rug

DAY 6 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Rug It Out

If you haven’t guessed it, I’m putting some much needed emphasis on how we outfit our homes. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars on ripping out rooms and replacing them when usually what would really help is some good decor.

Today’s challenge:

Find a New Rug

Rugs are actually so important to a home. They are like giant art for your floor and have to meet so many requirements. Not only do they have to look good, but they need to feel good. I’m kind of a rug junky, much the same as pillows. I hoard them. But, I do have a hard time picking out the perfect rug. And so I stopped trying to pick out the perfect rug because it doesn’t exist. Now I have a sort of system I go by which isn’t a system at all but just random thoughts I noticed I have in my head I’ve organized for you to read. Keep these things in mind when buying…

Photos of Rugs Suck

Photos of rugs are just terrible. They never show the texture very well. There are a handful of times I bought a rug in person, then looked it up to send someone a link and thought, “EW, I would’ve never bought this had I seen that photo.” The rug I have in my bedroom (pictured) is case and point. In the show room it was shown with the textural side up as I have it. It feels fluffy and soft. The way West Elm shows it online is not that cute at all, IMHO.

Other examples of fabulous in person rugs, but just meh online are the three below. The texture gets lost in them.

Every time I take a photo of a rug to post it or send it to someone, it comes out brighter and bolder than it actually is in person. I have noticed this about photos of rugs online as well so keep that in mind. It always helps to read some of the reviews to see what people see when in person.

Jute Wins Most Times

If I can’t find a rug that is going to perfect, which is usually ALWAYS, I can usually win out with a jute rug. I dig the natural fiber situation of course, but I also like that it is a neutral backdrop, it can go in almost any decor and the price is almost ALWAYS right. You can grab a nice 8x10 jute rug for under $200 and call it a day. My two go to jute rugs are this one from Amazon and this one from Wayfair. I also have this one from Pottery Barn which is priced a smidge higher but has a little interest to it (and also does not photograph well). I like that it adds a little pattern to the room and goes well with many decor styles. I had this in my bedroom once, but it’s now in my new Airbnb bedroom. It could farmhouse, cottage, beach, lake house, whatever. Same with the other jutes.

Another perk to neutral rugs is that they can move from room to room when you’re ready for a change. Sometimes the size won’t work, but more on that below...

Rug Size Is Hard

So, yeah you want it to be the right size but you can work with a rug that is not the perfect size. This is a weird section of this post because on one hand I want to tell you yes size matters. {chuckle} In most situations people buy rugs that are too small because the price is right(er). It’s easy to buy smaller because they are cheaper. But, then you have a situation where it looks like the sofa, bed or dining table are overpowering the rug. Lopsided. Heavy. More on how to make a smaller rug work later.

Tape off your floor with painter’s tape to see what would feel the best. If you need a huge rug, then read on…

Bold Rugs

I’m all for the bold rug but I cringe a bit when a room is overpowered by a huge bold crazy rug. For me I think Oh shit going to be hard to come back from that. I like to change my stuff up too often to commit to something like a that. If I do, it better be something special. And let’s face it, the special ones are usually going to cost you an arm and a leg. I tend to pick up a bunch of small colorful rugs anyway. They are just always around. So, I layer them on top of the jute rugs or neutral rugs I have on hand. That way I can have the jute rug to cover the floor and the bold special rug to lay nicely on top. If I don’t have a jute rug for underneath then I do the angled rug. Don’t knock it until you try it. It helps cover an area that would look far too naked if you hadn’t.

To find these smaller bold and sometimes vintage rugs I look around at thrift stores, estate sales (the best) and sometimes online. Usually I’m too cheap for that but some day I’ll get my KayaKilim. Some day.

Angled Rugs

Angled rugs don’t bother me one bit because I know what a certain rug looked like straight on. Sometimes it looks awkward to be so small and not covering enough area. For instance a 5x8 rug under a queen bed looks really stupid. There literally will not be any rug to step on, it will all be under the bed. But, pull it out and angle it a bit and now you have a styled rug that you can actually step on. Try it. If you still don’t like it, then you can un-angle it. No eyes or rugs will be harmed in the participation of angling rugs.

Used Rugs

I know many of you will poo poo used rugs because eww gross but get over yourself. I too was once a poo poo-er of used rugs until I decided I was too cheap and needing of rugs to be poo-poo-ing them. So, I started scooping up rugs at estate sales (fabulous for vintage and once very expensive rugs on a dime), second hand/vintage stores, Craigslist/Offer Up/Facebook Marketplace and thrift stores. I’d say my success rate with good rugs goes in that order as well. Thrift stores tend to get the shittiest rugs although I’ve found some good ones there, too. The angled rug in the photo at the top is a Craigslist score.

Now, let’s say you find a good rug but it’s dirty. In comes the good ole rentable carpet cleaner from the grocery store. If you’re too lazy for that, then drop your rug off at a cleaner or have a carpet cleaner come in. I’d rather spend $100 on cleaning a good $25 rug than spend $400-1000 on a new one. And remember some spots, holes and damage could end up under the furniture. Also, consider any of those things character. Vintage rugs with some wear is actually still pretty cool.

This giant 10x12 rag rug was purchased at Goodwill for $25 and cleaned with a rented grocery store carpet cleaner for $40.

Sell Rugs

Got a rug you are just over? Sell it! If you can buy one on Craigslist or Offer Up, you can certainly sell one. Don’t forget to use words like modern, boho, contemporary, etc. so people can find it. As you can imagine I buy, hoard, sell and trade rugs all the time. I almost always have some at 3 Vintage Chicks and a couple listed for sale. I’m a revolving door of rugs. What I’m getting at is don’t get too nervous about committing to a rug. You can always sell it.

This is what is so special about not finding the most special rug. LOL. You feel fine about having them come and go. Maybe you don’t think of this as a hobby like I do, but don’t get too upset if a rug isn’t working out. Sell it. Move on. If you are finding rugs that are pretty inexpensive, you’ll feel less obligated to keep it for the long haul. If you lose a little money on one, you’ll probably make up for it on the next one. Don’t get hung up on the few dollars lost.

Ok, that’s all I have to say about rugs. Show me your rug finds by using #updatedon’trenovatechallenge!

Miss a challenge? You can get them all here.

Kitchen Redesign: A Rustic Modern Kitchen

When we're not renovating houses, we're doing new designs for those who want to tackle the renovations on their own. A client asked us to put together something for her dining room and kitchen. She filled out our quick questionnaire and sent us some photos. Game on!

The Needs

"We need to move the washer/dryer- with this, we will be re-designing the eat in space of the kitchen. We're also looking to update the kitchen cabinets and floor. We don't have an extensive budget, but we are learning to be handy. We recently moved in to this house, and there's a chance we may move again in the next 5 years. So, we're looking for something functional for our family but not too custom that could potentially hurt the resale appeal. We are hoping to paint the kitchen cabinets white and change the floor of the kitchen."

The Room

Laundry closet in kitchen

The Design

When I saw this kitchen and dining area, I immediately knew what to do. Simple and clean lines of white cabinets and white backsplash would appeal to many buyers and won't be out of style within her 5 year timeline. A hint of color in the furnishings and window treatments would add a little fun without any permanency. 

The Roadmap 

  1. Cabinets: Let’s start with the most important part. We recommend leaving most of the cabinets, but paint them a nice crisp white. Behr’s Ultra Pure White is a good choice. To open up the space a bit, remove the cabinets to the left of the window, eliminating the awkward and bulky cabinet that sticks out over the peninsula. Ideally, the soffit would go, too but that could be costly. It’s ok to stay as it is. 
  2. Counters and Door Hardware: From your photos, it appears that you have black granite counters and stainless cabinet pulls/hinges that could remain and work with the new look.
  3. Flooring: To get the rustic look, use a tile that looks like worn wood. It will hold up well with the traffic in the kitchen and dining area. 
  4. Backsplash: Tile the backsplash with a simple white subway tile. It is classic, modern and inexpensive. White grout will give it a clean, simplistic look while a dark gray grout will give it a little more interest. Carry the backsplash from the refrigerator on the right, all the way to the peninsula on the left of the sink. We recommend carrying it all the way to the soffit where the cabinets to the left of the sink used to be. 
  5. Shelving: Replace the cabinets that were removed with open shelving. We like black brackets with a pine board painted white on top. If you will use the shelves for dishes, make sure it is deep enough to hold your dinner plates (10-12”). Keep the items on the shelves to a few neutral items to keep from looking cluttered. 
  6. Faucet: Replace the faucet with a modern stainless goose neck version.
  7. Laundry: Decide on whether to move the laundry to the basement. Several things to consider are: 
    • Do she really need more storage in the kitchen? 
    • Will moving the laundry to the basement be a huge inconvenience being further from the bedrooms?
  8. Closet: If she does decide that she'd like more storage in the kitchen and move the laundry to the basement, consider installing the same wire shelving that is in the pantry. This closet could be used to house small appliances such as the stand mixer, bulky serving ware and other items not used daily. Also good for this closet would be supplies used on the dining table for homework or craft time.
  9. Dining Area: A rustic wood table with a metal base will be great for meals as well as hold up to every day use. Add some interest with colorful metal chairs and an orb pendent light fixture. The rug could be used to add softness to the room, but could be left out in case kids will be dropping lots of food on it. 
  10. Windows: Bring out the bright color used in the dining chairs again in the window shades. Choose a geometric pattern that is lively for a roman shade over the kitchen sink and the same matching fabric in curtains in the dining area.

The Numbers

Along with the design and road map, she received a spreadsheet with the locations of all the items in the mood board, quantities she'll need for her space and the total cost to purchase the items for the 2 rooms. The total came to $2210, not including any labor costs and building materials.

What many of our clients do is use this as a starting point. We find middle ground priced materials at realistic costs, not best case scenarios. This way, if they find a coupon for Lowes or a similar tile at a discount store, they're going to come in under budget. Win-win!