How to Paint a Faux Porch Rug

by Jessica Ackerman

A decorative and colorful handmade fringed rug displayed on a porch floor is stylish and welcoming, but unfortunately it is hardly practical, especially when the porch is exposed to the elements and the carpet is made of fabric. However, it is possible to have a decorative porch rug, but this one will never become soaked by rain or blow away with the wind. It is very easy to paint a faux carpet that will have the texture of a real fringed rug and look every bit as stylish. Even those who are not artistically inclined can paint a faux rug that will look amazingly real and incredibly stylish. With the following easy instructions, spackle, and paint you can transform an ordinary porch floor into a stunning work of art that is sure to impress.

Necessary Supplies

To paint a faux porch rug you will need enough spackle to fill in porch slats and cover the area of the faux rug, exterior latex paint in two shades of the same color, acrylic craft paint in colors of your choice to create decorative accents, acrylic polyurethane to protect the finished carpet, and brushes of various sizes. You will also need lots of rags, painter’s tape, a measuring tape, a long level, a pencil, and a palette knife for mixing colors and applying spackle. It can be helpful to use stencils to create specific patterns or designs, and the job can be greatly simplified by tracing a real rug, but stencils are not necessary. Real handmade rugs have imperfections, and no two are exactly alike. Painted faux rugs are no exception, and each one will be a unique work of art that will far outlast the real fabric varieties.

Optional Supplies

It can be helpful to sketch the rug on paper before taping off an area of the porch and applying paint. This will enable you to achieve the look you want and eliminate the need to paint over mistakes. Take your time and you will end up with a beautiful faux rug that at first glance will fool all who see it. When completed with care the results will be truly amazing.


Begin by cleaning the area of the porch that will be embellished with a stylish faux carpet. Use clear water and a rag, and make sure the area is completely clean, dry, and free from peeling paint and debris. Next, trace an actual rug using a pencil, or use a level and a measuring tape to create an outline of the appropriate size, and surround the outlined area with painter‘s tape to keep the lines clean and straight.

If the porch has wooden slats it is important to fill in the slats in the outlined area with spackle. Otherwise the faux rug will not look at all like the real deal. Simply fill in the slats within the area of the rectangle. Allow the spackle to dry completely, and paint the area inside the rectangle with a base coat of exterior latex paint in any light color available since it will not be seen. Once the exterior base coat dries, go over the entire rectangle with spackle to give the carpet realistic texture and dimension. Using the palette knife, liberally but evenly apply the spackle. Once the entire rectangle is covered, use the palette knife to create a faux textured effect. Simply place the flat bottom of the knife against the spackle and draw it straight up to create faux tufts of yarn. Allow the spackle to dry completely before continuing.

Once the spackle dries, thin the darker shade of exterior latex paint with a little water, and paint over the entire faux rug. Once the paint dries, use a clean dry brush to apply the lighter shade over the darker base. Do not overload the brush. The darker paint between the crevices must show through after the lighter topcoat is applied. This will give the faux rug a two-toned realistic look, and it will appear to have dimension and depth like a real tufted rug.

After the topcoat has dried, use stencils or draw freehand graphics along the edges of the rug. Delve into your creative side and create designs that are ideal for a stylish porch rug. Fill in the outlines with acrylic craft paint in colors of your choice, and dab the paint on with a dry brush to create a realistic tufted look. In addition, paint the fringe, and like a real porch rug do not make it perfectly straight. Paint several twisted and overlapping strands of fringe to make the faux painted porch rug look more convincing.

Lastly, once the paint has dried completely, protect the faux porch rug with two or three coats of acrylic polyurethane finish. Allow the finish to dry completely between applications, and follow product label instructions for best results. Your finished faux porch rug should look as good as the real thing.

After painting one faux rug for an exterior porch you will certainly want to paint another one. They are ideal for decorating porch floors of all shapes and sizes, and they do not require the care that real rugs require. Faux porch rugs are ideal for decorating almost every style and type of porch, and they will add an inviting look that will turn heads and generate many second glances. You can do it yourself!