Nowadays, it’s much more common to see hardwood as the flooring choice in high traffic areas of the home such as living rooms, kitchens, and dining rooms. However, according to the trade journal, “Floor Covering Weekly,” carpet still accounts for more U.S flooring sales than all other types combined. While hardwood is undoubtedly becoming more popular, carpet is not a thing of the past and remains a widely used type of flooring in many areas of the home.
With good reason too, as carpet is easy to install, inexpensive, and comes in hundreds of styles, textures, and colors to fit your needs. It is also a great sound blocker in addition to being warm and comfortable to the touch. This makes it an excellent choice for those with children. In fact, carpet is most often seen in kid’s play areas, basements, bedrooms, and even home offices.
Although carpet can offer a number of positive attributes when installed in the home, this does not mean that every type of carpet is made the same. For best results, you must choose a quality carpet that fits in with your décor and surroundings. A good quality carpet should not only have a comfortable body but also a nice color and pile. In order to get the most out of your carpet, it’s essential that you know how to properly maintain it.
The options are endless for quality carpet with varying carpet fibers that can be added to your home. These range from durable carpeting for high traffic areas, to high-end carpets for that unique finish, to eco-friendly carpets for the environmentally conscious.
We understand that when it comes to choosing the right carpet for your home the sheer number of options can seem very overwhelming. Let’s dive in and explore some of the leading selections on the market that you can choose to help elevate your space today!
Table of Contents
- How to Decide Which Rooms are Best Suited For Carpet
- Living Room
- Hallways, Stairs and Landings
- Kid’s Playroom
- Benefits of Carpet
- Carpet Construction Basics
- Carpet Styles: Loop Pile vs. Cut Pile
- Loop Pile Carpeting
- Cut Pile Carpeting
- Types of Carpet Materials
- Natural vs. Manmade Carpet Fibers
- Carpet Padding
- Why Do I Need Carpet Padding?
- Carpet Color
- How to Choose a Carpet Color
- Carpet Pricing
- Judging Carpet Quality
How to Decide Which Rooms are Best Suited For Carpet
If you’re considering installing carpet in your home, your first thought may be: “which rooms are best for carpet?” While carpet can transform a space, add comfort and style, and make a house feel like a home, it may not be suitable everywhere. Carpet is a timeless flooring choice for many reasons and very popular all over the house, however, it’s very obvious which rooms it should probably stay out of, such as the bathrooms and kitchen.
Based on research, the following can be concluded:
- Best rooms for carpet: bedrooms, living rooms, playrooms, stairs, landings, and basements.
- Worst rooms for carpet: bathrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, and entry areas.
To help you decide which rooms you should install carpet in your home, continue reading for our guide on where this flooring is most popular and best suited for.
While some people prefer hardwood flooring in a bedroom, carpet is still, arguably, the top choice. Its soft, warm, plushy characteristics underfoot make it very comfortable for this area of the home. Carpet is a great way to rise out of bed in the morning and be greeted by a warm surface, rather than a sudden chill on your bare feet.
Since bedrooms aren’t considered to be high-traffic areas of the home, they offer the luxury of installing velvety, plush piles and large loop-pile carpeting. To add an extra level of sophistication, you could even install pure wool carpet in your bedroom.
In addition to creating a soft, lush sanctuary in your bedroom, carpet can also insulate against any unwanted noise. If your bedrooms are situated in the upper levels of your home, they can benefit from a thicker style of carpet. In general, the thicker the carpet, the less noise that will be able to penetrate into the tranquility of your bedroom from the downstairs.
The living room in your home is often a highly trafficked area where family and friends gather to watch movies or visit with each other on holidays. Carpeting this area of your home can make a very comfortable lounging space and warm atmosphere for both entertaining guests and relaxing in your own home. However, since living rooms do experience a lot of foot traffic, the carpet should be durable to withstand your busy family dynamic.
Additionally, since this room tends to be one of the main gathering areas of the home, it’s not uncommon for spills to happen. For this reason, you should choose a carpeting that is made of an easy to clean fiber and requires little maintenance.
As far as the color of the carpet in your living room goes, it will largely depend on your individual preference and décor style. Nonetheless, you should consider the amount of natural light that the room receives as well as the color of your pet’s hair when deciding on carpet color. If you have pets, choosing a carpet that conceals pet hair can be a significant advantage in the home.
Hallways, Stairs and Landings
The stairs, halls, and landings of your home experience the most traffic and it’s important that you make the right choice on carpeting in these areas. Selecting a carpet that is not suitable for the space will quickly reveal signs of wear and tear. Similar to the living room, you should choose a carpet that is durable and stain-resistant.
When it comes to stairs, carpet is a great idea for flooring because it delivers additional grip to the surface. Also, since carpet absorbs sound, unlike other types of flooring, it will help to stifle the pitter-patter of feet traveling up and down the stairs.
If you regularly entertain or have children of your own, you likely have a dedicated area for play in your home. Carpet is undeniably the best choice of flooring for kid’s playrooms. Since kids spend a lot of time in these areas sitting, lying down, and most likely running around, you want a soft surface should falls occur. When compared with hardwood or tile, carpet provides a cushion for not only falls, but also afternoon naps.
For playrooms, you want to choose a carpet that is easy to clean like polypropylene or nylon. For best results, select a carpet with a twist style, as the minor texture works great for disguising footprints or some dirt while still feeling soft for little kiddy feet!
Benefits of Carpet
Regardless of the style, type, color, and design of your carpet and location where you install it in your home, you can guarantee the following associated benefits:
- The cushioned nature of carpeting absorbs sound, making it much less noisy when you walk on it than other hard surface flooring types.
- When it comes to affordability, carpet is one of the most cost-effective flooring products to install in your home.
- The sheer amount of carpet patterns, colors, and styles to choose from will make it very easy to find something that fits your needs and décor.
- Carpet’s insulating properties make it very comfortable and provide additional warmth underfoot during cold months.
- The surface of the carpet is safe underfoot and non-slip. It will not only protect you and your children from falls, but it will also shield delicate items from breakage or damage.
- The majority of synthetic carpeting is treated with stain, soil, and static-resistant products, making them very simple to clean and maintain.
By installing carpeting, you can effectively reduce noise, provide thermal insulation and soften slips and falls, while still adding style and beauty to any space in your home.
Carpet Construction Basics
Before we dive too deeply into the various distinguishing components that make up carpet, it’s important to have a basic understanding of some of the terms.
- Carpet Twist: When speaking about carpet, the term “twist” refers to how securely the fiber (carpet yarn) has been twisted. In general, the tighter that the fiber is twisted, the better chance the carpet has to withstand against matting and crushing. This fact is especially important when it comes to cut pile carpet, as the tips are openly exposed and can very easily become unwound. Frieze carpeting tends to have the highest twist level with about 7 to 9 twists per inch (TPI). Whereas, the majority of cut pile designs consist of between 3 and 6 twists per inch.
- Density: Carpet density means both how tightly the fibers are packed and the amount of fibers within the carpet. Fibers that are situated closer together will make for a denser carpet that performs better and is more resistant to wear. You can check a carpet’s density by pressing your fingers onto the carpet fibers and attempting to touch the backing. In general, the denser the carpet, the more difficult it will be for you to reach the carpet backing.
As you are evaluating the various carpet styles available for your home, you will also encounter construction terms relating to types of carpet pile, such as loop pile and cut pile.
Carpet Styles: Loop Pile vs. Cut Pile
The two main types of carpeting can be broken down into cut pile carpet and loop pile carpet. These styles are defined by the way that the carpet fibers are attached to the backing. The pile type of your carpet has a substantial impact on its comfort, durability ease of maintenance, and appearance.
Loop Pile Carpeting
Loop Pile refers to the fact that the fibers are bend into loops. Unlike cut pile carpeting, loop pile is not trimmed and is left in its original loop form. Loop piles come in varying thicknesses and weights and work great in both commercial and residential environments. The looped structure often creates carpeting that is firm and tightly woven.
The largest advantage of loop pile carpeting is its durability and ability to withstand high foot traffic. Loop pile carpeting is the ideal choice for stairs, hallways, game rooms, living rooms and any other high-traffic area of the home. It’s also trackless, meaning it will not show footprints are vacuum tracks.
When it comes to disadvantages, loop pile fibers are susceptible to being pulled loose or snagged by pet claws or sharp objects. While this fact will not impact the overall lifespan of the carpet, it will make it appear worn down over time. Loop pile carpeting can be broken down even further into the following options.
Of all the types of loop pile carpeting to choose from, Berber is the most common. This type of carpet has fibers that are bent into a series of loops. With Berber, its short loops work great for high-traffic areas and create a durability that is resistant to stains.
Berber has a very dense structure that can offer a smooth tone to your space and will not experience wear easily. On the other hand, its firm structure does not offer as much cushioning as other carpet varieties. To keep your Berber carpet looking great for many years, avoid putting anything sharp near the carpet that could cause premature wear and tear.
2. Level Loop
Level loop is another popular type of loop pile carpeting that features short loops of all the same length. While this type is much stiffer, it is the ideal choice for areas of the home that experience a large amount of traffic. The loops in a level loop carpet are designed to be symmetrical, displaying an organized carpet setup that is not too rough or complex.
3. Multi-Level Loop
While level loop has loops that are all the same length, multi-level loop carpeting is just as the name indicates – carpeting with loops of varying heights. This type of carpet can offer a more appealing design and display a patterned texture. As opposed to traditional patterned carpet, multi-level loop carpet creates a pattern simply by the orientation of the differing fiber heights.
With multi-level loop carpet, the texture can actually vary over time, as the details become less noticeable with foot traffic. While this may not be a concern for you, if you want to keep your space looking consistent, this fact can be considered a drawback to multi-level loop carpeting.
Cut Pile Carpeting
The other option when it comes to types of carpet pile is what is known as “cut pile.” With cut pile carpeting, the loops are trimmed, exposing the tips of the carpet fiber. Looped fiber is essentially cut in half, with only one end of the fiber attached to the backing material. As a result, cut pile carpets generally consist of looser, longer fibers with much more movement.
They typically have a higher profile and are much softer and denser than loop pile carpet. Just like loop pile, cut pile carpet comes in varying lengths and thicknesses. It’s considered to be the most popular style of carpet on the market today and tends to be softer both underfoot and to the touch than their loop pile counterparts.
When it comes to application, cut pile carpeting can work well installed throughout an entire home. However, one thing you should look out for when selecting a cut pile carpet is the twist. Cut pile carpet consists of a twist that helps it resist crushing and matting and stand up properly. Overall, the tighter the twist, the more durable and resistant to dirt and wear patterns it will be. Cut pile carpeting can be further divided into the following options:
Plush carpet is a type of cut-pile carpet that involves each of the fibers being cut to exactly the same length. The fibers are situated very close together, resulting in an even, smooth texture that is almost velvety. The design and structure of plush carpet displays a very soft, formal look.
Although the pile is generally short, its densely packed nature offers the feel of a much softer, thicker carpet. Plush carpet is considered to be very similar to Saxony carpet, with just a few differences.
Similar to plush carpet, Saxony carpet involves the fibers being cut to a length that is consistent throughout the design. The fibers are also arranged very closely together. However, what sets Saxony apart from plush carpet is the fact that the fibers are longer and twisted, resulting in more body.
While this type of carpet is very popular, the longer fibers means that furniture will create dents and footprints linger much longer than other carpet styles. Just like plush carpet, Saxony is very lush and soft to the touch and gives off a very smooth appearance.
The textured option is another style of cut pile carpeting. In this case, the fibers are cut to uneven lengths, resulting in a coarser surface texture. Before the yarn is cut, it is twisted. While the carpet is still soft, the fibers are twisted just enough to create a very casual look.
Fibers are twisted in a manner so that they can resist stains and be easily cleaned. Over time and with high foot traffic, the fibers of a textured carpet will bend faster than Saxony or plush. However, textured cut-pile carpeting can offer a nice tone and laid-back appearance to virtually any room.
4. Shag (or Cable)
Shag, sometimes referred to as cable carpeting is high pile consisting of thick, long pieces of yarn to produce a deep, shaggy height. While it can add a substantial amount of softness and depth to a room, it can be a difficult type of carpet to maintain and clean. Some shag/cable carpeting may actually have a mix of cut and looped fibers.
Therefore, this type of carpet is only recommended in low-traffic areas of the home. If you like the look of shag carpeting but don’t want to deal with all the maintenance, consider purchasing a shag area rug rather than wall-to-wall shag carpeting. However, these rugs will not stand up to traditional vacuuming very well, instead give it a good shake outside every so often.
Frieze (pronounced “frizz-AY”) carpet involves very long fibers and is the sister to shag carpet, with fibers that are extra-twisted. The fibers curl and bend in multiple directions and are twisted seven to nine times under steam during construction.
The twisting involved in frieze carpeting is so tight that the fibers eventually curl back upon themselves, creating a dense texture. Frieze is basically the modern version of traditional shag carpet. While the old shag carpet of the past experienced quite a bit of matting with its long shag fibers, today’s frieze carpets are much more durable but still maintain a stylish look.
Frieze can be installed in pretty much any area of your home where you want a durable but casual appearance. This attractive option can add luxury to any space, effectively hides seams and dirt, and is very comfortable underfoot. As opposed to old-fashioned shag carpet, frieze is designed with skinnier fiber pieces, resulting in a much leaner, thinner look. While frieze has fibers that are much longer than Saxony, their density is not quite as high.
Types of Carpet Materials
The next important thing to consider on your carpet buying search is the material or type of carpet fiber used in its construction. For example, when it comes to Berber carpet, it actually can be divided up even further based on the different carpet materials that are used in the pile.
Natural vs. Manmade Carpet Fibers
When it comes to the role carpet plays in your home, a quality carpet should perform when placed in a number of situations:
- It should resist foot traffic, some being abusive (shoes, pets, accidents, etc.)
- It should elevate the design and style of the space.
- It should be soft and comfortable underfoot, especially while barefoot.
- It should require very little maintenance.
- It should meet your budget desires.
This may seem like a lot of needs to meet, which is why the majority of carpeting on the market is made from manmade or synthetic fibers. These include nylon, polypropylene or olefin, polyester, and Triexta. Natural fibers consist of the remaining 3% of carpets available for your home, with wool being the most popular due to its crush-resistance. Other natural materials include cotton, seagrass, sisal, silk, and jute.
Overall, manmade fibers perform much better than natural materials, and do so at an affordable cost. Regardless, each carpet material has its own unique characteristics that may make it the ideal choice for your situation than another.
1. Nylon Carpet Fibers
The first, and most popular choice, for carpet material is nylon. Nylon is a very durable material that is resistant to abrasion, crush, and other wear. It also does not attract mold, insects, rot, mildew, and many chemicals.
Nylon is also static-free and while it is not as good at fighting stains when compared to other options, it can be treated with stain protection. Throughout its lifetime, nylon will maintain its fiber height and, when a stain-resistant treatment is applied, can withstand stains.
2. Polypropylene or Olefin Carpet Fibers
Olefin is essentially a polypropylene compound that was originally intended to be used outdoors for its resistance to moisture. While this means that olefin offers great stain and moisture resistance, it scores below nylon for wearability. Unlike Nylon, olefin can very easily lose texture and become crushed. However, when it is implemented in high, loop, or very dense pile construction, crushing becomes less of a concern.
Since polypropylene doesn’t absorb water, it must be solution-dyed. This refers to a process where the color is built into the fiber when the carpeting is formed, making the color a permanent factor that cannot be removed from the fiber. Because of this, the color of olefin carpet will never fade, even when it comes into contact with sunlight, atmospheric pollutants, bleaches, or other elements or harsh chemicals.
Olefin tends to be found in very colorful designs and styles and is very easy to clean. This type of carpet is great for areas of the home where moisture or mold growth may be a concern, such as outdoors or in basements. Olefin (polypropylene) consists of around 80% of commercial carpet installations, making it the second-best seller following nylon.
3. Polyester (PET) Carpet Fibers
Polyester carpet material is most known for its sophisticated look, feel, and large assortment of bright, bold colors and designs. Many of the super-soft carpeting that you’ve experienced likely features polyester fiber. When implemented this way, polyester is great for lower traffic areas of the home such as offices, bedrooms, and entertainment spaces.
Some types of polyester carpeting, called PET (polyethylene terephthalate), are comprised of recycled content such as water bottles and other second-use plastics. This can make polyester an eco-friendly option, while also helping to strengthen the fiber and increase the carpet’s lifespan.
Naturally, polyester is easily recyclable and stain and moisture resistant. However, polyester is not resistant to crushing and will lose texture and wear down quickly in areas of high-traffic. Although it is less expensive initially, it will most likely have to be replaced more regularly.
4. PTT (Triexta Polyester) Carpet Fibers
PTT, or Polytrimethylene Terephthalate, is a form of synthetic polyester fiber that has more resilience than PET. You may have seen this type of carpeting referred to by its brand names: Smartstrand by Mowhawk and Corterra by Shaw.
Triexta has become a popular choice for use in homes with kids and pets, as the fibers are strong and resistant to stains. While it has great inherent stain resistance, it is still vulnerable to oily and dry soil substances. Although PTT is known for its durability, it is still very soft to the touch and underfoot.
PTT can be a powerful option when it comes to carpet fiber choices, but you will pay a premium to enjoy the benefits of its premium strength capabilities.
5. Wool Carpet
If you prefer a carpet made of natural fibers, wool is always the best option. While it is certainly more expensive than most synthetic carpet materials, it comes with a number of natural benefits. These include:
- Natural resistance to soil (although not fundamentally stain resistant)
- Renewable, green, and eco-friendly (in addition to being biodegradable)
- Plush, soft, and comfortable to the touch and underfoot
- Naturally fire-resistant
- The ideal choice for the allergy-prone, as it is non-allergenic
- Tough and stable enough to perform well in both low-traffic and high-traffic areas without experience wear
Wool does, however, absorb moisture and can potentially be prone to mold and mildew in damp spaces. However, the fiber itself can actually repel stains and water because of a distinctive membrane that covers its core. This makes cleaning stains very easy and prevents dirt from sinking below the surface.
Maintaining wool carpet is as easy as regular vacuuming to keep it looking clean and new.
In addition to the carpet’s style and fiber material, it’s important that you choose a quality padding for your home. The carpet padding is a soft, flexible material that is designed to be placed between the base of the carpet where the fibers are attached and the subfloor underneath. It’s essentially a foam underlayment that is specifically intended to be used beneath your carpeting.
It not only covers up the floor, it also helps to create a soft surface and insulate the space from cold temperatures. Most carpet padding is made up of polyurethane foam, offering plenty of support to the carpet and helping it last much longer in your home.
Why Do I Need Carpet Padding?
Carpet padding is absolutely necessary in order to enjoy the full benefits of having carpeting in your home. Its primary purpose is to keep your carpet comfortable and extend its life.
However, carpet padding does far more than support your carpet, it also offers the following benefits:
- Improves acoustics. Having an underlayment for your carpet is important to improve the acoustics in your home. After all, sound-absorbing materials are vital to any condo, apartment, or two-level home. There’s nothing more annoying than hearing the sound of someone stomping around above you.
- Provides comfort. One of the major selling points for carpet is its soft and comfortable texture. However, no matter how tall or thick the pile on your carpet is, a carpet pad is essential to make the carpeting as comfortable as possible.
- Extends the carpet’s lifespan. The plush, luxurious carpet that you purchased will simply not last as long without a padding placed underneath it. Carpet installed without a pad will not last as long since there isn’t anything in place to absorb the impact of ordinary wear and tear. Overall, a carpet padding will reduce fiber crushing and maintain carpet thickness, for longer.
- Thermal insulation. Having a padding installed beneath your carpet will provide insulation to your home. If you live in a cold climate, the padding will help to retain some of the heat in your home. Whereas, in a hot climate, the carpet padding will reduce the likelihood of cool air escaping. As a result, increased insulation in your home can effectively lower your heating and cooling bills.
In addition to saving money on utility bills, if you want to be even more eco-friendly, consider purchasing a carpet pad that is made of recyclable materials.
A baseboard is a trim material that is placed on the wall directly above your carpeting. It is installed using a series of nails and wood pieces that close the gap between the edges of the wall and the carpet. Overall, baseboards finish off the space by creating a seamless look, ensuring that the carpet looks smooth and carefully arranged.
Baseboards can be fitted both before and after the carpet is installed. If installing before the carpeting, it is best to follow the recommendations from the carpet manufacturer. Most of them say to install them one inch above the floor to allow enough room for both the carpet and the padding.
On the other hand, installing the baseboards after the carpet may be an easier method. In this case, the baseboard can be mounted at approximately the same height as the carpet. However, if you are intending on placing base shoe or quarter round, you’ll want to leave a little bit of room instead of installing the baseboard snugly atop the carpet.
Aside from the style of the carpet, fiber type, quality, and pattern, color is oftentimes the most challenging decision for homeowners. It can be especially tough to visualize the color over a large space, from just a tiny swatch. The amount of color options available for carpeting is vast and numerous. You can choose anything from a very neutral shade of beige or white to a bright, bold color that becomes a statement piece in your room.
Based on an expert analysis of 1,883 bedrooms outfitted with the carpet, the top three carpet colors are:
- Used in 55% of bedrooms, beige is the most commonly used carpet color.
- Found in 24% of bedrooms, gray is the second most common carpet color.
- Coming in third is brown, which existed in 6.27% of bedrooms in this study.
While it isn’t surprising that beige is the most popular color for carpeting, there is such a wide variety of color options to choose. You are certainly not limited to just beige, gray, and brown when it comes to installing carpet in your home.
How to Choose a Carpet Color
If you’re having some difficulty determining what color of carpet you should go with, consider the points below during your decision-making process.
- Choose a carpet color that complements the other items in the room. For example, in your living room, start with your sofa. Sofa styles are generally only offered in four or five color choices, unless custom-made. If you don’t choose your sofa first, it can be difficult to match the carpet to it later. Once you decide on a sofa, choose a carpet color that will match both it and the paint. You can apply this same logic to other areas of the home, such as the bedroom.
- When in doubt, go neutral. There is a reason why neutral colors are the principal sellers when it comes to carpeting. The color of your carpet will have a major impact on the overall appearance of a room. Placing bright colors in a large room can be very overwhelming. Additionally, replacing carpet can get rather expensive and unless you have the patience and resources to swap it out every few years as trends shift, it’s best to opt for a neutral color.
- Add character with a flecked color. A great way to add personality to your space is to implement a carpeting that features flecked color rather than a solid shade. Like the looped style carpet, flecks of color in carpeting is referred to as Berber. In this design, you’ll generally find neutral-colored carpets with darker neutral Berber flecks. Aside from being visually interesting, Berber flecks are a great way to hide lint and dirt that collect on your carpet between vacuuming sessions.
- Consider your lifestyle. When it comes to choosing a carpet color for your home, it’s important that you factor in your lifestyle. If you have a full household complete with children, pets, and busy working parents, your home will likely not benefit from white carpets. White carpet reveals much more soiling when compared to other colors.
- Very dark and very light colors will show stains more easily. Keeping in mind the previous note, colors that fall on the edge of either end of the spectrum tend to show undesirable debris more than mid-tones. While dark colors are great for hiding stains, they will show dust and lint more clearly than other colors. If you want to mask stains, a carpet that is neither too dark nor too light is the ideal choice for your situation.
The price you can expect to pay for installing carpet in your home will largely depend on the type, style, and how much you need. For good quality synthetic carpets made of nylon or polyester fibers, you will typically pay between $2 and $4 per square foot. These are considered to be mid-ranged carpets and they come in a large variety of styles, textures, and colors.
If you want your carpet professionally installed, this will add an additional $1 to $2 per square foot, rounding out the total average cost of installing carpet to between $3 and $6 a square foot. On the other side of the price spectrum, for wool carpet, you can expect to pay $5 to $12 per square foot. Some luxury versions could even end up costing you as much as $25 a square foot.
Keep in mind that you may have to spend a little more on labor, should you need furniture moved or old carpeted surfaces torn out. Moving furniture out of the way of the install will typically cost between 10 and 20 cents more per square foot and removing old carpet tacks on up to 20 cents a square foot.
Judging Carpet Quality
Choosing a quality carpet for your home is important and, unfortunately, there is no universal grading system for carpet quality. Because of this, you should beware of certain manufacturers who claim to offer some sort of quality score for their carpet. Instead, to determine a carpet’s quality, consider its density and weight.
As previously mentioned, density refers to the number of fibers in the pile and how closely they are packed together. In general, the denser the fibers, the better quality the carpet is. Use the “field test” outlined above to examine the carpet’s density. If you can feel the backing with your fingertips, the carpet is not very dense.
In regards to weight, this is a tell-tale sign of how many fibers are present in the carpet. Similar to density, the more fibers in the carpet, the heavier the weight will be and the higher quality of the carpet.