How To Stain A Super Easy DIY Outdoor Rug

A practical and budget-friendly option for creating a cozy conversation area on a backyard deck. This tutorial will show how to stain a super easy DIY outdoor rug, with a quicker injury-free approach than how I did mine.

Stained DIY Outdoor Rug Graphic

Super Easy DIY Stained Outdoor Area Rug

Deck Makeover - Project Four

Refreshing our outdoor living space on a beer budget!

When planning our summer deck makeover projects, one of the things at the top of the list was adding an area rug beside our DIY Water Wall. Unfortunately, here in the Canadian prairies, outdoor rugs take a beating.

First, there's the annoyance of having to store them during our long harsh winters. Then during the summer, they need to be swept daily, if not more, to stay clean because of our dry dusty climate.

So painting, or rather staining an area rug was the perfect compromise. No need for winter storage and a quick spray with a garden hose can keep it looking clean. Besides, we also saved a ton of cash because, for the same cost as an outdoor area rug, we were able to complete several DIY deck projects with the same two gallons of premium stain.

Stained DIY Outdoor Rug

What not to do when staining an outdoor rug

This is the project that nearly did me in and THE reason I was MIA on the blog for nearly two weeks.

DIY Stained Outdoor Rug Injury

My first mistake was staining the rug on my hands and knees. I did it this way because we have narrow deck boards and in order for the colors not to overlap, I carefully stained it with a 2-inch angle brush.

Unfortunately, after two full afternoons creating this lovely hand painted rug, what I didn't realize was that the constant pressure of my opened left hand supporting my upper body would lead to a pinched nerve.

On day three I woke up with a completely numb hand - I couldn't move a finger if I tried. It took weeks of wearing the brace, exercises, and massage to get my hand to the point where three fingers functioned again. I'm still working on the pinky and ring finger a month later.

Mapping the DIY outdoor rug

The first order of business was to clean the deck. It's best if you use a power washer or garden hose, depending on how dirty the deck. Fortunately, we had just given ours a fresh coat of stain so all I had to do was a sweep.

Next, map out the size of the rug you want. You can see in the photo below I mapped ours in both directions for a visual comparison. First I marked the measurement with a stick of chalk and then placed painters tape on the marks.

Based on symmetry with the front and side steps, we decided to run the 10' x 8 1/2' rug perpendicular to the house.

Size Mapping DIY Stained Outdoor Rug

Stain choice for the DIY outdoor rug

The deck is stained in a transparent tinted stain - see my Budget-Friendly Deck Restore when replacement isn't an option post.

For the rug, we chose solid stain in the colors Sea Foam green (to match the deck skirt) and Navajo White. I labeled the colors designated for each deck board with a stick of chalk - G for green, W for white, B for a border.

Labelling Colors for DIY Stained Outdoor Rug

How to stain an outdoor rug, the right way!

Now here's the part where I wish I had stained the outdoor rug this way. Instead of getting down on your hands and knees and staining the rug with a 2-inch angle brush like I did, save your knees, and your hand, by using a 3-inch wide x 3/8-inch nap trim roller and extension pole (product links in materials list).

A 3/8 inch nap is recommended for solid wood stains. A 3-inch wide roller is small enough to easily stain the narrow deck boards without overlapping the colors.

Day 1 - Painted green stripes

DIY Stained Outdoor Rug Green Stripes

Day 2 - Painted white stripes and border

DIY Outdoor Rug Stained White Stripes

I wanted our rug to look somewhat worn so I only applied one coat of stain. I'm hoping being exposed to the elements and traffic flow in our new conversation area, that it will continue to wear for that timeworn look.

I could use your help

So here's where I could use your help. To fringe or not to fringe, that is the question?

The plan on day three, before waking up with a numb hand, was to hand paint a fringe on each end of the rug (I've since discovered there are stencils for that). Would really appreciate it if you could help a gal out by leaving your preference in the comment section.

Below is the materials list for the products I used or recommend for this project. It contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I may receive a small portion of any sales at no additional cost to you. See my full disclosure policy.

Materials List

Super Easy DIY Stained Outdoor Rug

Deck Makeover Series Recap

Project One - DIY Birdhouse Sign
Project Two - Budget-Friendly Deck Restore
Project Three - Easy DIY Solar Fence Lights from repurposed candle scones
Project Four - How To Stain A Super Easy DIY Outdoor Rug

Stay tuned next week for project five - staining the Adirondack deck furniture with a paint sprayer.

I share my projects at these fabulous link parties.



  1. Personally, I wouldn't do a fringe. I like the strong edges the way it is now. I think a fringe would distract from them.
    I hope your hand is feeling better. I had a serious injury to the median nerve in my left arm at the end of 2017. It was so painful I couldn't sit up for more than about an hour before having to lie down on the arm and hope that it would go numb. I've had P.T. and the arm is better, although it still tingles constantly.

    1. Ouch, that sounds painful! Have you tried acupuncture? I had a neck injury several years ago and within four treatments, the pain and tingling were gone. This particular injury of mine went on for a few months (painted this last summer) but thankfully it eventually went away. Thanks for your feedback regarding the fringe. I decided to go fringeless!

  2. That is such a smart idea to paint a rug on your deck! It looks great and will be a whole lot less work than taking care of a real outdoor rug. I like it without the fringe, but then my style is very simple and modern.

    1. Thank you Rebecca! Having a real rug in our climate is way too much work so this was a great alternative. We LOVE our stained area and it defines the seating area on our deck perfectly. I've decided to keep the rug fringeless for the reasons you mentioned - simple and modern. Thanks for stopping by 😀

  3. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared.

  4. I had no idea about your hand! I'm glad you have had some relief, Marie... praying it will continue! I vote no fringe. ;-) Thanks for sharing at Homestyle Gathering!

  5. Thank you Julie! I stained the rug last June and the injury didn't let up until late Fall. Thankfully I had a 100% recovery. As for the fringe, I totally agree with you that it looks better fringeless. I like the simplicity of the rug. Thanks for stopping by and hosting HG!

  6. Thank you for sharing this lovely tutorial! I was just thinking about how to mask a few unpleasant stains on an outdoor deck that won't come off, and your idea seems like a perfect fit. The best part is, that it looks very nice and it's the easiest way to fix some deffects without the need to replace whole parts of the deck.

    1. Glad you found my tutorial helpful, Melanie! Yes, a dark stain or paint will definitely mask permanent unsightly stains.


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