Don't Toss It—Here's How To Make Your Old Rug Look Brand-New

living room with a carefully selected area rug

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Do you have a rug that has seen better days or that you're simply sick of, but you don't have the heart to throw it out? Maybe you inherited a Persian carpet from your family that doesn't fit your décor style, or maybe your pets have ruined a perfectly good hand-knotted flatweave rug.

No matter the situation, we have a solution for you: overdyeing. You've probably already seen the final product in interiors everywhere. Overdyed rugs came into fashion a few years ago, as retailers started upcycling vintage rugs that were worn beyond repair or simply outdated, and giving them a fresh life with a bright, new color.

You can give your used rug a second life by re-creating it as a hip overdyed rug.

The one caveat is that it should be made out of wool or natural material, as synthetic rugs can't withstand the dyeing process. The process of overdyeing a rug is intensive, laborious, and it takes up a lot of room—it involves soaking it, bleaching it, dyeing it, and you often have to repeat the process until the desired finish is attained (sometimes up to seven times!). While it may sound like a daunting task, it's nothing you can't complete on your own with a little DIY spirit.

According to Paul Lowe Einlyng, founder of the food and crafts magazine Sweet Paul, you're just seven steps away from a striking DIY rug.

How to Overdye a Rug

  1. Vacuum the carpet.
  2. Wet the carpet and place it outside on a plastic tarp.
  3. Make the dye according to the bottle and pour it into spray bottles.
  4. Spray the carpet until you have the preferred color. This takes time and quite a lot of dye.
  5. Rinse well. Use a hose until the water that drains off the carpet is completely clear.
  6. Hang to dry.
  7. Spray with Scotchgard or a similar product once dry.

If this project still feels like too much work, the good news is that many reputable rug-refinishing services are available like Rugzy in Los Angeles and Aelfie in New York. You can send your pre-loved rug to get a much-deserved makeover.