How to Paint Your Carpet

Three Methods:PreparationMaking the design or color areaPainting the carpet

Don’t like the current state or color of your carpet? You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars replacing it––paint it instead! Go one step further and create a fashionable design on either old wall-to-wall carpet or an area rug to spice up any room.

Method 1

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    Select the paint carefully. Choose upholstery paint only. If you use acrylic or any other paint, your carpet will end up with that crunchy, clumpy feel. And while you could use a paintbrush and paint from a can, you won’t achieve the same coverage consistency as you would using spray paint.
    • Keep a bottle of paint thinner nearby to “erase” mistakes. In case your design doesn’t go the way you want or in the even the spray paint hits a piece of furniture or the floor you can attend to it quickly.
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    Assemble enough drop cloths to cover and protect the majority of the room. Or, if you are able, take your painting project outside.
    • Consider moving the carpet to a well-ventilated area (if possible) or protecting the surrounding walls with painter’s tape and newspaper.
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Method 2
Making the design or color area

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    Map out your design or the completeness of color area. Unless you plan to cover the carpet with one consistent color, get out your tape measure and map out the design you’d like to create. Use a washable marker to create your map––consider using a light color that won’t be visible underneath the paint.
    • Tape out areas that you don’t want to paint. Especially if you're using multiple colors, you’ll want to tape out the area you plan to paint using a specific color. Paint, allow it to dry, remove the tape and then re-tape the area in preparation of the next color.

Method 3
Painting the carpet

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    Paint the carpet. Hold the spray paint can at least one to two inches (2.5-5cm) away from the carpet for consistent coverage without over-painting.
    • Avoid shaking the can over the area you want to paint to prevent the paint from splashing or splattering.
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    • Run the paint over the carpet in a smooth, even fashion. If the first pass is too light, repeat the step until you're satisfied with the coverage.
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    • Dab any puddled paint on painter’s tape with a rag. You don’t want to have puddled tape dry on the tape as when you peel it away it could not only stick to the carpet, some paint could not be fully dry and spill on other areas of the carpet.
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    Work from one end of the carpet to the other end. Make sure you are fully satisfied with the section you are painting before moving forward.
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    Allow the paint to dry before adding a new color to your design. This may take some time, but doing it the right way will be worth the wait.
    • Be sure you lay painter's tape on fully dried paint. During the second or third phase of the painting, you may be laying painter’s tape on previously painted area. Never place tape on a painted area unless completely dry or you risk compromising the integrity of the previously painted area.
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    Wait until the rug is completely dry before using. Typical dry time is anywhere from eight to 10 hours depending upon the climate and humidity levels.


  • Consider adding a layer of scotch guard over the painted area once it’s dry to protect the carpet and your paint.
  • Before vacuuming or cleaning, test the carpet cleaner or vacuum in a small, inconspicuous area to ensure the paint won’t be damaged.
  • Take care when removing the painter’s tape to avoid pulling up areas you’ve already painted (and don’t want removed).


  • Painting your carpet will be a permanent change––be sure you are ready to embrace and accept the result.
  • Only paint in a well-ventilated area.

Things You'll Need

  • Upholstery paint (spray)
  • Drop cloths
  • Painter’s tape
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Rag remnants

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