Looking to liven up your room with a floor cloth? This easy DIY will show you exactly how to create your own pattern to match your room for under $25.

How to paint a floor cloth on a budget

Have you ever noticed what’s old in decorating is sometimes new again?

Kind of like stirrup pants.

A long time ago in a land far away we rented our first apartment.

We showed up with a 12-piece place-setting of china, crystal stemware, enough silverware for a small hotel, a really nice coffee maker and stacks of towels…

…and an old iron bed my in-laws gave us.

This floor cloth looks fabulous and chic in this living room

The rest?

We had to invent.

We had to make it all up as we went along.

So I found an old sofa and covered it with sheets and found a coffee table in the trash and painted all the mismatched furniture that one no else wanted from the thrift store white…

….and painted floor cloths just like this and created rugs for almost nothing.

This floor cloth was so easy (and inexpensive) and transforms the look of the room

And now?

I just saw a high-end floor cloth similar to this for almost $500.



There’s no need to spend that when you can still paint your own for under $25.

The secret?

The secret is pre-cut sections of linoleum

Look no farther than the flooring section of your hardware store.

They sell pre-cut sections of linoleum just like this between $19.99-$24.99.

You can find them in the back behind the rugs–all rolled up in plastic.

Just waiting to live life on the floorcloth Riviera.

Here's the whole piece so you can see the full pattern

Here’s the entire floor cloth so you can get an idea of the overall pattern I painted.

Two project disclaimers before we get started.  The edges of the floorcloth are still slightly rolled up because it hasn’t had time to sit under eight encyclopedias yet…

…but you get the basic idea.

This is a super basic pattern.

I didn’t even make my squares into diamonds.

But you are so much fancier than me.

You can add a monogram in the center in a circle or add tiny squares in the border or add stripes to the middle instead of checks.

Once you have the basic idea, the world is your floor cloth oyster.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to color and pattern for your room

How to paint a floor cloth

Here’s floorclothing 101:

1. Buy a piece of 6″ x 9″ linoleum from the hardware store flooring section

(note:  if you need a bigger rug, you can always have a piece cut off the roll, but it will be slightly more expensive).

2. Flip it over.

3. Prime it.

4. Let dry.

5. Paint

Paint the entire back of the linoleum white (or whatever you want one of your squares to be).

Here is the full pattern to paint your floorcloth

5. Draw

Draw out your pattern with a pencil.  Here’s a rough sketch of mine.  The border is 10″.  The inner border is 2″ and the squares are 12″ x 12″.

6. Tape the outer border

Tape off the outer border first.  Paint it dark gray.  Let dry.

7. Tape the inner border

Tape off the inner border next.  Paint it black.  Let dry.

8. Tape the squares

Tape off every other square. Paint it light gray.  Let dry.

9. Seal

Seal the floor cloth with water-based polyurethane.

You’ll probably need two or three coats, just to make it extra durable.

Here's another look at the end result- all for less than $25

Here’s one more look at the finished floor cloth.

Cutest-looking $25 ever.

Almost as cute as stirrup pants….

….and the blue eye shadow that went with them. 🙂

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  1. Image for Diane | An Extraordinary Day Diane | An Extraordinary Day

    LOVE IT!!! Seriously, Kari Anne you are too clever. It IS gorgeous. I love the checkerboard... no diamonds needed for me. The beauty of this floor "cloth" is that it will be less "tripable" than the one I made of fabric. ;) Hope you and your family have a blessed Resurrection celebration! xo

  2. Image for Marka Bennett Marka Bennett

    So glad you revived this easy, inexpensive way of floor-clothing! I've done this for several years for all different kinds of applications...in my home, on the porch, in bathrooms (easy to clean), in dining rooms and kitchens...but also for temporary or one-time uses for events, especially weddings! I have created a monogram to use at the ceremony site where the bride and groom stand...or a large circle (had to purchase a larger piece and cut it into a circle) for the first dance at the reception. I've used the Lowe's/Home Depot pieces for painted backdrops for photos. So many uses....so inexpensive! I also like the fact that it isn't as "tripable" as the previous commenter said. And they last for a very very long time...and can even be painted over and over again!

  3. Image for PJ PJ

    Thank you for sharing this project. I may try this soon for my farmhouse dining room. Now can you please work on bringing stirrup pants back? ;)

  4. Image for Gloria Gloria

    When I unroll the piece I place it with the curled edges down on the driveway in the sun. After a couple of hours it is completely flat. The sun softens all the "wrinkles" out. Don's put it on an uneven area, like grass or it will be wavy. Then when flat paint.

  5. Image for Michelle Michelle

    What a clever idea! And it works in the room perfectly. But then, that's why you did it, right? Duh! Thanks for the instructions...my floor rug is looking a bit worn and I'm a bit tired of the pattern. And I'm all for chic on a budget ;-)

  6. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    Super-cute!!!!! I have a friend who is renovating an old house to use as a vacation rental - lots of hunters in our neck of the woods - and this would be so cute in that house!!!!

  7. Image for Pamela Pamela

    I love painting on the back of linoleum remnants too. And they are fairly simple to cut to size if the size they come in is not a good fit. The tutorial I did was in tuscan colors with fruits and veggies on it. My kitchen was those colors then. I have been planning to paint another for my dining room I just need to settle on what colors I want to use. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    This rug is great! I have lots of canvas yardage stashed to stretch for paintings (& for floor cloths) but this is really cool ~ I like it much better! And for PJ ~ sseems stirrups are already back! I've gotten emails from a couple fashion bloggers w/ads for them, and they're always sold out when linking to a retailer. So guess *somebody* will be wearing them this Fall! Our KariAnne, as usual, is ahead of the game! Hugs ... !!!

  9. Image for Alice Hanson Alice Hanson

    KariAnne, just love your floor cloth. I went a step further and made Valances with scollop edges? I loved the easy painting on the sturdy " floor cloth". It is fun! Thank you for posting a "reto ? idea"! Smiles, Alice

  10. Image for Ruth Ruth

    This is the summer I will get my floor cloth done. Bought a heavy, large cotton rug with pink & blue bows on it. Plan to paint gesso or primer on the back and then stencil a pot of geraniums as a border all around, did I say for my back porch? Loving your background wall - is it picture frames hung & painted the same color as the wall?

  11. Image for Char Char

    Love your creative use of sheet vinyl. Yes, that is sheet vinyl in the photo not linoleum (linoleum has a jute back).

  12. Image for Patricia Patricia

    Love the ease of changing things up with a painted floorcloth. Last summer I painted black and white stripes on one and added grommets all the way around so I could tie on some colorful pom poms. I put it on the front porch and the UPS guy rang my doorbell to ask where I purchased it from!

  13. Image for Mary Stewart Mary Stewart

    I'd like to know if you are using Gesso to prime the back or just regular flat ceiling or white wall paint? Does it matter if paint is flat, semi-gloss etc., or does it have to be acrylic paint? Can deck paint be used for more durability or am I over thinking this process? One last question, can the cloth be used on the outside deck or do you think the sun/weather will destroy it?

  14. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    YES!! I need to do this again! I love it. Perfect solution for so many locations. Thanks for the inspiration, friend!!

  15. Image for Julie B. Julie B.

    Super cute, Karianne! I'm thinking this would not do well placed on carpet? I'm thinking where furniture is, it would 'bulge' upwards. What do you think?

  16. Image for Michele @ Thistledown Domestic Creations Michele @ Thistledown Domestic Creations

    This is so perfect! I'm getting ready to yank up the 20 year old builder grade carpet in my blogging office and was only going to paint the subfloor...but, now...I can paint a floor cloth to go in here until I can afford new flooring! Love it! As always, you rock girlfriend! p.s. Stirrup pants were the ultimate comfort wear!

  17. Image for Dianne Lanier Dianne Lanier

    I painted a floor cloth for my first apartment too. That was 50 years ago, and I had completely forgotten. We need a rug on our covered porch, and this would be perfect. Thanks for jogging an old girl's memory!!

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