How To: Give an Inexpensive Door Mat a Welcoming Modern Makeover

How To: Give an Inexpensive Door Mat a Welcoming Modern Makeover

My hardwood floors took a beating this winter. All the in-and-outs with the snow, salt, and drippy boots left a dull, gray haze over the major traffic areas. So, I went to the local home improvement center to get a door mat, and guess what - there wasn't a one that could be considered "contemporary" and certainly not modern. All the nice ones were covered with Celtic designs, and puppy paw prints, and weird flowers...and the plain ones were this terrible chemical-laden black plastic that looked like it was more interested in welcoming folks to a factory rather than as guests to my house.   So, I searched around the internet for plain coir (made from coconut shells) mats I might dress up, and learned they were like $30.00 for a standard size. Then I did what most DIYers would do - went to IKEA (land of big boxes and low prices). I snagged a basic, large coir mat for $8.00, and picked up a can of spray paint on the way back. Add an hour of work, and you've got a custom, mod mat that you whipped up yourself.

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Materials and tools:

  • Plain, flat pile coir door mat; I used the IKEA TRAMPA. If you don't have an IKEA nearby, check your local independent hardware stores, like family-owned Ace or Do-It-Best; they might have a similar product. I couldn't find suitable ones at Lowe's, Home Depot, or Sears.
  • Straight edge and utility knife
  • Contact paper
  • Spray adhesive
  • Spray paint
  • Pencil, marker, and scissors

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1. The IKEA TRAMPA is actually quite large, which makes it a great deal, but would look silly on my front porch. Since contact paper is 18" wide, I cut my mat to a managable 18 x 30" size using a yard stick and utility knife.

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2. Next, lay out a large piece of contact paper that's cut a bit bigger than your mat. I cut mine to a length 34", and then drew a line 2" from each edge to indicate the actual size of the mat.

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3. Then, use a pencil to lay out your pattern. I freehanded a modern, organic/geometric sorta thing, but you could find a pattern online and transfer it with an overhead projector or graphite transfer paper.

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4. Once you're happy with your pattern, go over your cut lines with a heavy marker. I also labeled my inner shapes with numbers so as to keep everything organized:

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5. Then, cut out your pattern. Remember that any solid shapes of contact paper will remain natural coir, and any negative spaces will recieve the paint.

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You can also do multiple colors, but will need to mask the areas a second time so the first color doesn't get painted over. It looks like a lot of work, but it only took me about twenty minutes or so.

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6. Carefully lay out your stencil, then peel away the backing, and add a coat of spray adhesive. Contact paper is not very sticky, especially on the rough coir surface, so take care to make sure each piece is fully adhered.

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7. Shake the paint well, and holding it about 12" from the mat, spray on an even coat. It's best to spray as perpendicular to the surface as you can, so that the force of the paint presses down against the stencil, rather than underneath it.

Your paint will soak into the coir fibers a bit, so wait a minute or two, then spray on a bit more where the color looks lighter. If you cut your mat to size, and have some scrap, it's a good idea to practice and learn how your particular paint responds to the texture.

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Then, just allow it to dry for three or four minutes, and carefully remove each stencil piece. Let the paint dry fully according to the can's directions, and then take it outside!



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kekillion on Jan 27, 2015:

I have an old coir mat that's multi color stripes but it no longer goes where we need it. Could I potentially do something like this where I cover the whole thing essentially with paint? Or would it then no longer work as a door mat? Would love your insight! Thanks in advance ;)

Esben on Jul 16, 2013:

This is awesome, thanks for putting up good instructions :)

Anonymous on Feb 29, 2012:

Looks great! I'm all about easy and fast- couldn't you just use a stencil and spray paint instead of actually designing and cutting out all of that contact paper? Just a thought!

Chris Gardner on Sep 06, 2011:

Nicole - Nope. I've had this guy outside for months now, and it's been rained, snowed, and hailed on. The colors are as pure as they've ever been, and I definitely haven't noticed any paint coming off when walked on.

Nicole on Sep 06, 2011:

Will the spray paint come off on  your shoes?

Jose P on May 27, 2011:

Awesome, simple and open for many so many interpretations. Great idea!

CapreeK on Apr 04, 2011:

Nicely done, sir!

elseajane on Apr 04, 2011:

Great look Chris. I really enjoy the organic nature of the freehand design. I knew something like this was possable but didn't really know Where to start. Thanks for telling us. EJ

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