6 Ways to Flatten an Area Rug

Brown and green rug with corner curled up

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 2 hrs - 2 days
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0 to $10

You finally found the perfect area rug for your living room, den, or kids' play area, and can't wait to unroll it when it arrives. So then imagine your dismay when you discover that the rug is badly bent, curled, wrinkled, or otherwise misshapen. Wrinkles and creases can also occur if you're pulling a rug out of storage that has been rolled or folded.

For most rugs, being rolled up for an extended period of time means that it will require a little bit of "training" in order to lie flat again. But never fear—here are nine ways to reshape your new area rug.

Before You Start

Before turning to more elaborate measures, a rug may just need some time to flatten out. If you've just unrolled a brand new area rug and it simply has some ripples from packing or shipping, usually if you smooth it down as flat as you possibly can and leave it alone for a day or two, the fibers will relax and the rug will start to flatten out on its own.

In some cases, gravity and patience are all you'll need to get your rug in perfect shape. But for best results, try placing the rug on a hard floor while it relaxes, even if you eventually plan to use it on a carpet.

Many methods for flattening an area rug require no tools or materials at all. Additional supplies, if necessary, may be already found in your home.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Clothes iron
  • Hair dryer


  • Double-sided carpet tape


How to Flatten a Rug

  1. Flip the Rug

    Most new rugs will have at least some curl on the edges when you first unroll them. And then, even when the rest of the rug relaxes, the corners still won't lie flat. In that case, your next step depends on which way the corners are curling. If they're curling upward, fold them slightly under and leave them alone for a day or two. But if they're curling under, you'll want to either flip the rug over and curl the corners under, or simply weigh down each corner with a heavy object (books, a piece of furniture, etc.) to help force the carpet fibers to relax and flatten out.

    Green and brown rug flipped over to help flatten

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  2. Tape Down the Rug

    If you're looking for a fast way to flatten your rug, head to your local furniture or home improvement store and grab some double-sided carpet tape. When applied to the back of your rug, the tape will adhere to the floor and hold your rug in place. It effectively flattens existing creases and prevents any new ones. Carpet tape generally works on both hard floors and existing wall-to-wall carpets. Just be sure to press firmly and smooth the rug down before adhering.

  3. Back-Roll the Rug

    In some cases, you won't need to wait more than a couple of minutes to get your rug ready for placement in your home. Sometimes if you unroll the carpet and then roll it again in the opposite direction, that's all you'll need for it to lie flat. If this trick doesn't work right away, you can also let the rolled carpet sit for a day or two before unrolling it again the other way.

    Green and brown rug back-rolled to help flatten

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  4. Use a Clothes Iron

    If you've tried leaving it alone, flipping it over, or weighing it down and your rug still isn't laying flat after a few days have passed, you can always turn to your trusty iron to do the trick.

    The curled area of a rug can be ironed on a low setting, but just be sure to use a barrier between the heat of the iron and the rug. Craft paper works well for this purpose. When opting for the iron, you'll want to keep it minimal to prevent scorching, melting, or any other heat damage.

    Green and brown rug flattened with iron and craft paper in between

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  5. Lay the Rug in the Sun

    If the heat from an iron didn't work, or you just want to avoid the potential damage to your rug, you can try spreading the rug out over clean concrete or asphalt outdoors. This should preferably be done on a dry and sunny afternoon.

    If the temperature happens to be at least 75 of 80 degrees, that's even better, because now the ground has had time to absorb the sun's heat. If you leave the rug out under direct sunlight for a little while, that's often all it takes to release any creases or wrinkles.

    Green and brown rug placed in sunlight to help flatten
  6. Use a Hair Dryer

    If the iron or sun wasn't successful, you can also opt for a hairdryer used on the backside of the rug. Gently heat the creased area and then release it. In order to prevent the possibility of melting the rug's fibers, be sure to hold the hairdryer at least 6 to 9 inches away and use a sweeping motion on a low to medium setting. Never hold the dryer steady in one position—always keep it moving.

    Blow dryer gently heating a green and brown rug to help flatten

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

When to Call a Professional

With very expensive or valuable rugs, such as Persian rugs, it may be best to consult a professional at the very start. With old and fragile rugs, professionals are best equipped to move rugs and flatten them.

Most everyday rugs will respond to the easy DIY methods for flattening, but if they don't, there are two professional methods that can be applied: steaming, and stretching.

  • Depending on the construction of your rug, a professional service may be able to steam it to remove the creases. However, it's crucial that you test the rug for colorfastness before attempting this method. The steaming process can potentially ruin your rug and make the colors bleed.
  • Another option is asking a local carpet dealer to stretch the carpet out. If it's pulled taut and slowly stretches, often the wrinkles will be released. This is also a job that's best left to professionals, however, as the stretching process can damage the rug if not done correctly.
Steam brush passing over green and brown rug to flatten

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald