Living Room Update: Plain, Safe White = Boring?

The living room is secretly getting an overhaul without us even realizing it. As we’ve been concentrating on the new office/guestroom, I’ve casually found items to diy, that are on sale or while Craigslist shopping that happen to be on my ‘living room list,’ and have slowly added them to the mix. But without meaning to, really!

It started with this new mantel, then I jazzed up the new mantel with the mirror from the dining room and decor from the garden (more on that soon…), then added these new cloth napkin throw pillows, after that was a new lamp for the office – but it came in pairs so one ended up in the living room, and just this week – a new rug! For a mere $75, including the super sweet rug pad.

The rug came about quite accidentally. We’ve had the same chenille jute rug since moving in about three years ago and it definitely has seen better days. In fact, I can tell you with certainty which stain on the rug was associated with which unsupervised Bodie incident. Now Bodie is a great dog – never was a chewer and is usually quite obedient around the house. But if we leave him for an extended period of time and there’s, say, See’s candy on the dining room table, or an irresistible bowl of faux orange pumpkins for Halloween, he’ll help himself, settle down into the rug and create a ridiculous mess. Stomach issues aside, he’s inevitably ashamed when we get home and discover the new carpet spot. Bad dog.

This photo is pre-spots – but the circles show where the pumpkin and See’s suckers became engrained in our rug for all of eternity. We tried steam cleaning but it’s not recommended nor really possible on a natural fiber rug. We tried flipping the rug to hide the stains, but low and behold we had already used that trick for a spilled something a couple of years ago.

SO with Liv now crawling I’ve been on the look out for a new rug that would meet some criteria:

  • Cheap! (we’re not ready to shell out $500-1000 for the traditional 8×10 rug)
  • Soft and plush (no more jute – even though chenille jute is soft, we want something softer for little knees)
  • Must be a cut pile rug (Bodie’s shedding gets caught in flat weave or dhurrie rugs which is such a shame, plus the cut pile rug means we can use a carpet cleaner on it, something you just can’t do with jute. And for us that’s huge.)

I really wanted something with a little interest and I have kept my eyes open for a great patterned rug.

But finding one on a small budget was tough. That plus a pattern that I thought would work well in the room.

And then I fell in love with stripes. How great would a striped rug be?

The above striped rug (in the Bower Power living room) is on sale for $159! Alas it’s a flat weave rug meaning Bodie’s shedding hair will be forever embedded in the fibers and your random stains won’t come up with a steam carpet cleaner (our favorite friend). The above right rug is from and while it’s cut pile, it was still to pricey for us right now.

I decided the CSN Nate Berkus chevron rug was perfect before I discovered it was both sold out and flat weave.

Time was a ticken’ (who knew Liv would crawl so soon) and I needed to find something that would work well in the space while meeting all of our criteria. Then I discovered this living room on Houzz:

Maybe a white rug wasn’t so boring after all? Maybe it was a great neutral that would both brighten up our living room and meet all of our needs in terms of cost, ease of cleaning (if it was cut pile we could use a shop vac and water to get those stains right up – it works wonders on white!) and could be found in a soft material for crawling?

I reached out to the designer of the above room on Houzz (a very cool feature, by the way) and this was a pricey pricey rug. But! I decided to track a cheaper version down anyway. It wouldn’t have that beautiful diamond pattern but heck, I needed a kid-friendly rug.

My first instinct was to see if Craigslist offered any options that were still in great shape. Low and behold! An Ethan Allen white cut pile rug for $100. The seller offered $75 if I picked it up right away, and to my surprise, it came with a really thick rug pag (Note: rug pads are awesome. Rug pads should never be skimped on, they make the biggest difference in softness and help to plump up even the cheapest, thinnest of rugs to help pass as the more expensive version!).

When the rug was home and rolled out it looked surprisingly like the carpet we had just installed in the new office. As in identical. Then I began thinking… we actually have remnants left over from that installation that would probably be the right size. A little research revealed a measly $2/foot will get you a brand new, bound carpet rug from a remnant shop.

So when this lovely gets too many baby & dog stains to keep up with, it’s replacement is waiting in the garage. And the price? Probably around $60 to have the edges bound.

Bodie digs the new rug and couldn’t wait to try it out.

You can’t beat perfect-condition, $75 rug that comes with a rug pad (probably more than $75 itself) that is both pet and baby friendly. One day we may get that striped or patterned rug, but for today this is a great solution.

The coffee table is missing in the above shot, for the moment we have it pushed up against the front window so that there’s premium crawling/entertaining space for Liv.

My main focus is still the office/guestroom – man I can’t wait to have that finished, though I do love the process. But as new little treasures are found for the living room, we’ll see what design ideas grow!

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  1. Mary M says

    Speaking of great rug finds, where did you find the lovely rug in Liv’s room? I’m decorating a nursery as we speak and the rug you chose is exactly what I’m hoping to purchase.

    • Morgan says

      Hi Mary,
      The rug from Liv’s room is actually from Lowe’s – it was a super deal. Good luck!


  2. says

    I did this in my living room…a remnant from Home Depot. It was 8 years ago, but if memory serves, it was more to bind the rug than it was for the rug itself! I’m very sick of mine, but I have no problem throwing it away, since it was less than $100 for a 10×10 rug (also, an impossible size to find, unless you go custom. Even a new broadloom in this size is $2000)
    Looks great, too!!

  3. says

    Great choices! I’m sure that Liv will love the plush rug. It’s fun to see the process behind the decision making too!

  4. Morgan says

    Thanks so much for the feedback! Craigslist is so handy when great items make themselves readily available (and such a time warp when not!) :).


  5. says

    I wish we had an amazing Craigslist in Australia (we do but you can’t find anything good on it). Great find and I can’t wait to see how everything turns out.

  6. says

    it looks amazing! what a great find. i haven’t been so lucky on craigslist lately, but you inspire me to keep hunting!

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