How to Choose a Carpet: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Dining room chairs on carpet (Photo: @iheartcreative via Twenty20)
On the surface, it might not seem like picking out a carpet requires a lot of thought. But in reality, it’s something that you should put some energy into. Often we take good carpets for granted, because you don’t really notice a good carpet that much. They usually only stand out when they’re bad. But as soon as you see a bad carpet, you’ll quickly realize just how vital it is to find a good one.
Carpets will never be the star attraction of any room, but they can make or break it. The right carpet ties the room together and makes the more glamorous elements of the room shine. The wrong carpet stands out like a sore thumb and will make you grimace when you look at it.
So how do you find the right carpet? There are a million and one options when it comes to selecting a carpet, so the key is to figure out a few parameters that are important. Here’s how to go about choosing one.

Take into consideration if the room has access to the outdoors

The location of the room you’re putting carpet in is very important. If the room opens up directly to the outdoors, then it’s likely that a lot of dirt will be tracked into the room and subsequently onto the carpet. When in doubt, nylon is a great option for a durable and easy-to-clean carpet that’s getting some of the outdoors tracked in.
If the room doesn’t have direct access to the outdoors it will likely not be as subject to dirt, and you can opt for something more luxurious, like wool.

Consider how much use the room gets

Different carpets have different levels of resilience. That doesn’t just refer to resilience from dirt and stains, but resilience from the wear and tear of frequent use. A carpet material like polyester, for example, doesn’t do all that well with repeated use. It’s a tremendous material that works best in something like a bedroom, where it gets minimal wear throughout the day. If you’re carpeting a living room in a boisterous household, or a hallway, then you want something more durable.

Think about the size and light of the room

One common mistake that people make when purchasing a carpet is that they pick out a carpet that they really like without considering how that carpet will work in the room. The result is sometimes like putting ice cream on pizza: just because two things are good doesn’t mean they work together.
Anytime you’re picking out a carpet, you need to consider the size of the room and the natural light that it receives. If a room has lots of natural light, you can get away with using complex or darker colors, because the light will bring out their true color. But if you have a room with minimal natural light, you need to opt for lighter and brighter carpet colors, because the darkness is going to mute anything else.
Similarly, small rooms make carpet colors look darker than they are, while large rooms naturally make carpets seem lighter. So, you can get away with a darker carpet if the room is large, but stick to light colors in small rooms.
You also don’t want to use carpets with too many textures or colors if the room is small or poorly lit, as that will make things feel busy and claustrophobic. You can play more with interesting designs and textures in a well-lit room with good space.

Consider the room’s paint

You also need to consider the color of the walls and ceilings in the room that you’re carpeting. You want to avoid copying the color of the walls, but you also don’t want something too contrasting. The goal is to find a complementary color that doesn’t draw too much attention to either.

Ask a professional

Before purchasing carpet materials, you need to do your homework and consider all the factors described above. And then it’s time to head to the carpeting store and meet with a professional. As long as you’re well informed, they can help you find the perfect carpet that fits your parameters and fills your needs.
Finding the right carpet isn’t hard, but it is critical. So take some time to consider a few factors, and you’ll end up with the right carpet for your home.