It wasn’t a peaceful death; her body was found naked in an icy stream in Washington, DC’s Rock Creek Park.

His aunt had struggled with schizophrenia and manic depression for most of her adult life. He remembered times when she would show up at his place in what was clearly a manic streak.  She had trouble holding down jobs due to her mental illness, and when she was unemployed she had no access to affordable medication.  Prior to her death, she had gone off her medications and became homeless in Washington DC.

It pained my friend to know that he’d only found out about her suffering when it was too late.

I was 21 at the time, and the image of the dead aunt stuck with me.  Before then I hadn’t realized that:

  • 60,000 of our veterans – the people who voluntarily served our country – are homeless
  • At least 25% of the homeless population has a mental illness or disorder
  • 28% of homeless families have fled domestic violence
  • Many struggle with addiction, which is an illness which requires real treatment

This is why, in addition to helping animal rescue groups, Janery will continue to donate a portion of sales to good programs for the homeless.  Everyone deserves a safe place to call home.  To find that, the homeless usually need resources, counseling, and most of all – for people to believe in them.

I’m currently donating to a local organization:  The Lamb Center.  It is a small but powerful daytime center only 10 minutes from my home.

It serves the homeless population by providing a warm, safe place for them to drop into if they choose, and it’s staffed by a wonderful group of volunteers from local churches.  Additionally, The Lamb Center provides an extensive group of services to help guests get back on their feet:

The Lamb Center Homeless Shelter ServicesA note about the shelter’s religious affiliation:  I don’t often donate to faith-based groups, but I feel the Lamb Center is one of the most ethical and fiscally responsible organizations in the area.  Some faith-based shelters require that their homeless guests participate in bible study prior to receiving a meal.  At The Lamb Center, services are available to anyone, regardless of participation.

My donations for last year were primarily in the form of purchased goods rather than cash (toiletries and thermal underwear for the brutal winter we had), but my 2014 donation will be more cash-based to support their programs and (hopefully) their move to a larger facility in Fairfax.

I’m working on nailing down a more concrete plan for how Janery will donate each year, both to the Lamb Center and various animal rescue groups.  In the mean time, I just wanted to share my story of why homelessness matters so much to me.

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