How to revive a low pile rug

With two indoor cats and us being two predominantly indoor humans, the viridian rug in our living room gets its fair share of wear. Especially as it’s placed in a high traffic area and since during the winter months we spend most of our time on the couch, our fluffy rug can get pretty sad and flat looking. 

As part of my usual morning routine, I give our rug a quick vacuum with our handheld on a daily basis to keep it tidy. However, recently it’s been getting a bit squashed and worn looking. I had a burst of energy one day so I decided to see if I could bring it back to its former floofy self. I grabbed some basic tools and along with my camera, I took some pictures as I went.  

This isn’t a tutorial or project that’s particularly exciting in any way, but I figured if I benefited from this bout of spring cleaning, there’s bound to be one other person out there with an equally sick satisfaction who takes pleasure in bringing something back to its former self through good old fashioned elbow grease. Here’s how I brought our rug back to life … 

– a rubber brush of sorts [available in most hardware and home care stores]
– a pair of scissors to trim any stray pieces of wool
– a vacuum
– a dust mask [it’s not necessary, but I wore one so I didn’t inhale any rug fluff]

STEP 1: using a rubber brush, I brushed the rug in the opposite direction to which the pile is running. This is easy to figure this out by running the brush in different directions; whichever direction brings it back to its former fluffy self is the right one. Do this with vigour. The best time would be immediately after an argument or if you have something really important that you should be doing but are looking for a justifiable procrastination, then get down on all fours and do this. 

STEP 2: you may not need to do this step, but as we have cats and they occasionally pick at our rug [which I am totally fine with – it stops them from picking at the furniture], you may need to trim some stray pieces of wool. This is easy enough to do and the more often you do it the less you have to trim the next time. It’s not nearly as tedious as it sounds.

STEP 3: brush and trim one section at a time  [I focused on about a two-foot band at a time], then vacuum up all the chaos. When it’s all done, sit back and smugly observe how awesome your rug looks again. It took me roughly an hour to do a really thorough job of the rug in our living room, but it may take you much less. I let our rug get quite bad before tackling it for the sake of a good before and after photo, so keep in mind it doesn’t always look as bad as the before photos.

This isn’t something I expect anyone let alone myself to be doing on a weekly basis. This is something you may do to refresh a rug before you have your mother in law or the Queen come to stay over. I’ve done this once previously to our rug since we got it four months ago, and it honestly brings it right back to life.

It really does look very close to new again. I now just consider its upkeep a form of cardio. Oh, and should you have a flatwoven rug, you can also check out my tutorial on how to repair a very worn [flatwoven] rug here! 

DIY Friday – contact paper table top

To backtrack a little, I had been thinking for a while about a renter-friendly way of updating our landlord’s coffee table. Importantly, in a way that could be undone easily in a matter of minutes. The wood on the table had a particularly awful orange undertone to it, not to mention hadn’t been looked after so it had aged rather disgracefully. I decided to cover the table top with contact paper to not only protect my eyes, but to also protect the table from being ruined further. 

There were two other changes I wanted to make to this area [paint the cat basket and table tray] which I shared a couple weeks ago a peek in a little gif mock-up … 

There was a resounding response to painting the cat basket black, faux-marbeling the coffee table and a majority of either painting the tray in either black or burgundy. I was the most unsure about the tray as I wanted it black and burgundy. Then it struck me – the inside was already burgundy, so I just sprayed the outside black. Boom. Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts! It really did help. I am massively indecisive sometimes.
I painted the tray and cat basket, rushed out and got some marble contact paper from Woodies. I bought one roll of d-c-fix’s black and white marble contact paper and within 20 minutes, the table was covered. But I wasn’t happy. 

I really like the strong black and white marbling effect, but for some reason it wasn’t working in this situation. It was too strong in such a dark space. If our room was brighter it would work perfectly, but it kept catching my eye and in a bad way. It was fighting with our rug. It made the [ancient IKEA] TV unit look yellow. I didn’t like it. I went back to Woodie’s to see if they could order in a lighter shade of the marble paper [light grey veining vs. the darker black], but unfortunately they couldn’t. We checked B&Q and alas, they had the exact role I wanted! We went home and I peeled off the darker marble contact paper that was already on the table …

As you can see, some splinter-like pieces of wood from the coffee table peeled off with the contact paper. I panicked. Using a piece of fine sandpaper I lightly sanded the coffee table, wiped it clean and it was as good as before. PHEW. It was a damaged coffee table from the previous tenants to begin with, so I’d say that’s more so why the wood peeled off. It was incredibly minimal damage and totally fixable, so it’s not something I’m worried about, but for the sake of being transparent, I wanted to share this. I was hoping to reuse the darker contact paper to cover a couple of books, but thanks to the little flecks of wood, it was rendered very unsticky. Welp. It went in the recycling at the very least.
There was such a difference in the shades of the two contact papers [as seen below]. I waited for the coffee table to dry after I cleaned it, then got to work. Here’s how I applied it. For a second time …

What you’ll need …
– Contact paper in a colour of your choice
– A card to smooth any bubbles from under the paper as you apply it
– A pair of scissors to trim
– Something heavy to make sure the contact paper doesn’t scooch while you’re working [ie – a toolbox]

1. Remove the top of the coffee table and place it top-side-up onto something, like our storage box shown, so you can easily work on it. 
2. Centre the contact paper onto the table top and if you’re working alone, place something heavy like on top so it wouldn’t move. Peel back the paper backing about 6 inches and stick a strip of the contact paper onto one end of the table, smoothing the bubbles out as you go.
3. Continue in this manner by peeling the paper backing from underneath bit by bit, smoothing with the card as you go. If you encounter a stubborn bubble, just peel back the contact paper a bit and reapply it. Do this until you reach the end of the table top and trim the roll leaving a couple of inches overhang. 
4. When you’re happy all the bubbles are removed, flip the table top over and secure the edges underneath using your card again to ensure it sticks securely. Screw the table top back onto the legs of your table, et voila! 

I’m actually overjoyed with how it turned out. It doesn’t make my eyes want to bleed anymore and the softer marble effect really brightens and adds to our living room and doesn’t fight with anything. This is one DIY I foresee happening over and over again. And our landlord will be none the wiser. 

Living room lighting plans

I feel that lonely light fixture’s life story should be narrated by ze frank.
The more improvements and updates I make to our rental, the more ideas I get to make slightly more daring changes. Slightly. We don’t own our apartment, but we’ve been living here for 7 years now so I’m getting a bit cheekier about making changes. Changes I will say, that can be undone with a bit of filler and paint. Like hanging our mahogany mirror, painting our bedroom and the spare bedroom [both white], re-caulk the bathroom and do something about the lighting in the living room are a few things on my list. 

Here’s what I’ve had in mind to add to our living room ceiling to make things a bit fancier, while sticking as much as I can to some of my environmental resolutions

1. I’d love to add a ceiling rose to our sitting room. It’s a big room, so adding a bit of interest might make the ceiling feel less vast. I’ve seen some second hand for fairly cheap, but a) I’m terrified of not installing it properly and a giant piece of plaster moments away from landing on our heads, and b) I don’t know how easily it would be to remove.
2. At the moment the light is positioned in the centre of the room. When we sit at our couch, the light is slightly behind us, therefore anything we’re holding or looking at is in shadow. It’s incredibly annoying. So adding a swag is the most obvious option. I’m hoping to acquire some wire much like our upcycled bedside lamp to keep cost [and waste] down.
3. Should we securely fix a ceiling rose to the ceiling, I’d like to also add a pretty hook for the swag. 
4. I bought a couple IKEA ledare bulbs when I was updating our hallway, and have already added one to our living room. They’re brilliant and light an entire room [unfortunately, IKEA don’t seem to be stocking them anymore. Welp].
5. Said IKEA bulbs are lovely, but there are times when it’s a bit too much. It’s either all or nothing at the moment in our living room. I’d like to hook the light up to a dimmer switch so there can be a happy medium. While I’m at it, I might as well get a pretteh one. I was thinking of getting a G O L D dimmer, but then that would make all our other switches jealous. We’ll see. The jury is still out. I’ve not had much luck finding one second hand, so this may have to be a new buy.

I’m still not sure on whether or not I’ll get an actual light fixture as I get very indecisive about them and more times than not end up returning them. I have bare-bulb syndrome. But having a bare bulb in our living room [like we do in our hallway] isn’t particularly obvious, so I’m fine with it. For now!