How To Stencil a Rug on a Floor

Looking to add color and style to a room in your home without breaking the bank? Have you ever thought about painting a rug on a floor?

Painting a rug on your floor is a simple, yet effective way to instantly elevate the look of any room without splurging on a brand new rug.


Not only is painting a rug on the a floor incredibly affordable, it’s also surprisingly quick and easy to do. With a few low-cost materials and a bit of creative freedom, you can transform your floor into a work of art.

How to paint or stencil a rug on a floor

I painted this rug on the mudroom floor in my previous house about 25 years ago. I called it my antique rug after about 15 years as it got a little worn.

I liked the way the painted rug looked in the room so much, that when it was time to refinish the hardwood floor in the room, I painted another more colorful rug in it’s place. 

Why Paint a Rug a Floor ?

The room I painted the rug in was a mudroom where most friends coming to visit and family came and went through this space. There were three exit doors in the room and an area rug would have been a tripping hazard with people, little kids and pets in and out all the time. So instead of doing without rug to provide color and interest to the floor, I decided painting rug would be a good alternative.

After painting it, many people have actually wiped their feet on it, myself included. It is always a topic of converstaion.

The painted rug, did look real, even though there were no shadows painted on as you would see in a trompe l’oeil painting.

Rug painted on floor

To paint the rug on my floor, I used a stencil I made for a floor painting project in a decorating book I wrote back in the 1990’s called, Instant Decorating.

You can also Paint and Stencil an Entire Concrete Porch or Patio to add color to it.

The Best Time to Paint a Rug on a Wood Floor

The best time to paint a rug on a floor is when the hardwood or flooring hasn’t been sealed or when you are having a floor refinished.

When we first moved into this house, the hardwood floor on the first floor of the house was laid uneven and the hardwood manufacturer came to re-do it. 

The workman came and sanded the floor during the day, leaving the floor bare until the next day when they were coming back to put the polyurethane on it.  I stayed up all night and painted the rug so when they came the next morning, they could poly right over it, saving me a step.    

Painted floor rug

Stencil Design Free Printable.pdf

The stencil design I used to paint this rug is simply a repeat of the same block of little squares with a circle of leaves, a flower, and the center of the flower.

I used 5 different colors of craft paint and  latex eggshell for the base color(green).

How to paint a rug on a floor

I drew the bound edge on the shoand tassels free-hand with craft paint and a fine-tipped paint brush.


You can copy and enlarge the actual design and tassels (below) to paint a rug on your floor, as well as print out the instructions taken from the pages of my book, Instant Decorating for you to download and print out.

Here is the Free printable instructions .pdf

Free Painted rug stencil pattern

Here is the stencil design to print: Floor Rug Stencil Design

  • Customize the size of the printout by getting in made larger or smaller at a print shop.

More DIY Flooring Ideas

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  1. Gloria Philips says:

    It’s an awesome and inspiring, what a great idea. It’s good to see people come up with new ideas.

    I enjoyed your work!

  2. Wow, nice idea. After more than 10 years of sanding floors we have never seen such project.

  3. Great job on such a fun project! Do you happen to know the names of all of the paint colors you used for this project?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Debbie –

      I wish I could tell you the exact craft paint colors, but I did that floor in my previous home many years ago.

      If I recall though, the green base color was called Village Green. The other colors were a deep purple for the little square border, a dusty pink for the flower petals, lavender for the flower center, pine green for the leaves and off-white for the dots in the center of the flowers. For the tassels I used all the colors to create the strand colors.

      I hope this helps. When you go to the craft store, it may be easier to pick the colors when you see them all together.

      1. Thanks! I’m excited to get started on my painted rug!

  4. I keep looking at it and it keeps looking like a real rug. So well done. I’ve never seen anything like this before. This post has enriched my life.

    Dot – Painter Buckeye Arizona

  5. Karen Bruce says:

    Please help! I painted my dining floor with a quality Sherwin Williams paint (not floor paint), I then stenciled a flowering vine border design with craft acrylics. Then I painted a rug on the floor to look like it is our stained glass reflecting on to the floor.
    Now that I am ready to seal it, everywhere I look people are saying that polyurethane turns paint yellow. What should I do!? The workers that resealed your floor used polyurethane. Could you please, please find out what kind they used? Your rug didn’t turn yellow. Karen from Iowa

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Karen –

      Using oil-based polyurethane will turn your painted floor yellow. You need to use water-based polyurethane. It will not turn you floor yellow. Most major brands of poly make one. Minwax Polycrylicand Varathane are two that I know of. Another is Zinseer Bulls Eye Ultimate Polyurethane. Zinseer also makes another water-based poly that comes in a blue can. I think it is just called Polyurethane – Water based. Any major brand of poly that makes a water-based product is what you want to use. Follow the directions on the can’s label and your floor will look great for years.

  6. Hardwood Floor Sanding says:

    This looks amazing, what a great idea. It’s good to see people come up with new ideas

  7. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    I just now found this…….. I LOVE IT!!!! I sort of, maybe, might be able to dab the paint on if I had the spray adhesive and all the paint colors…… but how in the world did you cut that stencil out without cutting off a finger or sliding through the stencil and ruin the sheet??

    You are definitely the best. I accidentally found this on my search for the starburst mirror you made out of shims and a necklace. I have forgotten some details and hope I can figure out how many shims and size to buy. I bought a square mirror (candle holder) from Dollar Tree and was so hoping to finally get around to making one like yours.

  8. christine says:

    Wow! Thanks Diane!

  9. christine says:

    love the tassels.. they look so real and must have taken hours – but definitely worth it! Could you show us how to do that?

    1. Hi Christine. I can definitely do a post as i have been wanting to make a new rug. It is not hard to make the tassels at all as it is just a basic shape and rounded lines. You could practice drawing them with a pencil and paper to get the hang of it then do it with paint and a brush. To make them look realistic overlap a few, have some skewed, others more straight. I will get a tute up as soon as I can for you.

  10. chicken little says:

    the rug looks great. but most ppl cant do anything nearly that good. i was looking for a painted faux rug for dummies kind of project. i think for most ppl who dont have much artistic talent, this project is impossible-or wd look very baaaad.

  11. Designs by Gollum says:

    I’ve been meaning to paint a rug on my patio but I needed a step-by-step. Thank you SO much!

  12. Kim @ Cheap Chic Home says:

    Beyond clever – ha, ha – you wipe your feet on it.

  13. Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage says:

    That is gorgeous!!!!

  14. wow, it looked like a real rug, i had to really look. Awesome Job!

  15. Oh, wonderful! I so wish I could just paint the plywood underneath the carpet in the bedrooms!

  16. Great job – you are so creative !

  17. Fantastic job! I thought it was real too.

  18. Diane at InMyOwnStyle says:

    Hi Janelle-

    It does look pretty real. Even knowing it is fake, I have come in to the house and have wiped my feet on it. I laugh at myself everytime I do it.

  19. that is unbelievable! i had to go back up to the top to fifure out what in the world you were talking abot. at first i really thought i was looking at a real rug!

  20. Twice Remebered says:

    This is stunning! I would have never known just by looking at the photos that it wasn’t real…what a terrific job you did!

  21. That’s pretty cool. The dog wouldn’t slide that halfway across the room during her nightly wild time!

  22. Diane at InMyOwnStyle says:

    Great getting comments from all of you. This did take a bit of guts, but I did do it previously at a friends house, so I had confidence I would like it. Try it in a bathroom or a small room for starters, if you are happy with your results you can take on a bigger floor.

  23. WOW! You did such a good job on that! We are installing hardwood floor in our house this spring, and I wanted to put a rug under our dining table, but I couldn’t find one that would be the right size for the space. I had thought about painting a rug on the floor, but I am a little afraid to. I know it wouldn’t turn out as nice as yours, and I probably wouldn’t be able to do anything as intricate, but I may have to give it a try. I LOVE yours!
    Hope you have a great day! Beth.

  24. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    Stopping by from SITS! I can’t believe it is not a real rug.

  25. Very cool! I bet it’ll be sad to see it go!

    stopping in from SITS

  26. Floor sanding says:

    Great post!!!
    Very interesting and amusing subject. I read with great pleasure…..

  27. says:

    That looks great! I never thought of doing anything like that before, although unfortunately we need real rugs being on the second floor!

    It’s so detailed, I stared at the tassels for ages wondering if you’d stuck real ones on, lol

    Stopping by from SITS!

  28. Floor sanding says:

    Wow, so much work! Who would have thought that sanding would be this exhausting?! The floors look FANTASTIC.

  29. Maria @BOREDmommy says:

    I agree – it totally looks real – you are very talented and crafty. (From someone who couldn’t be crafty to save her life).

  30. this is such a great idea! it looks so real!!! what a good idea. :)

  31. I have wood floors and want to try this, just not brave enough, thanks for the inspiration, love your rug! Lezlee

  32. Lynn from For Love or Funny says:

    I thought it was real, too!

  33. Beach Vintage says:

    This is just amazing. At first I thought you were joking. It is just beautiful.

  34. Diane at InMyOwnStyle says:

    Hi Ann and Cha Cha-

    Thnaks for the comments. Don’t be afraid to do it, you can always paint over it if you are unhappy with your efforts, or in the case of your steps, re-carpet. I think doing something on your stairs would be great and easier, as you can do one step at a time. The real key to making it last is a few coats of polyurethane. Go for it!!

  35. You have been holding out on me. I love this and almost did a huge one in my Dining room, But more of an outline with some details. But toally chickened out. We have since ripped up the carpet on our stairs going to the basement and they are pretty ruff and I am thinking of painting them and doing something simalar. Thanks for sharing and hopefully giving me the guts to try this. You inspire me.

    Cha Cha