No matter what we do, keeping the carpet clean can seem like an impossible task. After a while, or in a dated rental apartment, an eyesore of a carpet can become impossible to ignore. While replacing the carpet altogether might be an option, the cost of materials and labor required can be a considerable investment. Whether the carpet is heavily stained or simply old and discolored, it’s possible to disguise the problem in several cost-effective ways. Give one of these suggestions a try before you give up on ever inviting guests into your home.
Consider using wall decorations to draw attention away from the carpet. Try hanging mirrors, colorful paintings, or old family heirlooms to give visitors something to keep their eyes busy. An intricate wall tapestry can help as well. Find some unique artwork and adornments for cheap at thrift stores or flea markets. People will be much less likely to notice a few blotches on the carpet if there are more exciting things to distract the eye.
Roll out an area rug to cover up wider portions of the carpet. This will help to add elegance to your living space while simultaneously hiding discoloration. If you don’t have a rug and are watching your budget, consider a floor cloth instead. Aside from hiding any existing stains, rugs or drop cloths will help prevent future spills from reaching the carpet in the first place. Some are even machine-washable.
Move some furniture around to cover up as much of the problem area as possible. Conceal the ugliest spots by strategically positioning tables, sofas, and cabinets. If you haven’t moved furnishings around in a while, the carpet beneath them might be in better condition. Take advantage of this by creating open spaces where these items once were. A little feng shui can go a long way to keep your carpet from being the center of attention.
One option for homeowners is dyeing out the darker stains. Before getting started, try the dye out on a small piece of sample carpet first. Using dyes can be hit or miss when it comes to dealing with carpet stains. It may be best to try out some other ideas before resorting to this approach. While this is usually out of the question for renters, if you're set on this idea, it doesn't hurt to ask your landlord if they'll be replacing the carpet when you move out, anyway.
Use thematic, impressive textures and design ideas to keep visitors focused on the furnishings instead of the carpet. A chandelier or a few well-placed bookshelves can completely transform a living space, making any stains on the floor pale in comparison. Choose eye-catching throw cushions and blankets, or toss floor cushions over unsightly stains that are too central to hide under shelves.
You can use stenciling to create custom drop cloths for covering up any unsightly areas on the carpet. With this approach, you can add a personal touch to your home environment that best accentuates your existing décor. If you have the time, make two or three just in case there are any accidents in the future. Simply throw the dirty one in the laundry and replace it with another.
Plants can help break up the textures and colors in a room, making carpet imperfections less noticeable. If the affected area is in a corner or along a wall, use a potted plant to cover it up. A few plants can also shade the carpet from the lights above, helping to camouflage nearby blemishes.
Depending on the cause of the dinginess, giving your carpet a deep clean could be all you need to get rid of the worst of the stains. Smaller spots are easy to remove with carpet cleaning sprays. For larger areas, rent an upright cleaner from a local hardware store. These machines work well to lift dirt and debris buried deep in the carpet fibers, restoring the carpet to near original condition in some cases. You can also try using a carpet rake and vacuum.
Under certain light conditions, some carpet stains are almost impossible to see. Adjust the lighting down if you’re expecting visitors or simply turn off a few overheads or bright floor lamps you don’t need. Of course, dimming the lights to cover up carpet problems isn’t very practical in the long term. You’ll also be more likely to stumble and spill things in a poorly lit environment.
If you’re renting, speak with your landlord about possible solutions to the problem. There’s a chance he or she may agree to replace your carpet along with the next round of empty apartment renovations. Your landlord may also offer to have the carpet cleaned by professionals. Be aware that carpet replacement takes time and all items inside your apartment will need to be moved during the process.