How to Customize a Plain Rug with Embroidery (DIY)

I’ve had this simple runner sitting at the studio for months, that was begging to be DIY-ed. I like the simplicity of the rug on it’s own and all, but the do-it-yourselfer in me couldn’t resist adding a simple design to make it more eye-catching. There’s no denying that I love a good rug DIY around here (this one too)!

The technique is super easy, making it a good candidate for beginners and anyone who wants something to keep the hands busy while catching up on Netflix, etc. Here’s how to create a custom design on any rug with just a few supplies.

Materials for DIY Rug

How to Customize a Plain Rug with Embroidery (DIY)

1. Start by mapping out your design on a piece of paper to help visualize spacing, shapes, etc. We went with a simple linear pattern to keep it modern and clean.

2. Then thread the yarn through a yarn needle and start stitching (start from the back and end from the back – creating a double knot at start and finish). We used two different kinds of embroidery techniques for this project. The first is a satin stitch (which is a series of straight stitches right next to each other) and the second is an alternating running stitch (which is a series of connected dashes that alternative like bricks down by row). Here’s a guide to different stitches if you need more visuals. 

3. Trim off excess after finishing the first design (with a double knot in the back). And start the process over again with your next shape, line, etc.

4. We found it helpful to finish the entire embroidery design and then look at it on a whole to determine what areas still needed more pattern / fill in / extra thickness on lines, etc. That’s it!

How to customize a plain rug with 2 different embroidery techniques (DIY). #rug #diyrug #entryway #neutrals

After finishing up this rug, I started thinking about other designs that would be cool and came up with these: stitching a message or a quote in an alternating running stitch would be fun, or a more organic pattern (like circles, flowers, etc), or even a mud cloth pattern could be cool.

How to Customize a Plain Rug with Embroidery (DIY). #rug #diyrug #interior #entryway #neutrals #plantlife

A DIY rug idea for your entryway! Customize a plain rug with any design you can dream up. Click through for the tutorial. #rug #diyrug #entryway #neutrals #interiors #californialiving

What do you think? Do you have a rug that could use a little makeover like this one?

20 comments | Click here to reply

Great idea — thank you! Love the table in the entry — could you share who makes it?
Thank you!


Such a cool idea, can’t wait to try. (And that wall hanging….wow!!)


This is more than just customizing a simple rug… this is also a major UPGRADE through such simple yet creative steps! Thanks for this…excellent DIY project.


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Friday Favorites | Volume Forty-Two • Original Caroline

I love finding ways to add a little quirkiness to a normally basic thing! I’m definitely going to try this DIY!!


Love it! I have some rugs that I thought to throw because I didn’t like them at whole but you give me a great idea.I’ve also liked the decoration on the wall, it’s lovely.

Abigail Potts

Love this idea! What an awesome way to add some pops of color, texture and all around personality to a plain rug!

sara a.

Glad to hear that Pink Pineapple. Thanks!


I love this post!!

The pink pineapple

Thanks Cat!! The entryway is actually at Jess’ house, so I can’t take credit for the awesome entryway. Though we did restyle it a little bit to make it just right for the rug. 🙂


This is pretty brilliant. Your entryway is gorgeous too!


Thanks Maarit.


Oh! I love this!!!


Hi Amanda. The shoes are by Seychelles. You can actually buy them on Amazon (and they come in several colors). Here’s the link:


What brand are those shoes!


Thanks Courtney. I love embroidery too – it’s so easy!


That rug is too cool. I love all the embroidery.


Thanks Michelle. 🙂 Definitely a simple rug upgrade.


What a cool and simple way to upgrade a simple rug! Love it!

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