Essentially, I was inspired to make a large floor cloth for our kitchen by the small shoe mat I bought on Etsy for our hallway as well as a whole host of online eye candy. The idea is that a rug would add some color/visual interest to our otherwise very-green-and-gray kitchen, but is a disaster waiting to happen in a kitchen. Spills, cat food, people food, wet shoes as we stumble in with armfuls of groceries, etc. The floor cloth is basically just canvas or another piece of fabric on the floor that's coated many (many many) times with clear polyurethane so that it's fully waterproof and can be wiped clean when an eventual spill occurs. It's not soft underfoot like a rug, but that doesn't matter so much in the kitchen.
Here are some of the various floor cloths from around the interwebs that served as my inspiration:
And here's the one I purchased on Etsy from Jennifer at Room9Design for the hallway awhile back (it's reversible):
The talented creators of the floor cloths pictured above employed some diverse methods. The one from Just About Home, as well as the one from Room9Design in my front hall, is made from plain canvas with a design painted on (with polyurethane applied as a finish). The ones from Design Share and dream book design are tablecloths, also with polyurethane as a finish. And the one from Flea Market Trixie is actually made by painting on the back side of vinyl flooring.
I couldn't find a tablecloth I liked, but I also doubted my artistic abilities when it came to painting my own design, so I opted for somewhere in between: I bought a few yards of a fabric I liked, and then hemmed around the edges and ironed it. Then I rolled on two coats of water based clear polyurethane on the under side, let it dry overnight, and then rolled on three coats on the top. Here's how I left it to dry overnight, since it was taking up too much room on the floor of the apartment:
I held it up with three small tacks. Gotta get creative in this small space!
Here's the kitchen before:
And here it is with the finished floor cloth in place:
To be honest, I'm a bit ambivalent about this one. I like the addition of some color to the room, but I'm not 100% sold. It ended up wrinkling in a few places in a way I don't like, and I'm not sure I'm a fan of how shiny it is. I think we'll live with it for a bit and see what we think. Comments welcome!