As a renter, you’ll come across it sooner or later in your leasing career if you haven’t already—the cutest luxury-sized loft with a price that practically makes you do a backflip. There’s only one catch: wall-to-wall carpeting that appears to be made from a Yeti hide.
Thankfully, there are ways to survive stained, worn, or just really unfortunate carpeting without forfeiting your security deposit. These ideas will take you through some of the most clever carpet disguises, from practical solutions to downright transformations—all while keeping your landlord satisfied.
Assess the true depth of your situation
Your apartment’s flooring may seem dire, but you can’t really know how bad the problem is until you give your carpeting a proper cleaning and fluffing. Rent a steam cleaner from a local hardware or grocery store and go to town, addressing any obvious, deep stains first by hand with a professional-strength carpet cleaning solution. Work from one corner of the room to the other in straight, clean lines. Once you’ve finished steaming, open as many doors and windows as you can to make the drying go faster.
Next, use a carpet rake to fluff up worn and battered carpeting. You may find that there’s quite a livable surface under all that wear and tear, after you give it a little TLC. And hey, even if you’re still dealing with the carpet from hell, you’ve at least taken care of dust, dander, and other allergens that may have been buried in the interior.
- Strategically placed furniture: If your carpet’s ugliness is mostly due to a single large stain or worn area, some smart room design is your best bet. Place large furniture strategically and your problem areas will be virtually obscured.
- Layered rugs: A large area rug can do a lot to distract the eye from eyesore carpeting. You can even mix and match several rugs in playful, cohesive patterns, layering several different specimens for maximum coverage—and a room with serious whimsy.
- Floorcloths: A floorcloth is similar to a rug, but made from canvas, so it’s larger, cheaper, and lies flatter than most area rugs. The canvas also allows for sharper patterns, easily capturing crisp geometrics and screen printed designs. You can even DIY your own.
- Carpet tiles: If you want to blot out lingering reminders of your room’s terrible flooring, carpet tiles are another way to go. While a bit on the pricey side, modular carpet tiles have an adhesive backing that sticks to the floor underneath them, and they’re usually sized around 20 x 20 inches so you can fit them to the area’s dimensions—no matter how big or small the room.
Sweettalk Your Landlord
Working on your powers of persuasion? Landlords—especially those in small, self-managed apartments—are sometimes willing to let you make changes to your rental’s interior. After all, that’s one less thing they’ll have to do. This obviously depends on your landlord’s personality, and it will require a lot of finesse on your part. You don’t want to insult them by going on and on about how tacky and insufferable the carpeting is. It’s not a strategy that’s recommended for everyone, but if it works, you could have almost any flooring you like, as long as you’re willing to put it in yourself!