Inexpensive flooring ideas for the rustic look

Written by isaiah david
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Inexpensive flooring ideas for the rustic look
Save money with inexpensive rustic flooring. (floor image by Einar Bog from

Your flooring can set the tone for the whole room. A folksy, rustic floor will help give your room a relaxed decor which is both friendly and attractive. Before you spend a fortune on antique stone or vintage floor boards, take a look at some inexpensive, do-it-yourself rustic flooring solutions.

Rustic Faux Leather Floor

If you are on a tight budget, the rustic look you want may be as close as the old grocery bags sitting on your kitchen shelf. Reuse paper bags to give your old vinyl floors the look of vintage leather. Begin by washing your floor with TSP or some other vinyl cleaning solution mixed with water. Go over it with a damp mop to rinse it, then leave it to dry out. While your floor is drying, begin to tear up your paper bags into irregular pieces with rough edges. The pieces should be between 6 to 24 inches in length and width. Crumple each piece up, then lay it on the ground and smooth it out. Make a pile with enough pieces to coat your entire floor. Cut some pieces with one straight side to line the edge of the floor and crumple them as you did the other pieces.

When the floor has dried, paint a thin layer of polyurethane in one spot near the edge of the floor. Place a piece of bag on top of it so that the straight side lines up with the edge of the floor, press it down and paint a thin layer of polyurethane on top of the piece. Paint an adjacent patch of floor and lay a second piece down so that it overlaps the first. Then, paint the top of that piece with poly. Continue until the room is covered with a patchwork of paper bag pieces. Let it sit for an hour and apply a second coat of poly on top of the floor. Repeat two more times so that there are four layers of polyurethane on the floor in total. Then, keep everyone out of the room for 24 hours so the polyurethane can dry.

Hand-Distressed Floor

Purchasing old, rustic boards for your floor can be involved and, depending on the wood, quite expensive, but distressing your existing wood floor to give it an aged look is quite inexpensive. Start by rubbing a 2 foot square of floor with a wet cloth or mop. Scrape the wet area with a paint scraper, first scraping with the wood grain and then against it. Wet another square of floor and scrape it as you did the first square. Continue until you've wet and scraped the entire floor. Then, distress the wood. Crawl on your knees and hit it in random places with a metal chain. Gouge it with a crow bar or metal file, scratch it with a paint scraper and otherwise abuse your floor until it is covered with a variety of random scars. Sweep and vacuum it thoroughly and mop it with a damp mop to clean up any residual dust. Finally, coat it with the stain of your choice according to the instructions included. Finish by sealing the floor with several coats of polyurethane.

Rustic Rugs and Mats

If you don't want to go through the expense of redoing your whole floor but want to add some rustic accents, use mats and rugs to get the job done. Add a selection of log cabin accent rugs, rag rugs or thatch match to give your room a lodge, frontier or island rustic look. Add rustic accessories to your room at floor level or on low tables to compliment the look, such as wood carvings of nature scenes, tiki masks, antler floor lamps and other folk-art decorations.

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