Before & After: Nasty Old Carpet Turned Up to 11

published Apr 24, 2015
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(Image credit: Sarah)

What to do when you have a nasty old rug that you can’t replace? Sarah decided to paint hers, using a technique she usually reserves for getting paint out of the carpet!

(Image credit: Sarah)

From Sarah:

I needed a way to bring some rock-n-roll attitude into this music room, and I couldn’t afford to replace the nasty old beige carpet. I’d seen a few carpet-painting tutorials (all done with cheap outdoor area rugs), and when I suggested this option to Chris, he agreed that it would be pretty hard to make the old carpet any nastier than it already was. So I dove in.

I started by bleaching the carpet in an attempt to even out the tone and hopefully mellow out some of the stains. After bleaching, I let it dry out completely.

When it was finally dry and ready to paint, I basically reverse-engineered a method that I’ve used to get paint OUT of carpet when I accidentally spill and I’m not using a drop cloth. (Don’t act like that’s never happened to you.) I used a pump sprayer to wet sections of the carpet, then used a wet-dry vac to suck most of the water out. The damp carpet absorbs paint much more evenly than dry carpet. Then I rolled on a mixture of 2-parts-paint-to-1-part-water. And I used a scrub brush to work the paint evenly into the carpet.

After painting, I let it dry for a couple of days. Then I added the wow factor: the stencil. Once again, I watered down the paint. Then I spent 10 hours on my knees, using a 1-inch stencil brush to cover an entire 11×13-foot room with the coolest stencil I could find.


The best part? I just used leftover latex paint from the walls, so the only cost for this project was the price of the stencil. Oh, plus several days of my life spent on my knees on wet carpet.

For more photos and details, check out Sarah’s blog, Sarah’s Big Idea.

Thank you Sarah!