Interface FLOR Tiles
I needed a rug for my dining room that was contemporary in style, durable and easy-to-clean enough to be used under our main eating area (including baby!), and affordable. What I found was that if it looked cool, I probably couldn't afford it, and if it was that good, I'd be heartbroken when it inevitably ends up smeared with strained carrots.
Then while browsing through a Design Within Reach catalog (I'd like to know who has that kind of reach, but I digress...), I spotted an ad for Interface FLOR carpet tiles, and voila!, the perfect solution.
The photo above shows my custom area rug design made out of FLOR tiles (my interior designer sister-in-law, Laura, came up with the final design).
At $11 per 20" square tile, the whole rug cost around $300, which is much less than I would have spent on a traditional rug of similar dimensions. The nice thing is that if something spills, I can pick up just that tile, rinse it out in the sink, let it dry, and pop it back in. And if there is a really nasty stain, I can replace a single tile instead of a whole rug.
Installing it was a snap! I just plopped the tiles right on the floor. They have a soft rubber backing that makes them hug to the floor pretty well on their own. The tiles around the perimeter have low-tack adhesive dots that hold everything in place, yet they are still easily removable. The tiles are very easy to cut, too. I cut a few in half for the stripe down the center to get the rug the right width.
Tiles come in lots of textures and colors, well-suited for mixing and matching. You can get up to eight 3"x3" samples for 5 bucks to play around with first. There is no minimum order for the tiles themselves, so you don't get stuck with boxes of material you don't need. The company makes it really easy and fun to get exactly what you want.
Oh, and last but not least, it looks pretty cool!