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

Updated 07/08/19
How to Over Dye a Rug
Sean Litchfield ; DESIGN: Homepolish

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came into fashion a few years ago, as retailers started upcycling vintage rugs that were worn beyond repair or simply outdated, and giving them a fresh life with a bright, new colorway.

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. Here are his tips for how to overdye a rug and create a totally new look.

  • Vacuum the carpet.
  • Wet the carpet and place it outside on a plastic tarp.
  • Make the dye according to the bottle and pour it into spray bottles.
  • Spray the carpet until you have the preferred color. This takes time and quite a lot of dye.
  • Rinse well. Use a hose until the water that drains off the carpet is completely clear.
  • Hang to dry.
  • 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 so you can send your pre-loved rug to get a much-deserved makeover. And if you don't have a rug to refinish but still love the look, we rounded up our favorite overdyed rugs in all sizes for all budgets.

Overdyed Distressed Vintage Turkish Rug With Modern Industrial Style
Chairish Overdyed Distressed Vintage Turkish Rug With Modern Industrial Style $14000 $5865
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This blue-gray vintage Turkish rug is the perfect example of a beautifully repurposed carpet—and it's almost a third off its original price.

Overdyed Vintage Rug
Urban Renewal Overdyed Vintage Rug $899
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A little known fact about Urban Outfitters is that they have a vintage selection of fashion and home décor dubbed Urban Renewal. They offer vintage rugs at a lower price point than you'd find elsewhere.

ABC Carpet & Home Color Reform Silk Overdyed Rug $16600 $9999
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You can even overdye a silk rug. This exquisite seafoam green silk number from ABC Carpet & Home is proof.

Majesty Rug
West Elm Majesty Rug, 5 x 8 $499 $349
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West Elm has also jumped on the distressed overdyed train with a collection of moody, vintage-looking rugs.

Vintage Persian Patchwork Rug
Chairish Vintage Persian Patchwork Rug $625
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Some rugs are beyond repair—which is when patchwork comes handy. Give your patchwork rug a unified look by overdyeing it like this vintage carpet sold on Chairish.

Overdyed Albufera Rug
Anthropologie Overdyed Albufera Ryg, 5 x 8 $398
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You can find a wide variety of overdyed rugs at Anthropologie. Depending on the size you choose, the brand offers some pretty affordable options.

Red Silky Wool Overdyed Rug
Chairish Red Silky Wool Overdyed Rug $6205 $5240
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The best part about overdyeing your own rug is you can pick the exact color you want—we love this fiery red number that's sold on Chairish.

ABC Carpet & Home Color Reform Spectrum Overdyed Rug $9200 $3680
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ABC Carpet & Home has a large inventory of overdyed rugs it calls Color Reform. This fuchsia number is a favorite.

Distressed Rococo Wool Rug
West Elm Distressed Rococo Wool Rug $699 $489
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Another patchwork number, courtesy of West Elm—this rug comes in a variety of colors.

ABC Carpet & Home Color Reform Spectrum Overdyed Rug $7000
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Add a pop of greenery (the color of the year) to your home by adding a bright overdyed green rug in your space.

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