From the October/November 2007 Issue:

What is a Floor Cloth and Where Can One be Used?

What is a floor cloth and where can one be used? — Kelly Z. in Eatontown

A floor cloth is a hand-painted canvas rug that has been treated to last a long time. The popularity of floor cloths dates back to when Europeans first settled in America. They were in vogue through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but were gradually replaced by synthetic floor coverings. However, there’s no reason not to use a floor cloth today. They protect the surface of the floor and add color, character, grace, and style to a room’s décor. Because they are handcrafted, no two are identical, even if they were made using the same design.

Floor cloths can be used on any non-carpeted area of the home. Commonly they are used under a coffee table or dining table, but also anywhere else in the living room, dining room, family room, kitchen, entry, hallway, children's room, or hallway. They have even been used as wall hangings.

Typically, a floor cloth is made of heavy-duty canvas that is primed on both sides, making it durable and easy to maintain. After the primer has dried, an artisan applies a base coat of paint and then adds the design free-hand or with stencils or blocks. Each coat of paint is allowed to dry thoroughly before the next one is applied.

After the final coat dries, several layers of protective material are applied. All paint and protective materials are made flexible to increase durability. The floor cloths also are scratch- and water-resistant, wiping clean with a damp sponge or paper towel. Occasional cleaning with soapy water and a soft scrubbing sponge should dislodge any stubborn dirt. - DNJ

Neelam Padte
president of Design Village
in Franklin Park