How to paint a rug + chest turned coffee table!


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I’m SO excited to finally share my living room makeover with you today! In this post I’m going to show you how to make rugs with a little paint and also how to turn an old chest into a coffee table. It’s amazing what a little color can do to change the whole feel of a room. The blue rug and pillows really brightened up the entire area.

how to make rugs

I’ve been looking for the perfect rug for… I don’t know… YEARS! I have searched and searched and could never find what I was looking for. I finally decided to make my own rug to get the exact look I wanted. I’ve seen friends paint some really neat rugs and was excited for the challenge.   I absolutely love the pop this rug added to my living room.


How to make rugs with paint

how to make rugs


  • Rug  (I purchased the ERSLEV rug from IKEA for $60)
  • Paint (I used robin eggs blue in satin)
  • Painters tape or stencil
  • Roller brush
  • Measuring tape
  • Lazer

how to make rugs

The first thing you’ll want to do is decide on your design. I find it easiest to draw it out on a piece of paper, so you can figure out the measurements. I’m not going to lie… I had my husband help me.  The angles are a bit tricky with the diagonal stripes. I ended up spacing my stripes every four inches. Then I created a two inch spacer stripe with two pieces of tape. You could also use a stencil to make a neat design on a rug. The possibilities with patterns and colors are endless!

how to make rugs

Taping is always the hardest part with any painting project. It probably took us 2 hours. Definitely GRAB A PARTNER to help you! We figured the best way to do the diagonal stripes was to measure 4 inches at the top (then mark it with a piece of tape) and then measure 4 inches at the bottom. Then we lined up our laser to pass through point one and two.

painting a rug

Then you’ll  place your tape down,following the straight laser line. I promise it’s worth it to use the laser. ;) Borrow one if you have to! I may have taped half of the rug when I realized my lines were crooked. That’s when we went out and bought a laser!

painting a rug

Once your tape is all down, make sure to go over the edges and push them down. You don’t want any paint to leak through. I also ended up going around the outer edges with a piece of tape to create a finished look.

paint a rug

Painting is the easy part! Isn’t it always? Just roll your brush in the paint and then onto the rug. I found it best if I placed the roller in the middle first and then rolled it to the edges. Make sure the first coat is dry before you do a second coat!

make a rug

After you’re done painting, carefully peel away the painters tape.

protecting a rugOnce your rug is completely dry, make sure to protect it. Spray two coats of scotch guard for great protection.

Now onto the coffe table. Remember this old trunk I found at the junk yard? Here’s what I did with it. :)

How to turn an old chest into a coffee table

diy coffee table chest trunk

1. Drill a hole near each corner (on the bottom of the trunk).

2. Stain or paint your wooden legs (found at Lowes).

3. Add a strong glue (we used gorilla glue) around the holes and then screw your legs into the chest.

4. Allow to dry for 24 hours before flipping it over.

I LOVE the vintage charm this chest brings to the room!

So here’s the before (BLAH) and here’s the AFTER…

painted rug tutorial

Doesn’t it look SO much better? It’s amazing what a new rug and pillows can do to a room! I’ll share the pillow tutorial in the next week or so. :)

So what do you think?! Have you painted a rug? If so… leave a link in the comments!

P.S. You can find the board and batten tutorial HERE.

Check out our project gallery for more craft ideas.

more by Jamielyn »

Jamielyn Nye

Creative director and founder of I Heart Naptime. Jamielyn aspires to reach women, get their creative juices flowing, and to genuinely inspire. When she’s not creating, Jamielyn loves to chase her three little monkeys and snuggle up on the couch with her man.

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  1. Carol posted on June 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm (#

    This turned out SO good! I love an inexpensive DIY that doesn’t look cheap!


  2. Erica J posted on June 19, 2012 at 12:11 pm (#

    wow!!! i love it!! i really want to paint the rug i currently have but i don’t think it will look all that great cause it already has a pattern on it. :(

    i spray painted for the first time a couple of pieces of furniture today. i was freaking out the whole time but i love the results. i love paint.

  3. Rachel posted on June 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm (#

    I love it! Really brightens everything up!

  4. Jennifer Creviston posted on June 19, 2012 at 12:21 pm (#

    The rug is amazing! It brings so much beauty and color to the room!

  5. Abbey posted on June 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm (#

    I love your makeover! What a huge difference that pop of color makes. Love it! Good job,

  6. Allyson posted on June 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm (#

    Love the rug!

  7. sherry posted on June 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm (#

    I adore that color on the rug! The diagonal stripe is nice too. The room is so fresh and cheery with the new rug and colors added. I have a plain jane green apple colored rug that I want to add white stripes to also. Maybe I’ll get up the nerve soon. Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. Kaysi @ Keeping It Simple posted on June 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm (#

    That is awesome!!! I love that chest as a coffee table!

  9. Stephany posted on June 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm (#

    I love it. It really looks great!! ♥ ♥

  10. Mauri posted on June 19, 2012 at 4:07 pm (#

    LOVE how your rug and trunk coffee table turned out!! I also am loving those turquoise floral pillows. I actaully am getting ready to paint a rug too so I’m happy to see your helpful hints :)

  11. Victoria @obSEUSSed posted on June 19, 2012 at 11:24 pm (#

    I love the color and design on the rug and I’m tempted to add legs to my old chest after seeing this. My husband probably won’t let me though because it is his grandpa’s. I’ll have to look for another used one to do this to. The chest is perfect for holding video games and accessories.

  12. Lacey posted on June 19, 2012 at 8:46 pm (#

    Great job. I’m wondering though how you plan to clean it without the paint coming up. I’m thinking about painting a kitchen rug but am swayed away by the idea of not being able to throw it in my washing machine. Thoughts?

  13. nisha posted on June 20, 2012 at 8:06 am (#

    unbelievable…… u really tured that chest into a table…. neat :)

  14. northern cottage posted on June 20, 2012 at 1:29 pm (#

    This is a stunning AFTER – how fun and fresh! It is like a brand new brighter space. well done my friend!

  15. Melissa @ No. 2 Pencil posted on June 21, 2012 at 8:04 am (#

    I love the update! Super cute! We have a trunk similar to your, and I am loving this idea!!!

  16. Windy posted on June 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm (#

    Love that rug. Think I may try something similar for our den so I can make it whatever color I want. Oh the possibilities!

    Question for you, where did you get that awesome measuring tape in the pictures? :)

    • Tonya posted on September 27, 2012 at 9:43 am (#

      @Windy. “Painters Tape” Traditionally it only came in a tan color. In recent decades it came out in royal blue, then yellow, then bright green. NOW…. I’m just noticing this week… painters tape is now in a variety of colors and even PRINTS!!!! Now we can really let our imaginations wonder! Purchase (basic colors) @ Lowe’s, Home Depo, True Value. (Fancy prints… not sure where to buy yet)

      • Jamielyn posted on September 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm (#

        thanks for sharing the tip! so excited they now offer patterned tape! :)

  17. Kristyn posted on June 21, 2012 at 2:41 pm (#

    LOVE it!! It turned out great!!

  18. michelle@somedaycrafts posted on June 25, 2012 at 1:52 am (#

    Beautiful!!!!! Love the rug and the table!

  19. Bonnie B. posted on July 5, 2012 at 8:50 am (#

    Love the room. The colors are some of my favorites. Where did you get your couch if you don’t mind? It’s what I’ve been looking for.

  20. Jean posted on July 23, 2012 at 10:16 am (#

    No, I haven’t painted a rug, but I sure am going to now! I have a sisal rug and a bamboo rug that I need to paint. It’s on my list of things to do!

  21. Karie posted on July 23, 2012 at 10:41 am (#

    This looks amazing! Thanks for the inspiration, I hope to do something like this soon :)

  22. Cheyenne Morris posted on July 23, 2012 at 1:01 pm (#

    Your room looks amazing!!! :-) Such a great project! I wanna do it today! And I luv the truck idea! And I’m luvin your couch also!!! All of it is perfect!!! :-)

  23. Lynnette posted on July 23, 2012 at 5:58 pm (#

    Love Love Love it!! I just recently saw the idea of painting a rug on HGTV but you made it look so easy and actually DIYable (is that even a word?). Love the color you chose too. And I want that trunk! I’m hoping I can find that rug at Ikea because I want to try this for my grey and yellow dining room using that robin egg blue as the perfect contrast under the table!

  24. mrs.iHB @ posted on July 25, 2012 at 11:16 pm (#

    seriously going to IKEA to buy a rug now….awesome

  25. NanaDoll posted on July 27, 2012 at 7:33 am (#

    Love these ideas. Did you think about painting your existing rug? I wonder how it would work? If you “dispose” of the rug, it could be interesting to try painting the pattern or the space between? Love the way it turned out!

  26. Fran posted on August 9, 2012 at 10:57 am (#

    You did good! This was a very inspiring project, and I love the aqua blue!/Fran

  27. Carina Mena posted on August 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm (#

    Hi Jamielyn,
    Just wanted to share that we are converting our chest (which currently just sits on the floor and serves as a half-functional coffee table/storage chest) into a full coffee table thanks to this little inspiration! :)
    For other readers that consider it too, we found that “wood bun feet” were the best bet for small, thick legs that could support the weight, and provided more options than just Googling “wood table legs”. We found some awesome ones on Etsy and I’m stoked to have it set up this weekend! If you’d like, I’m happy to send before/after pics for your blog.

  28. Camille posted on September 5, 2012 at 6:21 am (#

    I am so happy that I found this post! My trunk looks very similiar and I am turning it into a coffee table as well!! Woo-hoo!

    :) Cheers.

  29. Bridget from Refined Vintage posted on September 13, 2012 at 7:44 am (#

    I love the Trunk coffee table, most people would just place the trunk and call it done, adding the feet really makes a difference, the rug is nice too, the aqua color goes nice with your furnishings,great post! I shared on my Facebook.

    • Jamielyn posted on September 13, 2012 at 8:55 pm (#

      Thanks Bridget, I really appreciate it! :)

  30. Dee White posted on September 18, 2012 at 9:00 am (#

    I love it! I have wanted my family/living room to look like yours for years. I have searched for the right sofa, rug, etc. My room has a beach/coastal theme. I’m wanting to know where you got your sofa. Thank you for these great ideas.

  31. bügeleisen automatische abschaltung posted on October 4, 2012 at 5:02 am (#

    Fantastic site. Lots of useful information here.
    I am sending it to several friends ans also sharing in delicious.
    And naturally, thanks to your effort!

  32. Tara posted on October 9, 2012 at 12:30 am (#

    Love what you’ve done! I just purchased a chest just like that one from the Goodwill today. I paid $5 for it and right now it’s purple. Trust it will not stay that color. As soon as I saw it I said to my daughter..”that’s going to be a coffee table”

  33. Barley Mills posted on November 20, 2012 at 10:23 am (#

    LOVE the rug and the old chest into a table!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have that exact same couch… same color and large-ness and cannot find the rug I want or the coffee table………… but I do have an old trunk. I am so doing this over the thanksgiving weekend!
    Thank U! For the inspiration

  34. Bridgette posted on March 4, 2013 at 8:36 am (#

    I was wondering where you got the floral fabric for your pillows? I’ve been looking online for material and I find it really hard to imagine what the fabric drawings will look like it person :/ but I love love that material its perfect! ..heeelp

    • Jamielyn posted on March 4, 2013 at 8:34 pm (#

      Hi Bridgette! I got it from Jo-Ann’s last year. They may still have it. :)

  35. Amanda A posted on April 14, 2013 at 11:43 pm (#

    I haven’t painted a rug but I’ve been trying to paint a chair. Do you think the Scotchguard stuff will work on the chair? I bought the stuff to turn my old trunk in to a table. Great idea :) I don’t have a webstie so it’s not letting me post without one.

    • Jamielyn posted on April 16, 2013 at 8:42 am (#

      Hi Amanda! Yes the scotch guard will work on a chair too. Good luck! Have a great week!

  36. Heather posted on June 16, 2013 at 7:39 pm (#

    I have a trunk almost identical to that one and am using it without feet as a coffee table right now. I was thinking of old glass door knobs as feet for it but haven’t worked out how to attache them yet

  37. Melissa posted on September 1, 2013 at 9:35 pm (#

    Thanks for posting! I used your advice to turn my $3 garage sale trunk find into a practical and vintage living room bench :)

    • Jamielyn posted on September 2, 2013 at 4:37 pm (#

      What a great use for your trunk, I bet your vintage bench turned out great!! :)

  38. Jennifer Davenport posted on January 15, 2014 at 4:56 pm (#

    I love the tutorial on turning a trunk into a coffee table! Shared it on Decorating Ideas Made Easy Facebook page!

  39. lesley kim posted on April 20, 2014 at 4:39 pm (#

    This is brilliant!! Thanks for sharing =) the finished product looks amazing!

  40. Aimee posted on May 26, 2014 at 3:51 pm (#

    What type of paint did you use to paint the rug? Is there one you would reccomend?

    • Jamielyn posted on July 23, 2014 at 9:49 pm (#

      Hi Aimee! I used a satin paint because it would still clean well! :)

  41. Sasha posted on June 25, 2014 at 4:19 pm (#

    Question: did you use a top plate of any kind before attaching the legs to the trunk? Great post!

    • Jamielyn posted on July 23, 2014 at 10:04 pm (#

      Hi Sasha! Nope, we just screwed it in. :)

  42. MJ posted on August 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm (#

    Jamie: I would have found the center of the rug measuring to both ends or side of the center(top/btm) then measured 4″ from the top and 4″ from the bottom then laid a yard stick from these measurements and drew a straight line either with pencil or a erasablr fabric marker continuing to the right then start from the left of your first measurement and continues to the left corner. Tape whenever you find it helpful after ea two markings or when you are done .

    • Jamielyn posted on August 13, 2014 at 6:42 pm (#

      Great tips, thank you!

  43. Ethel posted on November 7, 2014 at 3:49 am (#

    I have this trunk!
    How old do you think it is?
    I bought mine at a garage sale 45 years ago….and it was old then.
    Just found your site…enjoyed it.

    • Jamielyn posted on December 2, 2014 at 10:54 pm (#

      Hi Ethel! Wow, crazy that you have the same trunk! I got mine at a barn sale just a few years ago, so I’m not sure how old it is.

  44. Izabela posted on January 6, 2015 at 1:51 pm (#

    I love your ideas. Love my home and I’d like to make something new with our place to live. Regards Izabela

    • Jamielyn posted on January 13, 2015 at 7:32 pm (#

      Thank you Izabela! :)

  45. Lori posted on January 15, 2015 at 4:34 pm (#

    Very cute n creative. Thank you.

  46. Paige posted on January 17, 2015 at 8:44 am (#

    Thank you for the trunk idea!  I rescued a trunk off the side of the road, it looks exactly like this!  I’m planning on storing linens for the sleeper couch in it for the guest room! 

  47. Donna McDonald posted on January 31, 2015 at 11:33 am (#

    I have an old trunk very similar to yours.  I’m wondering what you used to get the metal latches, etc, shined up.  Also, what type of paint did you use on the trumk itself.
    Thanks for your help.
    Donna McDonald

    • Jamielyn posted on May 20, 2015 at 5:38 pm (#

      Hi Donna! I didn’t paint the trunk, but you could use a polycylic spray if you would like. I also didn’t need to shine it up, just gave it a good scrub! :)

  48. Tanya posted on March 1, 2015 at 9:02 am (#

    love the ideas. I have a couple of old trunks in my attic, time to revamp. Thanks.

  49. Ginger Hennig posted on March 12, 2015 at 2:46 pm (#

    My trunk is dirty and I’m sure it is moldy on the inside. How do I clean the outside, I plan to clean the inside and recover. 

  50. Ellen Freeman posted on March 13, 2015 at 12:20 pm (#

    did you do any thing to the top of the chest?

    • Jamielyn posted on May 20, 2015 at 6:27 pm (#

      Hi Ellen! No, I didn’t do anything to the top of the chest.

  51. Susie Spilman posted on March 30, 2015 at 6:16 pm (#

    My Grandmother was an antique dealer who gave me a trunk almost identical to yours. She told me this little secret. Use black shoe polish, the solid, buffing type. Will keep you trunk looking nice. Mine is mostly leather. Give her a try.

  52. NoreenS posted on May 1, 2015 at 12:52 pm (#

    I love the painted rug and the trunk table. I know I have a trunk somewhere that’s just dying to become part of the furniture! thanks for the idea.

  53. Pamela Widener posted on August 20, 2015 at 6:27 am (#

    Love the chest, I have an old green one from my grandparents.  Did u put a piece of glass on the top if it?

  54. Sandy posted on February 13, 2016 at 7:58 am (#

    I love the chest idea. I hav one but it’s old and has rust. Any idea how to make it look nice like yours?

    • I Heart Naptime posted on February 13, 2016 at 9:09 am (#

      I would sand the rust as much as possible, and either polyurethane it if you like the look, or prime and paint it with rust-proof, metal-safe primer and paint.

  55. Lotavel posted on September 15, 2017 at 9:16 pm (#

    But how do ypu wash the rag? Will the paint come off? I wanted to paint aome curtains but worried that when i washed it it will just come off. Thanks. 

    • Jamielyn posted on September 29, 2017 at 2:54 pm (#

      Hi! I just spot clean the rug as needed! With curtains it would last a lot longer than a rug too. :)