How to Deal (Stylishly) with Wall-to-Wall Carpet

updated Oct 22, 2022
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Wall-to-wall carpet can be a big bummer in an otherwise awesome house or rental apartment. If you don’t have the permission, the desire, or the budget to pull all that carpet up and deal with what’s underneath… you’re stuck with a flat expanse of warp, pile, and weft. Don’t worry—replacing wall-to-wall carpet is NOT the only aesthetic solution you have.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

All the homes in this post are proof that you can either live with, design around, or distract from this feature in a way that makes your home not only livable… but even lovely. These are the top three ways to deal with your home’s wall-to-wall carpet.

Clean it really, really well

I’m not talking about running a vacuum over its surface a few times. Whether you’ve been in your home for a while or you are just moving in, it’s worth investing a bit of time, money, and energy into giving your wall-to-wall carpet a deep clean. Why? Not only will it just feel better (anyone else get creeped out walking over carpet? Like… what else has been on this carpet over the years?), but it may even look better.

A \Jonathan (Image credit: Reagen Taylor)

You won’t know if you really hate your wall-to-wall carpet until you look at it in a fresher form. Perhaps the distracting stains and dull brown color aren’t permanent! What if a deep clean reveals a lighter, lovelier shade of beige?

The point is, you’re going to have to clean your carpets sometime, so do it now and then step back and reassess the carpet situation. You may find out you don’t hate it quite as much as you did before. You may just be able to live with it.

Layer over it

This is the most popular option for dealing with wall-to-wall carpet you don’t like but will cost a bit of money. The basic premise is pretty simple, though… just ignore the fact that you have carpet and place rugs in your rooms how you would if you were decorating as usual.

If you want to create visual areas in one room, use smaller rugs layered on top of the carpet and under furniture arrangements. But if you really hate the carpet, splurge on a room-sized rug that you can use to just cover up the bulk of the wall-to-wall carpet. Successful layering attempts below:

When all else fails, distract

If you’re just not into your wall-to-wall carpet or the idea of putting rugs on top—and cleaning didn’t put much of a dent in your hatred of it—you can try the distraction method. Grab enough colorful, patterned, and bold items and place them around the room with the carpet you’re trying to distract from.

Keep the colors high and off the ground. You won’t completely forget you have ugly wall-to-wall carpet that you hate, but your eye will be pulled toward the more vibrant objects. It won’t work magic—you’ll still have wall-to-wall carpet—but you’ll be surprised at just how well the beige plane will sort of melt into the background, allowing your style to take the visual stage.

\Lived (Image credit: Minette Hand)