Freshly painted baseboards can make a space appear cleaner and more put together. However, it can be tricky to paint baseboards in a carpeted room without making a mess on the carpet. Things like paint drips and splatters can ruin the carpet and require professional cleaning — a costly headache every homeowner wants to avoid. 

Fortunately, there is an effective painting technique using an unexpected household item that prevents paint from getting on the carpet.

Using the slats from an old metal window blind, you can create a barrier that shields the carpet. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to use this clever method to paint baseboards in a carpeted room. 

What You Need To Paint Baseboards (but Not the Carpet)

To paint baseboards without getting paint on the carpet, you’ll need the slats from an old metal window blind (Venetian blinds are best), masking tape, a drop cloth, a screwdriver or a paint stir stick, a latex or oil-based paint, and paint supplies (a roller, pan, brush, etc.).

Today’s Homeowner Tips

Do note that oil-based paints create a more durable finish but require mineral spirits for cleanup. I recommend using latex paint, which is easier to work with and to clean up.

How To Create a Paint Shield Using Blind Slats

Follow these steps to create a paint shield out of metal blind slats:

  1. Remove the slats from an old metal blind. 
  2. Use masking tape to cover any holes or openings in the slats. The tape prevents paint from dripping through the slats.
  3. Place a drop cloth on the floor along the baseboard area you’ll be painting to protect the carpet from dust and spills.
  4. Insert the metal slats between the carpet and baseboard on top of the drop cloth. Slide them down as far as they will go.
  5. Wedge the pull cord from the blinds into the space between the slats and baseboard. Use a flat screwdriver or paint stir stick to push it down as far as possible.

How To Paint With a Blind Slat Shield

Once you’ve created the blind slat shield, you’re ready to paint. Start by painting the baseboard, applying as many coats as you need for full coverage. Let each coat dry before adding the next, always following the paint manufacturer’s instructions.

Once the paint is fully dry, use a utility knife to carefully cut the cord away from the baseboard and slats without tearing the painted surfaces. Remove the cord, metal slats, and drop cloth when finished. The carpet will spring back into place paint-free.

Tips for Successfully Painting Baseboards Without Staining Your Carpet

Follow these tips for the best results from this clever carpet-protecting method:

  • Use a high-quality paint brand that offers good coverage. Multiple thin coats are better than a single thick coat.
  • Tape off the wall above the baseboard with painter’s tape for clean paint lines. Remove the tape immediately after painting before the paint dries.
  • Use a small foam roller rather than a paintbrush to reduce drips landing on the carpet.
  • Work in small sections, loading the roller lightly and applying thin coats. Work top to bottom and right to left.
  • Allow adequate drying time between coats. Cool temperatures or high humidity increase dry times.
  • Clean brushes and rollers promptly after use, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Note that if the blind slat method won’t work for your space, you can still protect carpets by using other materials around the baseboards.

Maintaining Freshly Painted Baseboards

To keep painted baseboards looking like new, use a mild soap and water solution for regular dusting and cleaning, avoiding abrasive cleaners. Make sure to immediately wipe up spills and splatters on painted surfaces, as letting moisture sit can cause stains, bubbles, or peeling.

Finally, plan to reseal painted baseboards annually with a fresh coat of paint or polyurethane. This step fills in minor scratches and scuffs. When properly maintained, your freshly painted baseboards will stay clean and bright for years.

So, Is Painting Baseboards in Carpeted Rooms Difficult?

Painting baseboards in carpeted rooms is manageable with some preparation and the right materials. The main hurdle is protecting carpets from paint splatters, drips, and overspray. 

Plastic sheeting alone can allow paint to seep underneath. However, the window blind slat method provides a more secure shield against the baseboards. With careful taping and a few other best practices, you can efficiently paint with minimal mess to clean up afterward.

FAQs About Painting Baseboards in Carpeted Rooms

What kind of paint should I use on baseboards?

Latex or oil-based paints both work well. Latex dries faster, but oil is more durable (but is more difficult to work with), so consider this when choosing the type of paint best suited for your home improvement goals. We recommend using satin, semi-gloss, or high gloss sheens for easier washing.

Can I just tape plastic sheeting over the carpet when I paint?

Plastic sheeting alone often allows paint to seep underneath. Instead, combine plastic sheeting with other shields, like the blind slat method.

What can I do if I accidentally get paint on the carpet?

First, try to blot paint drops with a dry towel when attempting to clean paint off your carpet. For dried paint, use a plastic putty knife to scrape off any hardened drips before vacuuming gently. If significant staining remains, it’s time to hire a professional carpet cleaner.

How long does it take for painted baseboards to dry?

Drying times range from two to 12 hours. Oil-based paints take longer than latex to dry. However, adequate ventilation, warm room temperature, and low humidity speed up the drying process.

Should I remove baseboards before painting them?

Removing them allows painting on all sides but requires refastening them correctly afterward. Fortunately, this step is usually unnecessary.

How do I get a smooth-painted finish on baseboards?

Proper prep (sanding, patching, priming) and two to three thin coats of quality paint applied with a small foam roller produce the best results.

How often should I repaint baseboards?

Repaint baseboards every three to five years to keep paint fresh and remove scuffs. We recommend repainting more frequently in homes with high-traffic areas like hallways and entryways.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Amy DeYoung

Amy DeYoung


Amy DeYoung has a passion for educating and motivating homeowners to improve their lives through home improvement projects and preventative measures. She is a content writer and editor specializing in pest control, moving, window, and lawn/gardening content for Today’s Homeowner. Amy utilizes her own experience within the pest control and real estate industry to educate readers. She studied business, communications, and writing at Arizona State University.

Learn More

photo of Lori Zaino

Lori Zaino

Lori Zaino is a freelance writer and editor based in Madrid, Spain. With nearly two decades of editorial experience, she’s written and edited for publications like Forbes, CNN, Insider, NBC, Newsweek, The Points Guy, The Infatuation, and many others. Having just completed her first home renovation, she’s more interested in home improvements than ever, dedicated to bringing you fresh and accurate content to help you update your living spaces.

Learn More