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Some great DIY solutions to ugly carpet that you can't just rip out!

The carpet in your apartment looks like it belongs on the set of “Bewitched” and the landlord won’t replace it. Now what? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered – literally. Instead of staring at that ancient artifact day after day, cover it up with a homemade floor cloth, layered area rugs or even your own clever creation. The best part? Any of these techniques can be used to cover any other type of less than desirable flooring, too.  


The Layered Look

Layering works well for clothing, but it also looks great with area rugs. Pick one large, neutral area rug as your base piece, made of a durable fiber such as sisal or jute. Center it over the rug (or hard flooring) that needs an updated look. Top it off with one or more additional area rugs, this time opting for patterns, prints, textures and colors that perk the place up a bit. Go for an eclectic look by layering rugs with completely different patterns (but similar hues), playing with their positions until you’re happy with the layout. You can even break the usual design rules and set some rugs on an angle, or use a series of small area rugs, slightly overlapped, to cover a large area of the floor. We’ve all had that one room with an awkward shape; this is the perfect way to deal with it.


Fun with Floorcloths

A canvas floorcloth – much like an artist’s canvas – awaits your painted artistry. Fabric stores carry rolls of blank canvas, or you can purchase a canvas drop cloth from a home improvement store. A 9′ x 12′ canvas drop cloth costs $15-$25 on average, so it’s definitely a great option for a budget-friendly floor covering. The best part about making your own floorcloth – besides getting to decorate it any way you like – is that you can cover the entire floor with it, or use it area-rug style. Canvas drop cloths typically have hemmed edges too, so the finished project has a professional look.

  1. Measure the room, purchase an appropriately sized drop cloth, plus another plastic floorcloth to protect the floor while you work.
  2. Spread the canvas flat out on the plastic, then coat the entire canvas with any color of interior latex paint you like. A regular roller works well for a floorcloth.
  3. Once the base coat is completely dry, plot out your design with painter’s tape (or use large stencils). With tape, you can create stripes, geometric designs, or even a modern starburst design.
  4. Paint the designs in your chosen colors, wait for the paint to dry, then apply at least two coats of polyurethane to make the floorcloth durable. The polyurethane makes the canvas resistant to liquids, so you can even wipe it down when it needs a cleaning.

If you would rather buy a pre-made floorcloth, we love the offerings of this site!


Gettin’ Snappy

Snap-together carpet tiles are a thing… yes, really! These are one of the simplest solutions when you want the look of a full, new carpet but can’t replace the current flooring. They lock together, much like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, only easier to figure out. It gets even better – the tiles are sold in many colors and patterns so you can create your own designs. Some companies even sell tiles themed in professional sports-team colors and logos, perfect for a man cave or kid’s room.  Many of these are designed to be durable enough for use in a garage, mudroom or basement, too. Even better still, you can replace tiles get stained or if you simply want to create a new design, and you can take the tiles with you when you move into your next place. 


Sampled Style

Carpet samples – you know, those smallish pre-cut squares and rectangles – are available on the cheap from just about any place that sells carpet. Create your own fun, funky area rug or complete floor covering by arranging assorted carpet samples any way you like. Mix colors, textures and fibers for a completely unique, patchwork-style design. Arrange and rearrange the samples on the floor until you come up with a design you like. 

  1. Take a picture of the layout if you aren’t quite sure, so you can recreate the design later as needed.
  2. Once you’re happy with the layout, secure the pieces together with pressure-sensitive carpet-seaming tape. You can even recreate a popular store-bought style.
  3. Cut each strip long enough to secure adjacent carpet samples.
  4. Peel off the backing, lift one edge of one carpet sample, then slide the tape sticky-side up so half of it sits underneath the lifted carpet piece.
  5. Repeat the process with remaining adjacent carpet pieces, then smooth the edges of each sample down with your hands to secure the tape. Simple and stylish.


Laminate Love

If you’re feeling extra ambitious and don’t mind a little work, you could install a laminate faux wood floor right atop the carpet, sans glue. The slat-style pieces slide and lock together even without glue once you press them in place; you won’t even be able to see the seams.

  1. Measure the square footage of the room to ensure you purchase enough laminate material.
  2. Select a firm laminate material rather than a floppy vinyl-style one, otherwise the laminate will flex a lot atop the carpet as you walk over it.
  3. Cut the laminate strips so they span the entire length or width of the room, if possible, using a sharp utility knife.
  4. Be sure to do all your cutting on a durable work surface or atop layers of corrugated cardboard, not on top the carpet, because accidents happen.
  5. Slide the laminate strips into place one by one as you cut them. This video even shows a clever way to deal with the last laminate piece, where one type of flooring blends into the next.

Once your apartment flooring is no longer an eyesore, you can focus on smaller details to design your own stunning apartment!  

What tricks have you tried to get rid of unsightly carpet? Let us know how you did it in the comments!

The Author

Carly Howell

Carly Howell

Digital Marketing Intern for Fracture. In between Netflix binges, can be found traveling or in the nearest gelato shop.