Interior Refresh: Dye & Paint

The interior is by far going to be the easiest and one of the more satisfying parts of the project because it’s where I’ll be spending most of my time while driving.

What I’m going for is a clean stock look with a few tasteful upgrades and mods, but no color, keeping the interior neutral will match whatever color I choose to paint the car in the future. I started by completely stripping everything except the dash. I used Duplicolor Vinyl & Fabric Coating in flat black because it works and is easily obtainable from most local automotive stores.

I have since started using SEM automotive paints because of its quality and durability.  SEM also can mix custom colors for your interior if you can not find the color you need over the counter. I have also created a kit/list of the products that I have purchased and will be using in upcoming video tutorials for the youtube channelYou can find everything you need to restore the exterior trim at the following link: and the interior trim products here:

Because of the blog edit, I’m keeping the previous video showcasing the product I originally used on most of the interior as well as the SEM products video. both are dated but still relevant to the use of the products featured.


The paint sprays and covers well. The nozzle can be rotated to spray in a vertical or horizontal motion. Follow the instructions for best results, but be aware that results will vary if you decide to mix products (a different brand of adhesion promoter) or use a cleaner that’s not recommended.

All the plastics including the dash pad were painted. I applied dye to the carpet and headliner, before using Dupli Color because they were a different color. Restoring the interior’s original color uses less product than completely changing the color so dying the carpet and headliner allowed me to save dollars and use less Dupli Color. I can’t recall the exact number of cans I used because I didn’t do the interior all at once.

Painting The Carpet?

Does the paint make the carpet hard or crispy? No it doesn’t. The instructions state that a brush should be used on the carpet after each coat to prevent the fibers from sticking together because in the end, it is paint. I dyed the carpet first because it was grey, think of the dye as a base coat for changing the color. I did this on a hot day of course, to allow the sun to bake and dry the carpet completely. I also did NOT remove the carpet from the car or pressure wash it because I plan to purchase new carpet in the future, but if your carpet is just dirty and you want to renew it I would suggest doing the following:

  1. Remove your seats & console.
  2. Vacuum the carpet.
  3. Spot clean the harsh stains while carpet is in the car.
  4. Spray the entire carpet with an inexpensive cleaner/degreaser (Purple Power, Awesome ect.)
  5. Scrub the carpet with a hard brush to loosen dirt.
  6. Remove carpet from car.
  7. Hose down the carpet or take it to your local car wash to pressure wash it (preferably on the back of a pickup truck)
  8. Let it dry in the sun. (check the underside and ensure the padding is dry)
  9. Vacuum the carpet.
  10. Spray carpet with dye, let it dry then follow with a second or third coat if you are changing the color.
  11. Finish with a coat of Duplicolor.
  12. Put carpet back in car after it dries.
  13. Get a bottle or two of an inexpensive “spray bottle” odor neutralizer and use the entire bottle on the carpet.
  14. Close all doors and windows and let odor neutralizer set in overnight.
  15. Enjoy your renewed carpet and say goodbye to that 90’s odor.

Why Not Just Dye The Carpet?

After dying the carpet, I let it dry for an entire day before applying Duplicolor just to experiment. The next day I rubbed it with my hands and there was some color transfer so I applied Duplicolor to it with no color transfer after words. Appearance wise, the carpet looks great. I’ve used Duplicolor in the past so I knew it wouldn’t disappoint.

FYI: An issue with using black dye on non-black fabrics is that some people will say it’s not black because it has a purple tint to it which is true. It is also true that dye was intended to restore color to faded fabrics not to change their color.  Black dye for black fabrics, red dye for red fabrics and so forth.

Where To Get New Carpet?  The reviews speak for themselves. S13 owners ignore the HICAS label and just remember that the hatch and coupe have the same carpet. The only difference is the trunk/hatch area and they only sell the rear hatch area carpet. Carpet can also be bought by the yard for custom applications. I’ve provided links below.

NOTE: The carpet doesn’t come with the holes pre-cut so you will need your original carpet as a template.


DO NOT use a brush on your headliner unless you want to ruin it. I try not to ever touch my car’s headliner so I wasn’t worried about it being soft to the touch. To prep it, I used a lint roller and a microfiber cloth sprayed with carpet cleaner for spot cleaning. I then applied the dye followed by a light coat of Duplicolor and it turned out exactly as I wanted.

What Was Painted

  • All plastic interior trim
  • Shifter Knob
  • Console
  • Dash pad
  • Steering Wheel
  • Headliner
  • Carpet
  • Floor Mats
  • Hatch fabric panels

What Was Used


  • All plastics surfaces were cleaned with alcohol.
  • All plastics were sprayed with an adhesion promoter prior to painting.


  • Restores OEM finish
  • Can be used to change interior color
  • Flexible
  • Does not peel or flake if applied properly


  • Only comes in an aerosol can.

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9 replies
  1. Lev
    Lev says:

    Any way you could link the car the steering wheel you got cane from? Also a link to the rear view mirror would be cool. That’s a nice car I’m getting so much inspiration from these posts keep it up!

    • cplhardy
      cplhardy says:

      Steering wheel is from a 1997 Maxima, I’m most likely going to go back to the stock wheel so this one maybe up for grabs. The mirror is a Gentex 177 Auto-Dim Mirror With Compass.

  2. Lev
    Lev says:

    Also would like to know what sun visors you ended up using? And what did you do for the cluster ? I’ve seen a lot of dudes use super bright leds instead of keeping it subtle it would be cool to have red needles as well


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