From rags to rugs

Simple throw rugs can give a room some character and panache. But good rugs are usually expensive. Maya Girish discusses ‘do it yourself’ rugs and the advantages of designing your own decor.

Ever since I became interested in interiors and decor, I can’t go without a dose of decor blogs at least thrice a week. Ironically, these decor blogs are also an instrument of torture – there are so many things I want and so many things I can’t afford, can’t find and can’t borrow. Then why not make it?

As there is increasing interest in the minds of homeowners, so is there a proportionate steep price in the minds of entrepreneurs. Most of the beautiful things we want are so expensive, it takes months of saving and scrimping to buy it...when the trend changes out, it goes. So why not go with DIY decor. 

This month I want a colourful rug! Something to spice up my room and brighten it up. After months of looking and finding nothing exciting, I stumbled upon exactly what I wanted on the ‘Apartment Therapy’ blog. Several pages of DIY rugs sprung to life before me and I had many happy moments browsing through all the different styles. It’s pretty simple. 

The choice of fabric really depends on what you want. You could use light cottons, khadi or hessian for light rugs and wool, rattan or rope for heavier rugs. You should think of how to procure the fabric and if it’s available in the local fabric stores. The fabric you need might also depend on whether the rug will be used outdoors or indoors. 

Canvas, jute or hessian rugs are great to have on porticos or verandahs, while softer fabrics like wools, rattan and cotton might be better for indoors. You should think of the texture of the fabric and what you need the rug for i.e. do you sit on the rugs or do you just walk on it? 

Are there children in the house? If there are, then softer fabrics are much more practical. If you want to be frugal, why not use old clothes or sarees to stitch together a fun rug?


There are many ways to make these rugs. One economical way of going about it is remodelling. You might have a rug that’s old but its rug gripper might still be usable. Then you only have to work on the design. Blogs like ‘Apartment Therapy’ and ‘High heeled foot in the door’ have very easy rug remodelling ideas. 

All you need to do is use the old rug gripper and cut your fabric to the same length. Pad the fabric with a few more layers or a white drop cloth and stitch or stick the different parts together.

Make some cardboard stencils with the design you desire and place it over the rug. Now use a can of spray paint or a roller brush and paint over the cardboard. Carefully remove the cardboard and voila you have the rugs of your dreams! Let it dry well and it’s ready to use. 

Another method can be used solely for wooly or Persian rugs. If you have a plain wooly or Persian rug, then why not shave it? You can use an electric razor to shave it in different designs before dyeing the shaved off areas with the colours you want. Otherwise just send the rug over for a new dye job and then shave it. 


The same method described above could be used while making new rugs. If you can’t find a store with rug grippers or drop clothes near by, then don’t fret. You use a plastic table cloth for glass tables as the base; they come with the same anti-slip coating below. You could also use old bamboo mats as a base by either sticking or stitching the ends of the mat and rug. 

Rubber also works wonders. You could use your baby’s old rubber sheets as the base for your rug, as long as you hem it correctly, your rug should look beautiful!

Do it yourself projects can be quite easy and fun-filled. You could also do it with the whole family. Why spend large amounts on the usual Persian rugs when you can give your home your own touch?

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