How to Paint a Rug on Concrete

If you’re a HGTV fan, you know how important outdoor living space can be to a home. That being said, I’m sure you can imagine we were less than impressed after our move when we learned our patio looked like this:

Luckily, our patio had potential. We have a great yard, and the concrete slab is nestled into a southwest facing corner. It’s taken a year and a lot of work, but our backyard is FINALLY somewhere we’re happy to grill.

Still haven’t mowed the lawn, though

In my opinion, the single best thing that we did was paint a rug on our terrasse. While this project consumed A LOT of time, if you have a few days to budget for it I highly recommend this patio makeover. This project was fun, budget friendly, and made a HUGE impact in our outdoor space. Here’s how you can paint a rug on concrete at your home!

Gather Supplies

To accomplish this project, you’ll need…

  • Cleaning supplies
  • Foam paint roller
  • Medium sized paint brush
  • Concrete sealant
  • Cement/Concrete paint in your base color (this is what we used)
  • Cement/Concrete paint in your rug color
  • Rug stencil (get ours on Etsy!)
  • Painter’s tape

If you would prefer to skip the stencil, I’ve seen some tutorials using masking tape.

Paint a Rug on Concrete

Day One

The first day could be the most or least satisfying part of this project, depending on how you feel about cleaning. To start, get your concrete as clean as possible. We used a power washer, but if you don’t have one available a scrub brush and/or mop will work fine too!

After letting your patch of concrete dry, it’s time to seal it. While there are a lot of good reasons to seal concrete, for this it’s done mostly to prevent moisture absorption. With the foam roller, thoroughly coat your surface, and let it dry for about a day. (Don’t forget to clean the roller!)

Day Two

Already looking better!

Day Two is for the base color! I just eyeballed the edges, but if you’re looking to be more precise you can tape the wall where it meets the floor. Our paint needed two coats and 12 hours to dry in between. I used the paint brush along the edges and for the ugly manhole lids, and the foam roller for the rest.

Day Three

Now for the good stuff. And by the good stuff I mean so much measuring.

All of our measuring let us know we wanted a row of the fringe on either side of our painted rug, and six rows of the other stencil. You may need to alter this base on the size of your table, but this basically gave us an 8×6′ rug.

The next step is to tape your stencil into position and start painting! Our stencil came with some tips on how to get the best results, but I think the most important thing is to make sure you don’t put too much paint on your roller. If there’s too much paint on the roller it will go under the edges of the stencil. You won’t get super sharp lines and you could potentially make a mess when you move the stencil. The best practice is to go over the stencil with multiple light layers of paint.

I was definitely nervous before we started the first piece, but my worries went away when we pulled up the stencil! I was so impressed by how the tassels turned out. However, this excitement quickly gave way to A LOT of waiting. For the next SIX HOURS we placed stencils, painted, removed removed the stencil, waiting for the paint to dry enough to set up the next section. I’m sure that there is probably a more efficient way to this, but Peter and I were having a great time hanging out in our newly nice backyard.

As we worked, we made sure to keep checking that everything was in line. If you are covering a large area, this is so important! Make sure everything lines up as you go, because it would be too easy to not notice that the edges of your rug are not parallel.

The Finished Product

When the last stencil came up, we couldn’t believe it. It. Looked. AWESOME. To make it feel more like a rug rather than a bunch of painted sections, we connected the pattern in the middle and all the way around the borders. We also considered adding some other little details in between the big diamonds, but in the end I’m glad we decided against it. More pattern would have just been too busy.

We still have a lot to do back here, but for now I’m so happy with how our painted rug turned out. I’m pretty sure Chimi is happy, too!

After you paint a rug on concrete, check out our €120 bathroom makeover!