How to Paint a Seagrass Area Rug

When the color of the border on a seagrass rug or natural fiber area rug doesn’t match your decor anymore or has become faded, there is no need to buy a new rug. Save money by simply painting the fabric covered border. It is an easy process – no special skills or tools needed.

Last week I showed you how my living room looked with the furniture back in place after getting the hardwood floor refinished. Everything was returned to normal, yet looked updated with the new grey floor stain and matte finish. The only thing missing in the room was the seagrass area rug.

Open concept floor plan in home with coastal blue and white decorating.

I placed the seagrass rug back into the room a few days ago, but before I did, I gave the rug a small makeover. See the beige border on the rug? It used to be…

Seagrass area rug before painting canvas border another color.


Family-Room with seagrass-rug

I have had this seagrass rug for many years. Here is a photo of the exact same rug in my previous house. When we moved to South Carolina, it came with us and worked perfectly in the lake house living room.

I am drawn to natural fiber rugs and have had a few different types over the years from sisal to jute to my favorite – seagrass.

In my previous house I had a sisal rug in my studioffice, it was neutral and pretty, but it stained too easily. I bought a large jute area rug for my dining room, but gave it away when we moved. The smell of burlap never left it, it easily became unwoven and never laid completely flat.

Why I Like Decorating With Seagrass Area Rugs

I bought my seagrass rug 8 years ago. You can find it here: Seagrass Rug. It comes in many different sizes and border colors.

The rug does not need a pad. The underside of the rug is covered with a felt-like fabric which protects the floor and keeps larger rugs from moving. If you would like a smaller rug, you may need to place a non-skid pad to help keep it in place.

Seagrass area rugs add an easy breezy vibe to my decor, but I also like them for many other reasons:

  • Go with everything
  • Bring nature indoors
  • Budget-friendly
  • Durable
  • Sustainable and stylish
  • The fiber is highly stain and water resistant
  • Very easy to clean. All they require is a regular vacuuming. 
  • Can complement a variety of interior decorating styles from cottage, modern, to traditional decor.
  • A bordered seagrass rug can be a good starting point for a room’s furniture layout.
Seagrass rug with neutral beige trim in dining room.

The only thing that may not be a positive feature about seagrass rugs is that they do have a hard woven texture. They are not soft to sit on and may take getting used to for this reason alone.

To remedy this, you can easily layer another smaller area rug in any color or style on top for a unique look.

Area Rugs and Open Concept Floor Plans

Up close look at color of newly refinished hardwood floor. The color is Bona Drifast stain in Grey.

When the furniture was placed back in my living room without the area rug, I loved the way the floor looked, but the furniture didn’t look grounded.

Open concept floor plan decorating tips. Shown in the photo is how and area rug separates two rooms.

My living room and kitchen are open to each other. It may not seem like an important part of the decor, but in an open concept space, an area rug is the easiest way to differentiate the open rooms into two separate spaces.

It is a visual trick, no partition needed or furniture to physically block or section the rooms from each other.

Small living room with seagrass rug with newly painted border trim.

Another reason I like to decorate with any area rug in general is that they can make a seating area seem cozier by bringing an array of furnishings into a conversational grouping that brings a focus area to a room.

BEFORE: Seagrass Area Rug

Living room showing hardwood floor that has turned orange over time
BEFORE: Seagrass Rug With Faded Green Border

My seagrass area rug is going on six years and it still looks good, except for the fabric border.

It has become faded over time and now with the new grey floor stain and matte finish, the faded green color just didn’t fit in with the color scheme in the room.

Instead of buying a whole new area rug, I decided to paint the fabric trim. It worked beautifully!

I do want to mention that I chose to paint the border a neutral beige since the rug stays in the room all year long and I change the color accents every season.

If I painted the border a color to match or coordinate with the blue color of the sofa pillows, a blue trimmed rug may not coordinate come fall. :-) I painted the rug neutral so no matter what color accent I use throughout the seasons, the rug will go.

What Did I Use to Paint the Border on My Area Rug

I did some testing first on the border of the rug to find out what type of paint and method would work best.

  • First I tried using craft paint with fabric medium – TOTAL FAIL! It soaked right into the fabric and looked blotchy.
  • Next I tried using latex paint. It worked better, but didn’t go on evenly.

The winning paint was DIY chalk paint. I mixed it up according to this Chalk Paint recipe. When I applied it, it went on perfectly and the makeover of the rug was a quick one.

How to Paint the Border on a Seagrass or Sisal Area Rug

supplies needed:

  • Craft, latex or chalk paint in desired color
  • If making DIY chalk paint – Calcium Carbonate Powder
  • Stiff angled paint brush – I used this Purdy brush
  • Mixing container
  • A piece of cardboard (about the size of a table placemat)
  • Clear Soft Wax – I used Annie Sloan, but any clear soft wax will work.
  • Optional: Painter’s Tape

Time needed: 2 hours

Painting the rug is not hard and the process goes pretty fast once you start. I applied two coats, letting the first one dry completely before applying the second which will add to how long it take until the rug is ready to use again.

  1. Clean Fabric Border on Rug

    Use a vacuum or stiff whisk broom to clean the border fabric of dust and dirt. If any area has grease or stubborn grime, try to remove it if possible using hot sudsy water and dish detergent. Let dry.

  2. Add Painter’s Tape

    To keep from getting paint on the rug itself as you paint, add painter’s tape around the edge of the border to protect the rug.

    I used a stiff angled Purdy paint brush to paint the border and didn’t use tape since the angle on the paint brush made it fairly easy to not get paint on the rug as I painted. If you don’t have a steady hand, you may want to add the tape.

  3. Place Cardboard Under Rug

    Slip a piece of cardboard under the rug where you plan to begin painting. This will prevent any paint from getting on the floor as you paint. Slide the cardboard to move it as you paint around the rug.

  4. Apply Chalk Paint

    Put your chalk paint or ready-made chalk paint into a bowl to make it easy to dip your paint brush. Using a stiff angled paint brush, begin applying the paint to the fabric border.

    When applying the paint, apply a thick coat and rotate the bristles on the paint brush to help push the paint into the weave of the fabric. Doing this will help the paint penetrate into the fabric and not just sit on top.

    How to paint the border on a rug a new color using chalk paint.

  5. Seal + Protect Paint

    Once paint is completely dry, seal the newly painted border with soft paste wax.

    Apply the soft paste wax with a soft lint-free cloth. A blue Shop-Towel or old T-shirt works well.

    Rub a thin layer over the border and rub in using a circular motion. Go over a few times until the rags slips over the surface or you see a slight sheen on the painted border.

    After first coat is applied, go around rug once more with a second thin coat.

    How to seal the newly painted border fabric on a seagrass rug with paste wax.

  6. Drying Time

    Wait a few hours before walking over the newly painted and sealed border. It will dry pretty quickly to the touch, but be gentle with it for a few days until the paint and wax fully cure.

Blue and white Farmhouse style living  room with seagrass area rug with a newly painted color on the border.

When DIY decorating, making color changes to almost any surface using paint can make a big difference.

Look What One Reader Did!

Blog reader sent photo showing how she was inspired by my rug border painting post and started it on her rug using navy paint.

After reading this post, reader Donna H. sent me a photo showing me how she is painting her seagrass rug border navy. She used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the color Oxford Navy.

If you don’t like the color of something and don’t want to buy something new – don’t be afraid to simply paint it.

How to paint a seagrass rug tutorial

Hardwood Floor Refinishing Series

If you missed the series of posts I wrote about getting the hardwood floor in my living room and kitchen REFINISHED. Select the link in the photos below to read the posts.

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  1. Nancy Diaz says:

    I recently painted my dark red sea grass rug border a sea glass blue. I used chalk paint. It took two coats to completely cover the red, but I’m so happy with it! I’d encourage anyone to give it a shot…not at all difficult!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Nancy – I LOVE when readers tell me about DIY projects they did and loved the results. Painting the rug border, like you found out is not hard and gives you amazing results for little cost and time. Enjoy the look of the rug now that it is sea glass blue. :-)

  2. Hi Diane,

    I am fan of sisal rugs that are layered with vintage rugs. What do you think about layering a sisal rug? Which type rug is using to layer the seagrass or sisal rug?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Corin – I like the look of layering a rug over a natural fiber one. I have thought about doing it many times, especially in for the colder months of the year. You can layer over any natural rug – sisal, jute or seagrass.

  3. Laurie Dawes says:

    I am really enjoying your website, and especially finding your chalk paint recipe. I am living in Mexico so can’t find ready-made chalk paint.
    I have a 5′ x 7′ water-stained seagrass rug on a covered terrace that has seen better days. I would like to paint the entire rug, not just the cotton binding trim. What do you suggest? I would like to keep it as natural looking as possible and would like to match the seagrass color and hide the dark water stain. Could I use a Latex based chalk paint for this and then seal with a wax or polyurethane?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Laurie –

      You can paint the rug. The seagrass does have a coating that has probably worn in areas on your rug. I would either use a good brand name paint primer first, then paint the color of seagrass. You can also use chalk paint. Either paint should be applied in thin coats. Use a roller and then a stiff paint brush to get the primer and paint into the crevices of the rug.

      Let it dry for a few days and then use water-based poly over it. I would use a matte finish so it looks like the actual rug’s sheen. You can use wax, but it would be very hard to get it in and out of the crevices. If you have access to Minwax Polycrylic, this is what I would recommend to seal. It is a water-based poly that won’t yellow. It even comes in a spray can that would make it very easy to apply to seal.

  4. I love this neutral look ,but I’m worried it would soil easily. What do you think?
    I have a big indoor outdoor mat in the TV room which is now getting a bit dull and grungy.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jennifer – If you seal the paint after it is fully dry with wax, you can easily wipe it clean or spot clean when a spill happens. Overall though -light colors do show the stains more then dark so you may find you have to clean the border more often then a dark color. I like the light border so much better and just know I will have to spot clean it from time to time. I hope this helps you make your decision.

  5. Saniya Wilson says:

    Hey Diane,
    Nice ideas and you shared great information about rugs. Thank you for sharing

  6. Diane-It all looks beautiful with your newly-refinished wood floors! I learn so much from you and appreciate you sharing your lovely home, tips, and inspiring us all!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Terri –

      Thank you. It is always nice to hear that what I write about is inspiring to others. :-)

  7. Kimberly Carnegie Bruhn says:

    Gosh…a lot of bloggers say they have budget decorating ideas…but a lot of time they just tell you where to buy something more! YOU, Diane, truly show us ways to save money on using what we have and re-furbing it to make it coordinate! Thank you, thank you!
    Oh, you probably already have this but I bought an electric buffer and some terry cloth bonnets (at Harbor Freight) and use it to buff out the wax on my chalk painted projects…works great and saves my hands from a little wear&tear.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kimberly – I have a Black and Decker buffer and am in need of new bonnets. I never thought to look on Harbor Freight for them. I will check them out What brand of buffer do you have?

  8. Hi, Diane. Thanks for including all the info on the various rugs. Good to know.
    You did a great job painting that trim, but I’m not surprised! And I for one like your blue pillows with the gray floor……and on my tablet they are quite pretty shades and look true to color, as far as I can tell. And I’m not a blue kind of girl! Your room suites you and it’s comforting to me when I see it because it’s “familiar”, like when you go back somewhere to visit a special place. Good job!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Sharon :-) The blues in the room look so good with the floor – everything coordinates now. That make me very happy.

  9. alda ellis says:

    you are amazing…I love your blog. What do you think about using a seagrass rug on my front porch. It is undercover and I love a rug on the porch. Just wondering if it might mildew….
    Thank you !

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Alda – A seagrass rug can become a magnet for mold and mildew if it gets wet on a regular basis. If the porch stays dry even when it rains, it should be OK. If the porch floor gets wet when it rains, it may not be the best rug to use.

  10. Sheryll $ Critters. says:

    Looks great. And the trim looks green on my tablet. But I know it’s perfect in person.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Sheryll :-)

  11. MaryAnn Howat says:

    The rug looks great. You just did one side?

    I have a rug that is reversible so should I do both sides?

  12. Absolutely spot on, Diane! Looks great and no one would even know it was painted instead of original. Kudos–again!!

  13. valarie sanford says:

    Just when I think you can’t get more brilliant!!! Thank you for sharing your brilliance, it is much appreciated

  14. John Condon says:

    What did you put under your seagrass rug?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi John –

      The rug does not need a pad when it is large like mine. The underside of the rug is covered with a felt-like fabric which protects the floor and keeps larger rugs from moving. If you would like a smaller rug, you may need to place a non-skid pad to help keep it in place.

  15. Good job . I think some readers are commenting about the blue accessories because the shade looks off with your floor color. If you like the blue, change it to a gray blue. That would work well with your color scheme.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Marilyn –

      Maybe it is each reader’s computer monitor or phone screen that is making the color look off. In real life the blue looks so nice with the floor. I know this can happen with how colors show up on monitors. :-) I remember a friend asking me in my early days of blogging, why I changed a purple chair I had to red. I had no idea what she was talking about until she saw the chair in person and then we looked at it on her computer and it looked red. :-)

      I enjoy changing the colors in the room each season, so come fall the blue accessories will go to storage and I will bring out another color. :-) Keeps things fresh.

  16. Patricia Burns says:

    I personally would get rid of the blue accessories–they ruin the look imo.

    The rug looks good though!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Patricia –

      If I was going after the decorating trend right now of using neutral or Farmhouse style with all neutral colors and black, I understand why you would not like the blue accents. But I am mot trying for either of these decorating styles.

      I like some aspects of these styles, but also love coastal and modern and add things that make me smile. I love pops of color in a room. I don’t want to fit a mold, I like to do things so they feel good to me, my eye and family.

      I also don’t keep any one color in the room all year. I like keeping the base neutral so I can add any color I want throughout the seasons of the year. The blue items will come down in the fall and I will add a new color accent for the season and then the color accents all get changed up again for Christmas. :-)

    2. Looks great as I knew it would! Thanks for all your inspirations!

  17. Looks much better but I keep looking at the blues at couch level and think a similar blue on the border would pull things together even more.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jackie –

      I agree completely with you that a blue border on the rug would look nice and bring the blues together, but since the rug stays in the room all year long and I change the color accents every season, a blue trimmed rug may not coordinate come fall. :-) I painted the rug neutral so no matter what color accent I use the rug will go. :-)

  18. I can see why you wanted to change the trim on your rug. With all your blue accessories, the faded green stuck out like a sore thumb Good job restoring it.,.
    I’ve never used seagrass, but I also made the mistake about a year ago of purchasing a jute rug for under my dining area table. I thought it would wear well with pulling out and pushing in chairs, etc, but I never did like it. The feel was horrible on bare feet (I’m a barefoot person in the house), also due to its texture, it was nearly impossible to clean and one corner never did lay flat enough. So as to not waste my money, I moved it to one bay of my garage, under where I park my car, to catch dirt and other wintertime messes that come in on my car tires. Once it it truly gross and unusable, I will trash it and not feel the least bit bad about it.


  20. says:

    Hi Diane, This looks great! What a great idea to refresh the rug!