Cheap Rugs and Wallpaper Musings

I’m sure I’ve talked about this before, but back at our old house, we had the most beautiful rug in all the world in our living room. At least that’s how I remember it. It was a big old oriental rug, mostly red, worn down just perfectly. It made the room feel so cozy, and it made my feet happy, and I loved it.

Then our dog, Oliver, who was as fine an example of a dog as the rug was of a rug, got old. The rug did not fare well under these circumstances, and, by the time it occurred to me that we really ought to get the rug out of there and put it somewhere safe until Oliver wasn’t around anymore, it was too late (for the rug, not Oliver, who lived on for quite awhile after he’d ruined the rug, to the ripe old age of sixteen).

I miss Oliver more than I miss the rug, but they were both painful losses.

Our current living room has been rugless since we moved in. The whole room, in fact, is sort of a giant pit where we watch TV and toss things that don’t go anywhere else. We were lucky enough to have Katja from Shift Ctrl Art here for a few hours the day after the Haven conference, and, when we were showing her around and made it the living room she said, “now is this room on your blog?”

It is not, in its current state, a blogworthy room. (It IS on the blog, sort of. I mean, not very often, but I don’t deliberately keep it a secret. It has a quick picture on the house tour page).

It’s been in the queue for a full scale makeover for quite awhile, but it desperately needs a new sofa, which isn’t a tiny thing or a DIY project, so it’s had to wait. But today the living room is finally getting a little bit of love!

I’ve had my eye out–and asked my mom to keep her eye out–for a rug for this room. And the other day, my mom called from Goodwill to tell me she’d found one that might work. Then I had to wait impatiently for days and days to see the rug, because it was too big for our van and my mom’s van kept being full of stuff. But it finally got here earlier this week, and it was worth the wait.

The red is brighter and cheerier than the red in my old rug, and there are a ton of other colors in it, too, which I think will work well with the flow from the library in the front of the house (which connects via a wide arched opening to this room). I had always kind of pictured darker colors in the living room, but, really, it kind of has a cave-like feeling that could use some brightening up. Anyway–here’s the rug! (with bonus orange cat coming out of the fireplace)

rug1small rug3small

The thing I like most about the rug is how much it emphasizes the ugliness of the poofy brown couches. Please go away, poofy brown couches. And leave behind piles of money to buy a new couch with. You are not even comfy.

Also, I didn’t notice until the rug had been here a good twelve hours that there are DEER peeking out in every corner. Hello deer!


Okay, so the thing about this rug? It was $20! Actually more like $15 because my stepfather got a veteran’s discount. And actually more like free for me because my mom told me not to worry about it when I tried to pay her back for it. Hooray! More money for the Replace the Ugly Couches fund!

Even though this room has to wait in line behind our master bathroom (and a secret surprise room makeover that I’ll be talking about starting next month), new rugs make me want to pick out wallpaper. Of course.

I got all excited when I saw the rug in the room because I was sure I had already pinned the PERFECT wallpaper to go with it months ago:

marimekko cows

Marimekko Iltavilli from Wallpaper Direct

So then I was all, “Dave! I know the perfect wallpaper! Let me show you! I think you’ll love it, too!”

And I showed him and Dave said, “I don’t really like it.”

But I’m totally right, aren’t I? COWS! I mean, look at them!

I was disappointed that Dave was so anti-whimsy, but I did want him to be happy with our wallpaper, so I rounded up a few more potential picks.

I like the idea of black and white, so I focused on that. (I’m thinking wallpaper just on the wall around the fireplace, btw. Unless I get carried away. Which does happen. From time to time).


Marimekko Linnanpuisto


Arthouse Dante Motif


Marimekko Oodi

Dave thought the last one was too busy. I kind of love it, though. With the disclaimer that I’ve never picked wallpaper before, and I might be terrible at picturing what it will look like on a whole wall.

Okay, so I showed him those boring PLANT wallpapers with no cows at all, then he surprised me by liking these next two the best:


Albany Mad Dogs


Albany Trip

So he has no objections to whimsy in general, just cows in particular? Actually, I’m pretty sure these last two are even MORE whimsical, so maybe the cow whimsy wasn’t aggressive enough for him? That Dave–he’s a puzzle.

I haven’t decided on a wallpaper yet (votes and suggestions are very welcome!) but I have decided that shopping for wallpaper is the FUNNEST THING IN THE WORLD. There’s a flamingo in a top hat reading a newspaper in that last one. I’m not sure if you noticed.


Cheap Rugs and Wallpaper Musings — 28 Comments

  1. that rug has deer?!?!?! oh i am jealous! if you figure out how to get furniture to leave while leaving behind money, let me know. ok?
    and i love that cow paper, too! i have seen it and loved it but worried that the irony of it would be lost on my friends here. since we live in an area with lots of cows. 😉

    • We USED to live around a lot of cows, but now we’re MILES from any cows, so probably I should just go ahead and order that wallpaper right now. Before Dave gets home 😉

  2. So I thought I was too busy following the link for the last wallpaper to comment, then I noticed the price and had to. Ummm, it’s cheap! That or the Oodi paper would be amazing (as long as the flowers were large scale). I hope you go forward with this, I love to see people wallpapering, especially since I’m at least a decade away from being able to….

    • Isn’t it cheap?! I didn’t get into prices when I wrote the post, since I’m still just kind of at the point of pinning everything I find appealing, but that’s definitely a point in favor of flamingos in hats over the marimekko choices.

  3. I’m with Dave on the cows. Wish I could tell you why, but I guess I’m as inarticulate on this as he is! But he and I aren’t totally on the same wavelength because I kinda love that busy one, too. 🙂 And I’m so jealous of your rug! I’d waited for more than a year to stumble upon a perfect, thrifted rug for our family room, and finally did. Thought I got a steal, but nothing like yours!

  4. What a beautiful rug. I really love the cow wall paper, but I wonder if one would get tired of it too quickly. It’s is a bit of work getting it up. Iove all your picks! And thanks so much for pointing out the flamingo in the top hat. That made me smile 🙂

    • I could never get tired of my beloved cows ;). And I just realized I forgot to make your blog name in this post a link, because I fail blogging 101. I fixed it now, so prepare yourself for the onslaught of pageviews. It will probably crash your server ;).

  5. I love your rug. Jealous!!! I’m with Dave on the cows. They are all looking at me, and they seem slightly hostile. But I love the Albany Mad Dogs a whole lot. Albany Trip is awesome, but I would maybe get tired of it. Or in less whimsical wallpaper, I like the Arthouse Dante. I find it soothing. But definitely I think only the one wall. The room isn’t all that big.

  6. I love the cows, but not in there, I think. Maybe if you do a cowboy room for Abe, as you have mentioned? Isn’t there any deer wallpaper, to go with your new rug? Can’t wait to see it and you!

    • I think maybe I’m going to have to wallpaper a special secret closet somewhere, where I can go to be alone with my poor, misunderstood cows 😉

  7. That rug rocks lady!!! It is just stunning and you are killing me….15 bucks!!! I have been thinking wallpaper for our living room but can’t decide which yet…Loving the choices you have up there…even the cows! Good luck and keep us posted!!! Nicole xo

  8. Love, love the rug AND price. I have had my eye out for something similar. I think the paper with the anthropomorphic animals would be AMAZING with the rug!! It has just a bit of color mixed in that would pick up the colors in the rug.

    • We were trying to figure out what they are! Maybe lemurs? Meerkats? I’m going to have to look up some photos and compare features 🙂

  9. Albany. Go big (and crazy) or go home. I would say just don’t play it safe because I think you’ll love it the more crazy you go. File this under random advice from Amber.

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