How to paint baseboards with carpet

How To Paint Baseboards With Carpet For A No-Mess Finish

Updated on

Brenda Nyawara

Brenda Nyawara is an editor at Archute. She is a graduate architect with a passion for edge-cutting ideas in design, fashion, art and modern world interests.
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Painting baseboards can be tricky, especially if you have carpet on your floors. Painting is a messy job, and protecting your carpet should be a priority.

Paint splatters are not fun and are harder to get out of the carpet. However, with a little effort and vigilance, you can easily learn how to paint baseboards with carpet.

Should My Baseboards Always Be White?

White baseboards have been super common in the past. However, they don't have to be white. Switching up the colors is recommended.

Different colored baseboards offer a nice and different touch. They can make all the change in the colors of your walls.

Additionally, it is recommended to paint baseboards before installing them. However, you can also paint baseboards that have already been installed.

While it might be easy to ignore baseboards because they are below eye level, painting them could spruce up your place. 

How To Paint Baseboards With Carpet

There is a process when it comes to painting baseboards. Before you paint a baseboard trim, good prep work should be your first step before you think of a first coat.

At this point, you should also have picked out a color you like for your baseboards. Furthermore, ensure you have vacuumed the carpet and the entire room.

You will need a few painting materials before you start painting above the carpets:

  • Painter's tape
  • Trim paint
  • Drop cloth/cardboard
  • Paintbrush
  • Sandpaper/sanding machine

Step 1

Before you begin, take your drop cloth and place it on the parts of the carpet you want to protect.

Keep in mind you have to cover every inch. Therefore, it is not recommended to leave out some places or drape the cloth lightly over those places.

You also have to consider where the carpet is located. For example, if the whole room is carpeted wall-to-wall, you will have to peel the section back under the baseboard trim.

If the carpet is a distance away from your baseboard trims, you can easily paint your trim without making a big mess.

If you don't have a drop cloth, you can use a plastic sheet or cardboard boxes. They will still do a good job of protecting your carpets.

Next, you want to apply painter's tape on either side of the baseboard you want to paint. If you don't have painter's tape, you can also use packing tape.

Use your putty knife to firmly press and smooth into the edges of the tape. This will prevent any paint seepage, and give you straight lines before the paint dries.

Step 2

Using a dry cloth, wipe the baseboard down. You should ensure to wipe the bottom of the baseboard and any other nooks and crannies.

However, if your baseboard is visibly dusty, use a damp cloth to wipe off the dirt, then wait for it to completely dry.

After the surface dries completely, start prepping your brushes. Removing any dried buildup will give you a smoother finish.

Step 3

Using your sanding machine or sandpaper, lightly sand down the baseboard. This will remove any unevenness and left-over paint.

Wipe down the baseboard to remove the dust, and let it dry. Next, apply one coat of primer and let it dry. After it dries, it's time to start painting the baseboard.

Pour some paint onto a paint tray, and dip the brush into the paint. Next, dip the brush into the paint but only the bottom half of the bristles.

This will prevent dripping and excess paint and prevent a messy job. Additionally, the cleanup will be simpler for you.

Step 4

With a steady hand, use back and forth strokes to ensure you evenly paint the whole baseboard trim.

Whether you are using oil-based paint or water-based paint, start by applying two coats. But, of course, allow each coat to dry first.

Additionally, two coats of paint is a generalized method of painting most furniture. However, you can add as many coats as you prefer.

Step 5

After the paint fully dries, peel off the painter's tape or masking tape. Be careful not to rip it as it could damage the surface of the walls.

A good rule would also be to stick to painting in one direction. This will give you an even application that will look good when it dries.

After you are sure the paint is completely dry, you can remove the drop cloth or plastic sheet. If paint goes on your clothes, there are ways to get it out.

Your newly painted baseboards will look awesome once dry. You can re-paint them to suit your needs in another year or two.

Safety Tips Before Painting

If painting your baseboard trim is one of your DIY projects, you should be familiar with a few safety tips.

However, here are some proper precautions to keep you and those around you safe:

a) Ventilation

Before you start the painting process, ensure to do it in a well-ventilated room. Paint fumes can cause lightheadedness in an enclosed area.

Leaving the windows and doors open gets the air circulating and reduces the smell and effect of fumes.

b) Dust Mask

Using a dust mask might come in handy, especially when using oil paints. Additionally, it will also prevent you from inhaling any dust when sanding.

A good dust mask is versatile and will capture at least 95% of airborne particles. For home renovations, this is your best bet.

c) Trip Hazards

You might not notice trip hazards since you might deal with them every day. However, wires from your electric devices and other appliances could easily trip you.

Even if it might seem minor on normal days, a big accident can be caused by a small wire poking out of its place. Either way, removing any trip hazards enhances your safety.

d) Child-proof/ Animal-proof gear

If children, pets, or the elderly are in the house, ensure to shut the door to the room you just renovated.

Children and pets tend to be curious; however, paint that has not yet dried can lead to ingestion. Of course, once ingested, it can be detrimental.

If shutting the door is not possible, ensure to place a baby gate on the door area to prevent children and pets from accessing the room. 


1) Is It Necessary To Paint My Baseboards?

Yes, it is. Baseboard trims usually get stripped off paint. Since they are at foot level, some people don't find it necessary to paint them.

However, painting your baseboards could give them a refreshed look and make all the difference in your house.

2) Will Painting Baseboards Increase The Home Value?

If your house didn't have any baseboard trim, then installing or re-painting your baseboards will give your home added value.

Since baseboard trim can have a desired modern effect, they appeal to most buyers on the market for a house.

3) What Is The Best Color For Baseboards?

It depends on the color of your walls. Dark or neutral colors pair well with white. However, it all depends on you.

If you want your baseboards to be another color, paint them in the color you prefer. For example, white will look good in most instances, but not all.

With multiple trim paint colors available, it might be a good idea to look at some colors before proceeding.

The Bottom Line

Small indoor renovations are very fulfilling. Apart from being a fruitful way of making your space cozy, they are also a good pastime.

If you cannot do it yourself, there is nothing wrong with getting professional help. In fact, a professional could do it in half the time you will.

That being said, we hope you have a blast changing the color of your baseboard trim.

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About the author

Brenda Nyawara

Brenda Nyawara is an editor at Archute. She is a graduate architect with a passion for edge-cutting ideas in design, fashion, art and modern world interests.
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