Friday, July 25, 2014

4 Reasons Why I Decided NOT To Use A Rug In My Living Room

4 reasons why i decided not to use a rug in my living room

I'm going to share a little story with you today. A story about a living room and a hardwood floor and a woman who secretly wanted a rug...really, really bad. Our main character in the story is also a woman who longs to create an inviting home for her family and friends; where little ones play and friends feel welcome, and where life-giving conversations happen & beauty abounds.

living room with no rug

For over two years I've secretly longed for a rug to put in our living room. I knew that wise decorators would tell me that a rug would ground the space, help define it and also break up the long living room.

living room with no area rug

I totally agree and wished that there was a way to put a rug in our living room. Yet rugs are expensive. Especially when you need a large one and with a $50 per month decor/DIY budget there is only so much I can do and making my own area rug isn't one of them. We haven't done everything in our home using just that $50 budget. Things like remodeling our bathroom took having some important conversations and years of saving. In fact, one thing that I hope that you get out of reading this blog is that transformation takes time and saving and having important conversations and compromise and being content.


I could pretend that it was that easy and that I was super content with my living room as is, but really...I still wanted a rug. 

Then last week a fellow blogger and self-taught decorator that I love, Jackie from Teal and Lime, shared a picture on her facebook page of what her living room looked like with and without her rug. I couldn't believe how great the space looked WITH the rug. 

I suddenly (as if I had no choice) found myself in Target roaming the rug aisle (for the eleventh time in four months) and staring at the same rug that I've looked at multiple times wondering...is this the one? Since I am such a visual person I convinced myself that I should bring it home and try it. 

But how are you going to justify paying for that $200 rug, Sarah?

Details...details...I can always figure that out later. (Have you seen how much money was left to spend after my June recap? Yeah NEGATIVE $10.90...that's how much!)

I came home and immediately rolled the rug out and into place. My husband noticed what I was up to and just quietly raised his eyebrows and walked away. Thinking "what is she doing now?", no doubt. Thinking "that rug looks a lot more than $50 dollars!", no doubt.

It was love at first sight.

living room with Target rug

In fact, I've looked a long time for a rug that was white instead of cream. Initially I wasn't sure if going with the teal would be "too much teal" but instead I thought it really tied everything together. Don't you think?



indoor/outdoor rug in living room


Then a friend was over the night I was "testing it out" and she commented on how nice the new rug looked.  

I smiled. 

She then promptly told her son, "don't take your drink onto the rug." 

My heart sank.

While I had been thinking all along of how much this space needed a rug I hadn't even begun to consider the flip side of what it would mean if it did. 

That last thing I want is for people to be concerned that they can't get the rug dirty. On a regular basis we have gatherings and potlucks and we frequently use our living room as extra seating. So in no particular order...here are four reasons why I decided not to use a rug in my living room.

1) I don't need one more thing to worry about keeping clean. I'm trying to eliminate extra work...not create it. I struggle the way it is to get all of the house work done. I have bathrooms that need attention. I don't want to spend time scrubbing a rug.

2) I don't want to become the "take off your shoes" crazy lady. In Minnesota most people do take off their shoes when entering a home (in fact, many of them even bring their own slippers to wear which is something that this east coast girl found strange many years ago.) It probably has to do with the months of sloppy, salty mush that we walk through regularly and wanting to take our wet boots off and still keep our feet warm. We already currently tell our kids, "take off your shoes." It helps cut down on the dirt tracked in...I get it. Yet there are times that we have food inside and people eating outside and it just doesn't make sense to take off your shoes when going back and forth. Not to mention that if someone feels more comfortable wearing their shoes inside then I don't want them to feel like they have to take them off. Yet with a rug like that I could almost see myself becoming the "everybody take off your shoes!" crazy lady. Something that I don't want to be. 

3) The obvious one. I didn't have money saved in that category of the budget to pay for it. Sure, I could possibly convince my husband that I should keep the rug and promise to spend four months NOT buying or DIYing one single thing. However, somehow I don't think that would be a good move.

4) I weighed out the real cost. I will have one more thing to clean, but it is so beautiful. My kids will tell their friends to not get caught wearing their shoes in the house or their mom turns into a crazy lady, but it is so beautiful. Friends will constantly worry that they shouldn't eat or drink in the living room in fear of ruining the pretty rug, but it is so beautiful. Nope, none of those things are worth it, to me.  

The story ends with me rolling up the rug and returning it. I didn't even have one single conversation with my husband about if I should or shouldn't keep it. I just knew. 

I later told him, "honey, aren't you proud of me for returning the rug?"

When he asked, "yeah, what happened?"

I told him, "I guess I just realized that right now there are other things that are more important to me than having a pretty rug in the living room."

Bringing that rug home and returning it the very next day might seem pointless to some but for me...it was just what I needed to conclude that our living room is fine just the way it is.  

Do you ever struggle with things like this? Have you ever finally gotten something that you really wanted and then realized that it didn't make you as satisfied as you thought you would be? 

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24 comments:

  1. Love this post! I've been having living room rug envy for months now but it's not in the budget plus my kids would destroy it. Sigh...

    One day we will have a fabulous rug! Right?

    I'd love for you to share at my Show-Licious Party {starts Saturday morning}!
    ~ Ashley

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    1. Ashley,

      I was joking with my husband that I have learned why kids are so expensive. It isn't necessarily just because of the things that you think of like food, clothes, etc. It is because they destroy so many things. :-)

      ~Sarah

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  2. Great choice. The rug did look beautiful, but I know you would rather see happy faces eating in the living room without fear of the crazy lady snapping if they got something on the white rug :) I still dream of white couches, but that's so not happening any time soon!

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    1. Allyson.

      The funny thing is that we have a white duvet cover on our bed and people immediately asked how we would keep it clean with five kids. Somehow it managed to stay looking really nice...until I went and spilled nail polish on it. I've learned to enjoy looking at white couches in living rooms that I don't have to live in. :-)

      ~Sarah

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  3. This post is really interesting to me. I don't think I could have returned it! It looked so lovely. But, you are right, it looks perfectly lovely in your living room without it too and it is nice to not have something else to clean. I went back and forth with the same decision over a rug in our dining room. For me, though, our dining room floor is a dark grey slate tile and, in the winter months particularly, it just felt too dark for me (dark = feeling depressed). After a few years, I just happened on a creamy coloured rug at Target for only $40! It was an indoor/outdoor one and not the pretty pattern I had imagined but I just really, really wanted to lighten up the space. We bought it and tried it out and I am SO HAPPY I got it. Our dining room was suddenly much cozier and warmer in the winter even if the colour was so much lighter. I had originally wanted a wool or cotton rug for there but knew I didn't want to be the crazy woman obsessively watching to make sure no-one spilled anything. Being an indoor/outdoor rug I knew I could hose it down if I needed to. I do have to give it a quick once over with the vacuum but I already vaccum all our floors because of our daughter's allergies so it isn't really any extra work in the end. Another area that this sort of decision making happens for me is my white slipcovered chairs in our family room. Not sure I would go with blinding crisp white again for all those same reasons you mention (a light grey is sounding good about now!). I don't often let the kids eat in there that is for sure (but, then, I am not a fan of eating anywhere other than the kitchen/dining room/outside anyway. I don't like having to chase the kids to put plates and glasses in the kitchen and I don't like food crumbs trailing around the house to possibly attract ants and so on). Anyway, thanks for sharing this. I really love how you followed your instincts about how you want to live versus how you want something to look. I am going to keep this in mind for future decision making for sure.

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    1. Catherine,

      What a great story about your dining room rug. I can totally understand wanting to make the space lighter & brighter and especially at such a great price for a rug! The one I tried from Target was actually an indoor/outdoor rug too. We vacuum often as well because of allergies so possibly if the rug was darker (and didn't contain white) I might have had a different experience and wouldn't worry about having to scrub dirt off often. I think that part of me knew that spending that much on a rug would mean that I would want to do everything in my power to keep it in great condition. Now if I had found the same rug for $40 I probably would have just gone with it. :-)

      ~Sarah

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  4. That rug was lovely & I see your reasons for returning it, but this topic brings up a questions that I always think about. How much do you decorate / situate your home for having guests over? Do you & the kids eat in the living room when there are not guests over? Do you have people over once a week where you could just roll the rug away & put it back once everyone is gone so you could enjoy it the other 6 days you do not have guests over? My boyfriend & I live in a small place & we love to have guests over around once a month, but I didn't want to have so much seating & furniture that takes up all of our living room just for that one day a month. We've gotten rid of our dining table & chairs, so now we just have a 6' fold-able table & we bought three folding chairs so we can push the table up to our couches & use the chairs on the other side. This isn't the most beautiful option, but it just dint make sense for us to have a table in our small place. So what do you think about living in your home versus preparing it for guest situations?

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    1. Great questions! I like to set things up in our home based on our family's needs first and guests second. I think the way that you adapted your set up to work for you and your boyfriend (and still be able to adapt things when guests come over) sounds like a great solution. Our kids only eat in the kitchen or dining room so them spilling food on the rug isn't a concern for me. However, knowing that my three year old often runs in the house and across the living room before I can catch him and remind him to remove his shoes was a concern. Our daughter also brought home some gak that my three year old got a hold of and spilled on the small white rug that lays over the coffee table...it is now permanently stained. I guess I've learned that life with kids has more messes attached to it than I can keep track of. :-) When it comes to guests, currently we have potlucks in our home twice a month and friends over usually 1-2 additional times per week. That being the case, along with our family size, it has been convenient to set up our house based on being somewhat kid proof, kid friendly, plenty of seating, and additional seating (like folding chairs) that we have on hand but only bring out when needed. I hope that helps.

      ~Sarah

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    2. Thanks for replying Sarah! I can definitely see how little accidents can happen here & there, thus equaling more cleaning for you. I've always liked the softness & sound deadening of carpet & never minded vacuuming, but after living in our rental for the last 5 years with ugly brown carpet that wasn't replaced before we moved it, I'm thoroughly over all the stains that are popping up & I can't get rid of! I will definitely be going hardwood floor & rug once we have our own place because even without kids stains are bound to happen & at least a rug can be replaced easily if it gets too bad compared to carpet :)

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    3. That sounds like a great plan! :-)

      ~Sarah

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  5. Awww, I hope the that rug goes on sale for you ;-) I think it adds a perfect amount of color to tie in the space, and love the practical side of it being an indoor/outdoor rug (less "fussy" for cleaning purposes)
    But I do understand the other points to your post, about budget & contentment. My husband and I often have these discussions too. We have financial goals to pay off our mortgage faster w/accelerated payments, but also want to enjoy life now.....it's a balance for sure of when to set aside those strong wants (that we know aren't "needs")
    For a purchase that wasn't "perfect" I'd have an easier time returning....but for something so beautiful I admit I'd have a MUCH harder time. Maybe you have a birthday, anniversary, etc. coming up that has some extra budget set aside for? ;-)

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  6. Sarah, I totally understand and get all your reasons. However, if you do get that rug again (birthday, anniversary, etc., as the commenter mentions above), put a few coats of Scotch Guard or rug / fabric protectant over it. I put Scotch Guard on the fabric for the bench in the mudroom and it has worked wonders. In any event, maybe that rug will have a beautiful clearance tag soon. :)

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    1. Julie,

      Great idea about the Scotch Guard...I hadn't even thought of that. :-)

      ~Sarah

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  7. You are very lucky that the shop allowed you to return this item when you had simply changed your mind. The rug was not faulty and the shop was under no obligation to refund your money. It was your mistake not theirs. You owe them BIG TIME. How about you give them some really nice publicity?

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    1. Louise,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Target is one of my favorite stores and I know that they can tell because of how much I rave about them on the blog (and because of how much our family personally shops there!) :-) Their great return policy is what keeps me going back because it gives me the freedom to try something and then visually decide right away whether I want to keep it or not. I always keep in mind to care for the item during this process. Especially with the decision with the rug I made sure no one walked on it or damaged it in any way while I was making my decision. They were happy to receive the rug and I am happy to shop there often. :-)

      ~Sarah

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  8. I think you have excellent points for why you returned it. I probably would have, too, if it was purely a decorative rug. But we splurged on a rug a year ago ourselves because we felt we needed to cushion our hardwood living room floor for our baby. She is 9 months old now and when she wipes out on the rug and pops back up happy as a clam (vs when she does a head banger on the hardwood in the dining room or tile in the kitchen) I am so relieved we made that decision in her primary play area. It also gives guests a more comfy seat when we have more ppl over than our couch/chairs can hold. I have to vacuum daily and have had to pull out the carpet cleaner more than once, but our beige rug still looks new after almost a year. Now I'd love one in the tile "man cave" but won't let myself because of reasons like you mentioned in your post.

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    1. I think that is a great choice to have a rug where your little one plays. We decided to carpet our basement family room for that exact reason. It used to have a hard surface of tiles and now kids can play and crawl to their hearts content. :-)

      ~Sarah

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  9. I've loved this read! I can completely relate. I've been pining for a rug for months but it has not been in the budget and we've been trying our hardest to get back on our Dave Ramsey plan. It's so hard to not want, want, want, lol. Because honestly, I have a rug. It doesn't match my decor anymore but then again, I didn't have to change paint my living room either, lol. Now, though, I'm going to roll that rug up and see what my living room looks like with my wood floors shining =D

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  10. Hi Sarah: Long time reader, first time commenter. Would you consider a possibly lower cost option, like those painted drop cloth type rugs? You could paint and customize it to look very similar to the rug you love shown above. Perhaps something like http://www.sasinteriors.net/2013/04/diy-stenciled-shower-curtain-using-drop-cloth/? Alternatively, this is my favorite time of the year for interiors savings---dorm chic styling. This stuff is usually super inexpensive, clearances quickly, and can be DIYed into something you might prefer more. Our basement employs 2 side by side "dorm rugs" from Target that do a great job keeping our kids safe and our space warm and cozy. Thanks for your great blog, no matter what you choose.

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    1. Nicole,

      You have me thinking...we shall see. :-)

      ~Sarah

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  11. Thank you for this post! We recently moved to a home with all hard flooring on the main level which I LOVE. In spite of that, I planned on somehow getting a rug for the winter, since it would make the space seem warmer and cozier. But I struggled with the expense issue, like you. Remembering what makes that space important and inviting helped me make the decision to forget the rug, at least until a) my 6 yr old son is grown and b) I have the money. For now, not having one more thing to clean or avoid having stuff spilled on it (like dad's new recliner. and almond milk. you can fill in the details lol) is what makes the space inviting! I'll be sharing this with my readers on my blog's fb page!

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  12. I do love rugs, but I see exactly where you are coming from. I used to ask people to remove their shoes, but I think I offended a few people, and it got to be a hassle when they would leave and all be putting shoes back on. So, I have gotten to the point where I don't ask anymore. Thanks for the post and have a beautiful day!!

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  13. What a great post! It is so refreshing to be reminded that how our homes look really is much less important that how they work for our families. Plus, I have to add, I have this same rug in a much smaller size. It was a gift from a friend and I absolutely love it - but it is a major pain to keep clean. The light colors and simple pattern make every spot pretty noticeable. And with a toddler, there are lots of spots!

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  14. I love you sister!!! Your perspective always makes me smile. :)

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