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How to Paint Carpet

Change the color of your carpet with paint.
Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Things You'll Need:

  • Painter's tape
  • Hammer and pry bar (optional)
  • Latex paint conditioner
  • Latex paint
  • Paintbrush


Use the cheapest throw-away paintbrushes you can. Their bristles will be stiffer than those of a good-quality brush, making it easier to force paint between carpet fibers.


  • Painting projects should be undertaken in a well-ventilated area.

If you are faced with an ugly, glued-down, cheap, all-weather carpet in your new home, you have two choices: pull it up and replace it, or cover it with a huge area rug. The drawbacks? Pulling up a carpet that has been thoroughly glued down over a period of years is nearly impossible and may release toxins, particularly if the carpet may have been glued to asbestos floor tiles. The area rug idea is safer, but an area rug rarely, if ever, covers an entire room and the carpet underneath shows as a border. The solution? Paint the ugly carpet before covering it with the area rug.

Remove or mask the baseboards, molding and the door sill, if any. This allows you to work from the edge of the carpet and ensure complete coverage. Test paint 1 square foot of carpet in the corner of the room, farthest away from the door. Use the latex paint without conditioner to check the acceptability of the color. If the color is acceptable, paint the carpet as planned. If the color is not acceptable, it can easily be painted over: Without the conditioner, latex paint dries quickly. If the test patch is not the right color, you can paint over it as soon as the paint is dry to the touch.

Mix conditioner into paint, using 1 part conditioner to 2 parts paint. The conditioner will cause the paint to dry much more slowly and allow the paint to saturate fully the fibers of the carpet being painted. Begin painting at the point farthest from the door and work toward the door. Apply the paint with a brush, and work the paint between and into the fibers as much as you can. Do not use a long nap paint roller to simply roll the paint onto the carpet, as the paint will sit on top of the fibers, rather than being deposited between the fibers.

Allow the carpet to dry at least 3 days. When the carpet is dry to the touch, use a paper towel and lightly scrub the carpet, working the paper towel between the fibers. If the paper towel does not pick up traces of paint, lay the area rug and move in furniture.

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