How Do You Paint A Carpet? (Full Guide And Tips)

Many of us love to have a large carpet on the floor, because it really ties a room together. Carpets offer us a whole range of colors and patterns that can really transform the feeling of a space, brightening it up.

How Do You Paint A Carpet (Full Guide And Tips)

However, many of us eventually get tired of our carpet and want a new one. Perhaps the style and aesthetic of your room changes, and the old carpet simply doesn’t fit it anymore? Whatever the reason, buying a new carpet will cost you quite a lot of money.

So how can you get a “new” carpet more cheaply?

You repaint it! A great way to save money yet still change the vibe of your room is by painting your old carpet, giving it new colors and patterns.

At the same time, painting your carpet is a great way to fix your old carpet, too. If your carpet has become discolored, painting it again is a great way to make it appear new and fresh again. 

But how do you paint a carpet? If your carpet is discolored, it’s best to dye it, which you should hire a professional to do. Aside from that, there are steps for painting carpets fully and we’ve got a thorough guide on how to do that. 

Our handy guide below will tell you how to paint a carpet, with detailed descriptions and tips. Read on!

The Steps Of Painting A Carpet

The Steps Of Painting A Carpet

There are many different steps to successfully painting a carpet, and they need to be carefully followed in order if you want to do it well.

We’re going to explain all of the different stages here, but you should ask a professional carpet painter to help guide you too.

Step One: Picking Your Color

The first step is essential. When you pick out your new color for the carpet, you must be absolutely sure that it’s what you want. 

Once you have painted the carpet, you’re not going to be able to undo what you’ve done. If you don’t like the color, then it will take a lot of effort to then save the carpet and paint it another one. 

For this reason, you need to make sure that your choice of color is absolutely what you want beforehand. You may already be perfectly set on a color, because your room has an aesthetic and color scheme to it already. In this case, it should be an easy choice for you!

Step Two: Washing Your Carpet

Before you begin the painting process, you will need to wash your carpet. This will actually help you tell if your choice of color is the right one, because it will show you what the carpet is really like and how well it will take to its new shade.

You should vacuum your carpet first, then wash and shampoo it. You should obviously make sure that it has fully dried before you paint it, too.

Step Three: Test The Color

If you want, you can test how your chosen color will look on the carpet. Try a little bit of paint on a small section of the carpet, then take a step back and see if the color suits the carpet. Your test bit should wash out, meaning that your trial hasn’t ruined the carpet.

Alternatively, you could always use some form of photo manipulation software on the computer to see how your carpet will look. Take a photo of your carpet, then digitally apply your new color of paint to it. 

Step Four: Patterns?

Another factor to consider before you paint is whether you want to keep the carpet patterns or not. If your carpet has patterns in the first place, do you want them to be visible afterwards? If so, this will change the way you point, and you may even want to choose a lighter shade of color.

Step Five: Preparing The Room 

Find the room that you’re going to paint the carpet in. You should move all of the furniture out of the room, so that it doesn’t get affected by the paint and ruined. 

On top of that, you’ll need to tape some newspaper over the baseboard all around the room. This will help to keep your walls from getting splattered by carpet paint, too. 

You must also put down paint protection covers on the floor, so that your room’s sealed-down carpet is protected too. 

Step Six: Picking Your Paint And Process

Although you have your chosen color of paint, you need to get the right kind of paint too. We recommend using upholstery paint for the job. If you use acrylic or other forms of paint, then it will give your carpet a crunch feel to it. 

You will also need to decide how you’re going to do the painting. We recommend that you use a spray paint method. This is because if you use a paintbrush to apply the paint then it will give you a more inconsistent paint job – as well as take much longer.

Step Seven: Preparing Your Tape

Now it’s time to tape the carpet with strips of marking tape. This is for people who want to paint their carpet in different ways, perhaps putting your color in certain patterns, or even using different colors for different parts. 

Anywhere you put masking tape on your carpet is not going to get covered by the paint. As a result, you want to put down strips of masking tape all over the carpet, covering up the bits you don’t want painted and leaving exposed the bits you do. 

You’ll want to use a tape measure to correctly mark out your patterns, using a pencil to mark off the correct widths and lengths of tape, as well as note down any specific colors that should be applied in those areas.

By contrast, some people might just want to paint the whole carpet in one consistent color. If that’s the case, then you won’t need to put tape over certain parts of the carpet.

Step Eight: Placing The Tape

Once you’ve got all your masking tape prepared, you need to make sure that you apply it to the carpet properly. 

You want to press the masking tape very firmly onto your carpet, using two strips for extra protection. The more firmly the tape is put down, the less likely you are to get paint leaking onto the areas. 

Cover every part that you had planned. It’s a good idea to use some brown masking paper too, for added protection, using it either side of your tape to make extra sure that no paint can possibly get onto the areas you want unpainted. 

Step Nine: Painting Your Carpet

Now that you’ve got your tape firmly put down, and the room prepared, it’s time to paint. 

Spray the paint on with a steady motion, keeping it flat. Hold your spray paint can about 5 cm away from the carpet itself, because this will give you full coverage without overdoing it. 

Make sure to read the instructions and safety advice on your spray paint can – it’s essential to follow these.

If any paint begins to build up on the masking tape, wipe it away with a cloth just to be careful.

Once you’ve done your first full coat, have a look and see if you’re satisfied with the color and the coverage. If your first coat has been too light, then give the carpet another coat, using all the same spray can methods.

Once you’ve let one side of the carpet dry, you can turn it and continue to the other.

Step Ten: Removing Your Masking Tape

After you’ve done an hour of spraying, remove some of your tape and see how neatly the paint job has ended up. If it’s not as neat as you want it, or the patterns haven’t come out properly, put the masking tape back and try again. 

Step Eleven: More Patterns

If you want to add more patterns and sections of color to your carpet, then continue to do so. You need to make sure that your previous paint has dried properly before you try other patterns, so you may have to wait around a bit.

Step Twelve: A Final Dry

Once you’ve done all of your painting, with all the patterns and color that you want, then you must leave the carpet to dry. You’re not going to be able to use your carpet until it has dried, so you need to wait a minimum of 8 hours for it to do so.

If you can, leave the carpet to dry overnight too. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

The Process of Painting

We only touched upon the actual painting process in our twelve step guide, so we’re now going to go into greater detail about this tricky and time-consuming act.

Painting your carpet is a process that is going to take time and precision. You need to be very careful when you’re applying the paint, in order for you to get a full coverage without spots or patches. 


If you want to paint it so that there are patterns on the carpet or specific sections of color, then you need to carefully measure and firmly place down various strips of masking tape onto the carpet. 

Put the strips where you don’t want any paint to go. They will cover those areas, allowing you to paint everything else without worrying about affecting unwanted areas. 

The more patterns and different shades of color that you use, the more effort and time it’s going to be. Painting the carpet in a tone on tone way, with limited colors and no patterns, will be the easiest approach.


When you choose your paint color, you need to make sure that it is a lighter shade than the carpet already is. This is because if it isn’t, then it isn’t going to properly show up on top of the old color.

Light Application

You also need to make sure that your paint is applied relatively lightly, but not so lightly that it isn’t properly noticeable. If you apply the paint too thickly then it can cause the carpet to become crunchy and hard, which is the last thing you want from a carpet. 


Paint can easily drip, which means you need to be aware of it and make sure that it doesn’t get onto parts of the carpets that you don’t want it to. If your spray can is dripping, let it drip over some tape or cloth, not the carpet.

Different Chemical Carpet Dyes

Different Chemical Carpet Dyes

If you’re dyeing your carpet, there are a variety of different chemical carpet dyes available. Each of these have their own benefits and uses, and you should get the type that is going to be most suited to what you’re trying to do.

Essential Safety Warning

You must always be careful when dealing with chemical carpet dyes, since they can be harmful to your health if used wrongly. 

For one thing, you must never drink these toxic chemicals, because they could do all sorts of fatal damage to your body. 

However, you also need to be careful when handling and applying the dye. Always wear gloves, since the chemicals could cause skin irritation, and ideally wear a mask.

You should read and follow the instructions on whatever chemical dye you buy. 

It’s much better to get a professional to do your carpet dyeing, since they have the experience.

Acid-Based Dye

An acid-based carpet dye is a good way to tint your carpet a different color. However, you should check the label on the dye beforehand, since it might not work with the sort of fibers that your carpet is made of.

In order to apply your acid-based dye, first read the instructions on it and make sure that you’re following all of them – including the safety information. Dealing with chemicals can be dangerous, so you must be safe.

Speaking of safety, you need to wear rubber gloves while you’re applying the acid-based dye. You can apply it with the use of a paintbrush, brushing the dye on.

You should start by only painting a tiny unimportant portion, so that you can see if the dye looks right. If it does, then you can continue to brush every area of the carpet that you want. 

Once you’ve applied all of the dye that’s needed, leave the carpet to dry for a minimum of 24 hours. This may seem like a long time, but it’s essential. You can’t use a carpet that is wet with dye still. 

Carpet Dye Pen

A carpet dye pen is a clever device made especially for small touch-up jobs, allowing you to dye a specific area of the carpet rather than the whole thing. 

These are incredibly handy, because a lot of people will find that only small portions of their carpet have discolored, for example because they have been in the sunlight for too long. Rather than dye the whole carpet again, it’s only worth dyeing the specifically affected area – which is where the dye pen comes in. 

You can buy the dye pens in sets, usually with a range of colors included. Try to find the color that will suit your discolored spot best, and make sure that you follow the instructions and safety advice that comes with the pen.

However, some dye pens will not work on certain carpet materials, so make sure that the pen you buy is going to work on yours.

If you can’t find the right color dye pen for your carpet, then apply a lighter shade and then add a darker shade, hoping that you can reach the right color somewhere in between. 

Thankfully, if the dyeing goes wrong, then the pen comes with a remover to help you get rid of it. 

Professional Carpet Dye

It is possible to buy carpet dye set penetrant, which will dye your carpet in the way that a professional would. It is specially made so that the fibers in the carpet will absorb the paint in an even way, giving you a thorough coverage of paint with no missing spots.

However, professional dye sets can be difficult to use, as well as dangerous. Always read and follow the safety warnings and follow the instructional steps carefully. Many will even come with instructional videos to help make it even clearer.

If you have the money, it’s worth getting a professional to do this kind of dyeing instead.

What Does Carpet Paint And Dye Do?

When you dye or paint a carpet, it’s actually only changing the color of the individual fibers in the carpet, making them either lighter or darker in shade. This means that the dye or paint is not actually altering the carpet’s color completely.

It’s also worth noting that the paint or dye may not work on all carpets. For example, you might have a carpet that is really plush and thick, which makes it very difficult for the paint to get in and set properly.

On top of that, you might have a carpet that is stain resistant. Though these are handy in stopping your carpet getting stained, it isn’t so handy when you’re purposefully trying to “stain” it a different color.

Lightening A Carpet’s Color

If you’ve found that your carpet is too dark, perhaps because it doesn’t fit in with the other colors of the room, then you can lighten it yourself.

It’s a process that will take a few steps, but is far cheaper and easier than buying a whole new carpet or even painting it a different color using our guide from earlier.

Step One: Make Your Mixture

Firstly, you will need to make the mixture that will lighten the carpet.

To do this, mix one cup of white distilled vinegar with one gallon of warm water. Stir the mixture. 

Step Two: Spraying The Carpet

After you’ve stirred your mixture into the proper consistency, pour it into a spray bottle. 

Take your spray bottle and spray the carpet in an even fashion, making sure that you get every part. Of course, if you only want to lighten one specific part, then spray that area. 

Step Three: Wait

Once you’ve sprayed all the areas that you need to, leave the carpet for a minimum of half an hour. By the end, the carpet should look lighter.

Step Four: Wash

Once you’ve let the mixture settle, you need to wash your carpet with a special carpet washing machine. This will rinse and shampoo it. Carefully follow the instructions to operate the machine, then wait for the carpet to dry fully.

Fixing A Carpet Bleach Spot

Fixing A Carpet Bleach Spot

Sometimes you will find that you’ve got a bleach spot on your carpet, where something has been spilled and has stained it. Bleach spots can appear orange or yellow, but also sometimes white.

Thankfully, there is a way to repair your carpet and get rid of the bleach spots, meaning that you don’t have to shell out the money for a new carpet instead.

There are few different ways that you can do this.

Carpet Dye Pen

When we covered carpet dye pens earlier in the article, we looked at how they can help recolor small areas of a carpet that have been affected. Using them to repair bleach spots uses the same principle, but it is only going to work with relatively small bleach spots.

When you buy a carpet dye pen, you’ll get a set of different shades and a bleach neutralizer. Make sure to read the packaging first, because some dye pens won’t work with certain types of carpet, which could include your own.

Once you’ve got dye pens that are a similar color to your carpet, you can apply them to the bleached spot, following the instructions. Once you’ve covered the affected area, leave the carpet to dry for a minimum of 12 hours. 

Fabric Painting

Fabric painting is a technique where you enhance the patterns and design of your fabric, but it can be used to repair a bleach spot on carpet too. 

However, it can be a little difficult to get the color right. This is because you have to mix the powder-based paint yourself and try to get it to closely match the color of your carpet. As a result, apply it very thinly to begin with, and then make it a bit darker if you need to.

If your carpet isn’t made of natural fibers, this method is probably not the best choice.

Tea Or Coffee Painting

We’re finishing with a unique one! If your affected carpet is a dark color, you can use a carpet paint that’s made from tea or coffee to cover the bleach spot. However, this only works for natural carpets.

To do this, first brew the tea or coffee so that it’s 3 times stronger than usual. After that, put a teaspoon in it and then spoon some of the liquid onto the bleach spot. 

Then get a white cloth that’s lint-free and rub the tea or coffee into the area, making sure not to soak the whole carpet (Check out How To Get Coffee Stains Out Of Carpet). 

After that, fold a dishcloth into your mug of liquid, squeeze out most of it, then rest the wet cloth on the affected area too. Push it down briefly, then use a cloth to rub the carpet fibers. 

Final Thoughts

Painting your carpet a new color is a lot cheaper than buying a whole new one, and there are various different ways you can paint or dye a carpet. 

Follow the steps in our guide carefully, and always follow safety precautions. Additionally, always read the label on the products you’re using.

Johnathon Gooder
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