Simple Ways to Cover Carpet in a Rental When You Can’t Tear it Up

coffee on rug

As a renter, you have limited options when it comes to customizing your rental properties. In most cases, you can’t tear up the carpet, but you can certainly cover it. You might do this if you suffer from allergies, want to minimize damage and protect your rental deposit, or simply want a flooring option that matches your décor. The following tips will teach you how to easily cover carpet in a rental property.

Put down an area rug or runner

Covering carpet in a rental with an area rug or runner is probably the simplest solution, as you just need to buy it and lay it down. Area rugs and runners probably won’t cover all the carpet in your rental property, but large ones can cover most of your high-traffic areas.

There are many beautiful rugs and runners available in stores and online, which you can easily roll up and take with you once your lease ends. If the old carpet shows around the perimeter of your rooms, consider options that coordinate with your existing flooring. You can go bold if the carpet is neutral, but you might want to choose a subtle rug or runner if the carpet is bright or patterned.

Quality rugs and runners can be expensive, so if you’re on a budget you might prefer making your own from carpet remnants. As a bonus, you can cut your remnants to fit the rooms in your rental perfectly. Use seam tape and carpet binding to bind the edges and prevent the carpet from unraveling.

Lay down a canvas floor cloth

Canvas can also be a great temporary flooring option for your rental. These floorcloths can make floors warm, like carpet does, without collecting dust. A damp mop is all it takes to keep your floorcloth clean. You can buy a patterned canvas or customize a plain canvas with latex or acrylic paint to match your décor. Measure the width and length of each room to calculate its area. Add a little extra fabric to account for hemming and shrinkage.

You’ll want to use preshrunk canvas or shrink it yourself to make sure your floor cloth doesn’t shrink with mopping or spills. If your canvas needs shrinking, soak a large sponge in hot water and rub it onto the cloth’s surface to wet it down. After soaking one side, turn the cloth over and apply the wet sponge to the underside. Lay the canvas flat and leave it for a day or two to dry. It should shrink several inches on every side.

If you bought plain canvas, you could paint it after you shrink it. Once you’re happy with how your floorcloth looks, cut it to size. Make sure to leave 2 inches on each side for a hem to prevent fraying. Stitch your hems, then lay your floor cloth down over the carpet.

Choose peel-and-stick flooring solutions

Peel-and-stick flooring options simply peel away from a backing sheet and stick down over the top of the carpet. While they’ll stay put during your lease, you can easily remove them and feel confident they won’t leave residues when you move out. You should still get your landlord’s approval, though, just in case any damage does occur, as these are semi-permanent options.

Peel-and-stick carpet tiles have a soft, warm finish, while peel-and-stick vinyl tiles are smooth, so you can easily wipe both tiles clean. They also don’t attract allergens like carpet tiles can. Peel-and-stick vinyl sheets are like the peel-and-stick vinyl tiles, but you can cut them to size and place them down to cover an entire room’s carpet.

Start sticking in one corner of your room and work your way out according to the instructions on the pack. You can trim the tiles if whole ones don’t fit once you get to the other edges.

Lay down interlocking floorboards or tiles

Interlocking floorboards or floor tiles lock into place like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Options include rubber, foam, and carpet tiles and laminate and vinyl floorboards. Prints on floorboards and floor tiles often make them look like more permanent flooring solutions, such as stone tiles and hardwood floorboards. As interlocking floorboards and floor tiles are also semi-permanent, ask your landlord before you lay them down to make sure they approve. For instance, some landlords worry about hardwood floorboards trapping moisture and causing mold if you spill drinks. If your landlord objects, you should find a less permanent solution.

Each type of floorboard and floor tile has its own benefits and drawbacks. Some options simply lock into place, while others need gluing. The latter is not the best for rentals. Laminate planks have a wooden core, so they’re susceptible to moisture and humidity. If you’re in a steamy climate or a bit accident-prone, vinyl planks that resist moisture damage may suit you better. Also, carpet tiles feel warm underfoot, while foam and rubber tiles are a little cooler. Your tastes and budgets may also influence your decision.

Some installation kits suggest removing the baseboards before laying down interlocking flooring, but you shouldn’t do this to cover carpet in rental properties. Simply start laying the pieces down in one corner of your room and work your way out from this point, following the instructions on the pack to lock the pieces together. Cut boards or tiles to fit as required near the edges if whole ones won’t fit, or use our next solution to cover what’s left.

Get creative with furniture and fixtures

If your temporary floor covering doesn’t cover all the original carpet, you could cover it with furniture and fixtures. Couches, bookcases, and large planter pots can all cover up a substantial amount of carpet. Make sure you lay down a waterproof carpet runner before decorating with plants to protect the carpet.

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