Sunday, November 11, 2012

DIY "Wooden" Office Chair Mat

After finishing the Chrome & Leather Desk for my Husband's Office, I realized that his rolling office chair was not the best thing for our new carpet.  So, I went to look for a basic Chair Mat.  I needed a fairly large one - at least 4' x 4' and I was shocked at the prices of even the cheap plastic mats.  Even more shocking were some of the fancy wooden mats like this one at for $289.00!

Anji Mountain Tri-Fold Bamboo Chairmats, Dark Cherry
Anji Mountain Chairmat - Staples 
But, when I saw the wooden ones, I got an idea.  Here's what I did:

I ran out to Home Depot and picked up this 4' x 4' piece of plywood floor underlayment for $12.00. 

Then, I picked up 16 of these wood-look self-stick flooring tiles at $0.98 each.  I stuck them onto the plywood and here's the result:

Plus, it probably took me a total of 10 minutes to complete this project and my husband was thrilled with his new, expensive-looking Chair Mat!

The possibilities are endless if you think about how many different styles of self-stick flooring tiles there are out there! You could have a marble or granite-look mat, or any style of wood or cork.    

The Fake-It Yourself Breakdown:

Fake Expensive Wood Chair Mat  (Plywood $12, 16 Tiles @ $0.98 ea)

Total Fake-It Cost:  $27.68

Compare to the Fancy Chair Mat from Staples:  $298.00

Total Fake-It Savings:  $270.32


  1. Replies
    1. woodprix has the best handbooks and ready instructions. You can learn much from them and make it yourself.

  2. Your mat looks better than the Staples mat! Awesome!

  3. That's the best idea I've seen! What a savings and looks so good. Job well done, m'dear.

  4. VERY clever! Love all the ideas you plant in my brain. =) Looks awesome!

  5. fantastic idea! Looks amazing. Rose

  6. How thick was the plywood you used?

  7. Wow! Nice chairmat! It's a good thing that you've bought your husband mat that he can use for his rolling chair. With this, he can work comfortably in his office without worrying that he may damage the floor.

  8. Love it, its a win-win for me! This would make a great Christmas present for my husband, and it would add a little something to the look of the office. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I did this today. At Home Depot, they cut it smaller to 4x3 for me for free. The wood subflooring piece was $8.00, and I also used the tiles pictured in the example. Those were $0.89 cents each. I used 12 of them. It came out perfectly and I couldn't be happier. Thanks for this awesome money saving tip!

  10. Thank you for this great money saving project! I actually doubled the underlayment by gluing two pieces together because our carpet is a little thicker, my husband is a big guy, and he works from home and sits at his desk for many hours every day. It looks great and he loves his new mat! I put a link to this on my homemaking blog today. I hope you don't mind.

  11. This is awesome! I guess my only concern is that it could scratch/slide around on a hardwood floor. Any thoughts on this?

  12. I'd be concerned about the plywood fibers eventually working their way into the carpeting over time. (This was mentioned on another web discussion about chair mat alternatives--the warning was against using plywood.) However, I think a solution for that, and possibly the scratching/sliding issue, would be to adhere the vinyl tiles to both sides....or to affix one of those rubbery sheets you put under throw rugs to the bottom of the plywood.

  13. I just made this today. I was able to find a 3x4 piece of plywood at the local ReStore for $3.00 and the same tiles that you used at HD. I love it and it works great. Thank you!

  14. What a cool idea!! You are vary creative.

  15. Has it continued to work well for your husband? Any problems, or things you would change now, after using it for several months?

  16. My floors actually have these tiles so this mat will blend seamlessly into the floor - genius!

  17. You inspired me to do this. Two problems: I needed it about 1 inch narrower to fit between two desk legs. I'm kind of a perfectionist - the vinyl can't go over the edge or fall short of covering the wood.

    I went with 3' lengths of the vinyl wood to create an interesting border pattern. Then 4 1' squares in the center. I like it.

    I had to trim the edges. The vinyl apparently has metal in it, as I got sparks with my circular saw and a dull blade. A rough blade will go through the wood and mat fine, but chip the vinyl. A fine blade will go dull quickly and get bogged down. I spent 2.5 hours with the saw, two blades, and a small belt sander... but it was worth it.

    1. When I say "metal in it" I mean trace amounts... just enough to see a spark every few seconds. Nothing like a grinder on steel or anything. :)

  18. I just made this as well. Easy, creative and cost saving. I did have to tie the 4'x4' to the roof of my carr to get it home, a bit of a challenge on a windy Rochester afternoon!

  19. AWESOME!!!! I could not stand the expensive plastic chairmat I got from Staples last week, and need something the wheels won't sink into — and when I googled' "chairmat alternative" I came across this blog post.


  20. Absolutely Awesome!!!!
    I have a big area to cover and the 72×96 mats were over 450.00. I have the extra room and decided to use 2 4×8 sheets of the medium thickness hardboard,( it looks like cardboard, but 3/16 thick) the flat surface on one side is great for the tile to stick to and the rougher side works great to grab the carpet to keep it from sliding.
    Then I got 2 boxes of the cheapest peel-&-stick tiles.

    2 hardboards 14.12×2=28.24,
    2 boxes of tiles 17.55×2=35.10
    Total with tax 67.14
    for a 96×96 mat.(no clue what a custom cut mat that size would be, but i’d guess at least 600-700.00) crazy!

    Oh, just because I was concerned about the center line where I butt the 2 boards together having the chair catch the edge, I laid a piece of Gorilla Tape under the board on the seam to keep the seam even. Got the idea from carpet layers and carpet tape. Plus when it comes time to take it up, all i need do is pull the tape off and have 2 4×8 sheets to move instead of 1 big one.

    Thanks again!!

  21. Awesome, going to try this to protect my hardwood floors. Was anybody else concerned about the plywood scratching the floor underneath and have any suggestions?

    1. I haven't tried it, but how I would fix that problem is to padding underneath--I'll probably try to see if cheap carpet would work or not.

  22. Excellent tips. Really useful stuff. Never had an idea about this, will look for more of such informative posts from your side. Good job Keep it up.
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  23. Wow, awesome idea!
    I just made one myself using your post, only spending $20 at Home Depot for 16 of the "wood" vinyl tiles (slightly different than yours) and a 4' x 4' 5-mm underlayment piece (didn't want it too thick). I used a power sander on the edges to lessen any splintering from the edges before placing the tiles. Came out great - Thanks!!

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  25. Excellent tips.: I needed it about 1 inch narrower to fit between two desk legs.

    chair floor protector

  26. Thank you! I just found this post this morning, and two hours later, I have a similar mat under my desk. I paid $11:58 for an 8' X 4' sheet of underlayment, and they ripped it in half for me. They even rough cut a 1' square out of each corner on one side, so I have a 1'X2' lip that goes under the desk and 3' by 4' in front of the desk. I got the same .89 sticky tiles (14 of them) and it looks great. I've never had such an easy project that looks and works so great.

  27. Absolutely fantastic tips! It looks very creative and eye-catching. Thanks for sharing some innovative ideas about wooden office chair.

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Ive been wanting a chairmat for a while. Every time I go to an office supply store, I balk at the price of them. Its not that I cant afford it, but I just feel the markup is way to high to justify. I even went to a used office supply outlet near me. The outlet always has used chairmats dirt cheap, but they are always dirty, discolored, scratched or cracked. The salesman said the good ones go instantly.

    Then I came across this article... I said why not? I went to Home Depot and bough a 4'x4' 5.5MM Triply. They didnt have 3x3, which is what I wanted, but they cut it for me for free. That was $8.47. The cuts werent perfect, there were some burrs on one side of two edges, but I just put the tiles over those edges. The tiles themselves, were $7.83 for 9. The loose tiles on display were not in the best condition, so the salesman opened a box of them and gave me 9. They sell them loose or by the box. Not sure how many are in the box, but it was heavy, so there were probably a lot. Total cost with tax was $17.28.

    Construction took less than a minute. Peel and place.

    1. So after using my spiffy new chairmat for a bit, I felt the plywood on the bottom was flexing a bit too much. I was worried that over an extended period of time the plywood might crack under the weight. I went back to Home Depot and purchased 9 more tiles of a different pattern. I could have used the same tiles, but I thought it might be nice to turn it over once in a while and get a new look. The extra tiles made the mat much more rigid, with just a little flex.

    2. How is your plywood mat with tiles on both sides holding up after a year? I am thinking about doing this myself.

  30. Great tip. Just finished mine. So far so good.

  31. Wow, this is a great alternative! I cant believe how much stores charge for a flat piece of plastic.

    Thanks for posting this!

  32. Great project! I made two of them today for the house and they turned out wonderfully. Thanks for posting it.

  33. I was just curious to hear any feedback from anyone who has made this and used it for a while (a year or longer). I worked out of a mobile office once that had tile flooring and the wheels on the office chair really did a number on the tile, breaking it up. I'm curious how this setup would hold up long term by those that use their office every day rolling around on it. Thanks in advance!

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  36. Awesome idea, I picked very similar materials at Lowe's for a little less ($9 for 4x4 underlayment, $0.88 for self-sticking squares, ) and got this result:


    Very pleased with the result and savings -- Thanks for the inspiration!

  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

  38. Thanks for the great idea. Put mine together yesterday and today. Took me a little longer because I sanded the edges and a few other rough spots. I then put one coat of polyurethane on both sides. Put my "Moroccan slate" tiles on today. Looks great. Hopefully it lasts.

  39. I love this and made one too. I'm just curious as to what would ya'll recommend for the sharp edges.. I can't think of anything to put over it other than a rubber edging of some sort but can't think what would be good. Can you give some suggestions?

  40. I love this and made one too. I'm just curious as to what would ya'll recommend for the sharp edges.. I can't think of anything to put over it other than a rubber edging of some sort but can't think what would be good. Can you give some suggestions?

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