Living Large Tip of the Week: Cardboard Chair Mat

Posted September 2nd, 2011 by kerri and filed in small house living
Tags: , , ,

Inside of Belle Writer's Studio Photo cour­tesy of Mother Earth News by Kevin Pieper

When we were mov­ing from the house in the city, it was quite evi­dent that the plas­tic chair mat that had rested under my home office chair for a few years wasn’t coming.

It was cracked and break­ing off in chunks.

I had car­pet in that house, but Our Little House has all lam­i­nate, even in The Belle Writer’s Studio.

When the stu­dio was com­pleted in 2008, we went to the office sup­ply store to pur­chase a new chair mat. They were near $100 and at the time, we really couldn’t afford that.

Our solu­tion?

Dale mea­sured the space under and behind my desk where the chair would roll and cut out a chair mat using heavy card­board one of our appli­ances was shipped in.

It has all of the mak­ings of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

I’ve used the first card­board chair mat now for three years. It’s pro­tected my floor well and sweeps up fine, even with the hair of five dogs on it every week.

It has torn, so it is time to recy­cle the old and replace it with more card­board from the stor­age building.

Now for those of you who think a card­board chair mat may not be pretty enough – really, how pretty does it have to be?

I was pho­tographed for the story that appeared in Mother Earth News sit­ting at my desk and you would never have known I had a card­board chair mat.

I don’t know how well this would work with car­pet, par­tic­u­larly plush car­pet, but it’s worth a shot giv­ing a new pur­pose for that heavy card­board, as well as sav­ing you over $100 (even the “eco-friendly bam­boo mats are expensive).


This post is part of the Patchwork Living Blogging Bee at Frugal Kiwi.

What’s an eco-friendly tip you have for your home office?

30 Responses to “Living Large Tip of the Week: Cardboard Chair Mat”

  1. Becky says:

    I'm a huge fan of the 3Rs… the other day I came back from my walk in the neighborhood..where I found a rod iron planter (needed some TLC for sure) was at the curb­side wait­ing to be picked up by the garbage man … Not if I had my way.. a sim­ple sand­ing down and use some spray paint.. it will look great on my future patio.. I love going to g*sales or trift stores and see­ing what I can reuse and make it my own.. Im pretty crafty that way… (free is a very good price) wtg kerri I love these kind of posts..

  2. […] Living Large Tip of a Week: Cardboard Chair Mat | Living Large In Our Little House You can strech Alan Henry, a author of this post, dur­ing alan@​lifehacker.​com, or improved yet, fol­low him on Twitter or Google+. […]

  3. judy stock says:

    Great reuse arti­cle. Brilliant idea and it saves on the cash you have to spend to equip the writer's office.

  4. Love this. Cardboard comes in handy for so many things.

  5. […] Living Large Tip of the Week: Cardboard Chair Mat [Living Large In Our Little House] Tagged:clever usesdiyhouseholdrecycling […]

  6. Heather L. says:

    The card­board mat is a very orig­i­nal and "green" idea. How many peo­ple are going to see your what's under your office chair anyway?

  7. Brilliant! We've got wood floors and I need to pro­tect them from my chair's wheels. Right now I'm using a small rug, but the wheels keep hang­ing up on the edges. I'm going to keep my eyes open for a large card­board box!

  8. Frugal Kiwi says:

    Great idea! I don't have an office mat for my chair, but if I did, it would prob­a­bly be an old vinyl off cut.

  9. Mary Brown says:

    The card­board is a good idea and I also like using a piece of vinyl floor­ing. You can usu­ally get a piece on freecy­cle from some­one who recently had new floor­ing put in. If you don't like the pat­tern you just flip it over to use it like it is or paint it with any design you like.

    I love the map idea. We did the walls go down to an semi-finished base­ment with old map some­one was going to throw out. They was a local county map, ski trail map all kinds of stuff every­one always wanted to go look at the maps.

  10. Jane Boursaw says:

    That's a great idea. My plas­tic mat is get­ting pretty shabby (it's what — 20 years old or some­thing like that), so will def­i­nitely keep this in mind.

    And I must add that I'd have no trou­ble liv­ing in that gor­geous, well-lit writ­ing stu­dio of yours. It just relaxes me every time I look at your photos.

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks, Jane. I love it too. Yes, do keep it in mind. Very afford­able and great for the envi­ron­ment. I hate to think of what it takes to make those awful plas­tic ones. And then there's throw­ing them into the land­fill when we're done.

  11. Alexandra says:

    This is great! With so many peo­ple out there like you work­ing to defend the envi­ron­ment, it's hard to under­stand how the Obama Administration can take giant steps back­wards, as it did today with regard to ozone.

  12. Kim says:

    Well, it's not quite an office, but the room that's becom­ing our "school­room" down­stairs has some creepy clown wall­pa­per from the 1950s or so. We've decided that has to go, but one of the 4 walls is cheap, ugly wall­board with noth­ing else under­neath (the other 3 walls have wood bead­board or sid­ing). So, I'm cov­er­ing over those clowns with some old-fashioned metal thumb­tacks and a hand­ful of world and state maps. The state maps were free, one world map was here when we bought the house, and another was about $4 at Wal-Mart. Cheap, edu­ca­tional, and use­ful decor!

  13. Merr says:

    I bet you could per­son­al­ize these with a bit of splat­ter paint, or by glu­ing some trim or seam stitch­ing some heavy duty threat or yarn for your office or say for a kid's room (for those who have kids). Such a great idea!!!!

  14. Love this idea, Kerri! Cardboard is a neu­tral color so I can see how it would blend in with decor. After it wears out and get's ragged, you can even recy­cle it, mak­ing it a per­fect green solu­tion to a sim­ple prob­lem– very resourceful!

  15. Sheryl says:

    What a handy idea. There's never a short­age of heavy cardboard!

  16. Never would have thought of this one! Great idea.