Death of a Floorcloth

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  August 7, 2012 — 5 Comments

About a year and a half ago I was desperately wanting a big area rug for our living room, but I only had about $150 to spend. Solution: I created a zebra-print floorcloth using a canvas dropcloth, paint, and shellac. Here’s how it looked back then.

Amazingly, I’ve not yet grown tired of the zebra. I still love it dearly, in fact. But we do have a problem. After 16 months of daily use things are looking a little worse for wear.

See all those wrinkles? I just cannot get the dang thing to lie flat anymore, and I’m concerned that it’s a tripping hazard. The area near the sofa (where it gets the most wear) is also really dingy and dirty and nothing I do seems to help. So as much as it breaks my heart to toss out something that I spent, literally,DAYS of my life working on, I think it’s time for little miss zebra to hit the road. I’ve started shopping around for affordable replacement options.

My first thought was to get a jute or other natural fiber rug.


I’m still leaning pretty strongly in that direction, but I do wonder if maybe it wouldn’t be worth it to get something a little softer for a crawling baby. So then I started looking at low pile rugs, especially the indoor/outdoor ones since they seem really easy to keep clean with kids and pets and grownups who like to eat their dinner in front of the tv. I decided pretty quickly that a solid color could look cheap really easily, giving off a commercial-grade carpet vibe (especially if I buy online instead of checking it out in person first), so I started gravitating toward simple patterns.


I’m paralyzed by the fear that I’ll hate the pattern in a year or two, which is hilarious since big huge zebra stripes make a pretty big statement and I’m yet to tire of them. The shade of blue in the rug pictured above is a color that I have repeated throughout my house, so that’s probably a pretty good sign that I’ll like it for a while. It’s technically an outdoor rug and reviewers mention specifically it being indestructible by cats, impenetrable to baby spit-up, and soft and comfortable to walk on. PlusĀ at less than $200 for an 8×10 it’s a pretty good deal. I’m definitely keeping this one high on my list of possibilities.

Which one to choose? The neutral, safe, impossible to hate jute? Or the softer rug with a little bit of color and personality? These are the things that keep me up at night. Except not really because I catch every wink of sleep I can get these days, haha.

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap


5 responses to Death of a Floorcloth

  1. I like the baby friendly second choice. Love the indoor-outdoor idea. I have thought of that too. They are on sale lots of places right now around here.

  2. I’d go the indoor/outdoor route. Knowing that’s such a high traffic area, and the stuff that’s going to get spilled there, keeping jute clean may well drive you bonkers.

    Just thinking about cleaning guacamole out of a jute rug after a football game party foul makes me twitch!

  3. Baby friendly without a doubt. This way it’ll be easy to hit it with a carpet shampooed and be good (and clean) as new!!!

  4. I think we had that jute rug. I liked it, but I wouldn’t recommend it in a high-traffic area like the living room (where we had ours). The rug shifted around (not as much as your zebra floor cloth, though), and dirt passed through it, which meant I needed to periodically move the furniture, roll up the rug, and vacuum underneath. That was a hassle. I got a different jute rug from Ikea, one with a rubber backing, that I like much better. It stays put on our tile floor, plus there’s no need to clean underneath.

    My qualm about the cream rug is that it’s cream. Reviews notwithstanding, I think it could end up looking dingy and showing stains. IMO, something darker and/or more patterned/variegated would be the better way to go. A grippy sort of rug pad (which might’ve helped with our first jute rug!) would be good, too. Anyway, that’s my two cents!

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  1. It Has Arrived | Living Well on the Cheap - August 14, 2012

    [...] writing about it last week I went ahead and ordered this indoor-outdoor rug for my living room. It arrived on Friday, just in [...]

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