Unfortunately a few of the ideas are impossible, such as painting the fireplace (we rent from the in-laws and the fireplace is actually concrete) and buy certain rugs (too expensive).
I did find a rug that I think could work.... these indoor/outdoor beauties from Ballard:
The price is right at just $189 for an 8x10.
See the pretty light blue? I think it'd match well to my console table color. I also am loving the black one. Not to mention, they would hold up to Charlotte's not-so-nice way of marking her territory.
The Ivory Jute I've been eying (lightest on in the picture):
from west elm
Many of you mentioned a bright, graphic rug. Do please email me links if you have any in mind! brynalexandra at gmail.