So you’re on PlushRugs.com and you’re ordering new rugs, and you come to the realization that you will have to do something with the old rugs you are replacing. It seems a shame to just throw them away. But what could you possible use them for? We have put together some truly creative tips to get more life from your old rug. As you consider these ideas, keep in mind that the construction and material of certain rugs will work better with some ideas than others!
Da Vinci That Rug! Painting an old rug can be a great way to get new life out of an outdated or worn rug. Dying may also be a viable option. Employ the use of painters tape or stencils to create geometric, floral, or other eye-catching patterns. See picture above, courtesy of mommy-chic.blogspot.com. To get the paint or dye to last the longest, clean the rug the best you can beforehand, and let it dry completely before starting. Painting a rug will probably work best if your rug is made of natural fibers, or has a looped texture. Trendy tip: Hand-paint your rectangular rug with a cool theme like a Twister board, old-school Nintendo controller, a SpongeBob face, etc.
Just Hangin’ Around. Hang it on the wall. This is especially great if your rug is still in great condition and has an interesting pattern. This idea stems from the Middle Ages, when people hung tapestries on the walls for better insulation. And many people describe rugs as “art for your floor,” so why not use it on your wall as well? Practical tip: To prevent sagging, consider framing the rug, hanging it from a rod, or mounting it using strong Velcro or a foam-core mount.
Outdoor Comfort. Use the rug as flooring in a tree-house. It may also help things stay a little warmer in there by providing a bit of insulation. Cozy tip: add pillows or poufs as well for extra comfort!
Cool Cutouts. Cut out parts of the rug for a new look. It looks especially neat when the rug has a border that is cut out into an interesting pattern (see picture of NuLoom’s fuchsia Clarity rug from the Modella collection for inspiration.) This can look extremely good when the surface of the rug is painted or stenciled on top and the cutouts are a part of or complement to the cutouts. Pencil in the pattern you would like to cut out before starting to cut, and use your precision cutting tool of choice to remove those areas. Easy tip: If your rug is a dark color or has a high pile, you can trace the pattern onto the back of the rug and cut from the back of the rug instead of the front.
Musical Chairs: Switch It Up. For an interesting look, re-upholster a chair with a rug! Many different colors, patterns and textures would be great for all different types of chairs. Neat tip: use a rug to upholster dining room chairs that matches the rug beneath the table! This would be particularly cool with a shag rug, or perhaps a nice Southwestern print.
Pinning In Style. Bulletin board looking blah? Instead of covering it with fabric, use a piece of your rug to cover it. This idea also works nicely with rug samples you no longer need to use. Fashion meets function! Practical tip: Be sure the rug supports the push-pins or thumbtacks you will be using on the board! A rug with a thin pile will work best for this idea.
Putting The Pieces Together. Cut the rug into puzzle pieces for the kids. What a novel way to make an old rug entertaining for the kids. Fun tip: before cutting into the puzzle pieces, paint the rug with cute animals, alphabet or numbers, or a kid-friendly scene; or cut the rug into pieces first and paint each a different color (see rug above for an idea.)
Don’t Get Bored With Your Headboard. Make a neat, new headboard! Fabric headboards have been very fashionable recently, so why not use a rug? It could even match a rug elsewhere in the bedroom. Or, if your rug is very large, get creative and have the rug on the floor and continue up the wall as well to frame your bed entirely! Eye-catching tip: Break up the flatness of the headboard with metal studs, a decorative mirror hung securely in the center, an interesting sewn pattern, etc.
Bejeweling. Add pizazz to your rug by adding crafty new features. Try sewing on pompoms, beads, crystals, shoestrings, sequins, fabric flowers, or whatever your heart desires. Design tip: make these additions part of the existing design of the rug, or first paint the rug with a neat pattern and then add them!
Front Door Décor. Cut into a welcome mat for your front door! An indoor-outdoor rug would be perfect for this, but as the rug will be outside the rug could be of any material. Welcoming tip: if possible, paint the rug beforehand; then use a stencil to paint a welcoming message on it!
Doggy Decorating. Cut your rug into pieces that fit your dog bed so you can use it as a protective (and comfortable) cover.
Doggy Door. An old rug can go a long way in your furry friend’s doghouse. Use it on the floor for coziness, on the walls for insulation, or even as a rain flap to over the door.
Mat for the Cat. Protect the floor beneath the cat litter box and help prevent litter stuck in the cat’s paws from being tracked through the house, use an old rug underneath. By cutting a larger rug into pieces, this idea is also useful beneath the dog or cat food and water bowls to help protect the floor beneath from water and spills.
Trucking Along. Keeping an old rug in the trunk of your car has many practical uses. What better way to keep the trunk clean when you need to put dirty items inside? A rug can also be laid down for added traction when stuck in snow and ice. Also, how about keeping it in the trunk to use as a picnic blanket or at the drive in?
Don’t Door Ding. Hang the rug with clips or hooks on the garage wall to prevent door dings on your car door. If it’s large enough, it can also be taken down if you need to use it to work beneath your car!
Protecting Your Work Area. Use an old rug to wrap the top of a workbench or a garden bench that that when you lay tools or hardware on it they don’t roll away. It can also be laid beside a bench to help prevent breakage in case things get dropped.
Get Your Garden On. Use the rug as a walkway through your garden (which has the added bonus of keeping weeds from growing in that area), or use it as a kneeling pad when working in the garden.
Recycle Yo’ Rug! Recycle. If it isn’t in a condition for you or anyone else to re-purpose your old rug, you can always give the rug to a recycling center. It is estimated that 5 billion pounds of old rugs and carpet go to landfill every year, and that it takes up about 2% of the total solid waste in landfills. Recycling centers exist in many regions, and it should be easy for you to research their locations and procedures. They can recycle your rug into a waste-to-energy program, or process it into new products.
Pass It On. Sell your rugs at a garage sale so others can re-purpose it, even if it is worn or dirty. They may want to re-purpose it using one of the ideas above! If you don’t hold garage sales, you can put it on Craigslist!
The Do Gooder! Donate your rug to an animal shelter. They are usually looking for anything they can use to line the bottom of cat or dog cages.
Have you re-purposed an old rug already? Tell us about it in the comments below!