Getting the Right Carpet

Picking the Right Carpet

Like a lot of people, I used to focus first on what color carpet I wanted. Then I learned that is like deciding what color car you want before deciding what kind of car you want. When choosing carpet, make decisions in this order: style, fiber, then color.

 

Step 1 – Know carpet types

  • Plush: Seen mostly in formal homes and less often today, plush carpet is cut all one length. Think mowed. Downside: It shows every vacuum track and footstep.
  • Loop: Also called Berber, loop carpets have uncut fibers, and often go in contemporary homes. Avoid these if you have pets. Their claws can hook on a loop and pull a permanent run.
  • Frieze (pronounced frizz-ay): Meet the new shag. These high twist yarns are long, soft and casual. The new fibers stand up better, so no need to haul out that old carpet rake. Not for those who lack creative courage, as they definitely make a statement.
  • Textured: Because the yarn fibers are cut at different lengths, these carpets don’t show tracks, making them a household blessing. Cut halfway between a plush and a frieze, the look is shaggy, but shorter and neater than a frieze. Textured carpets work in both dressy and casual rooms. 
  • Pattern: A blend of cut and uncut (or loop) fibers, patterned carpets offer subtle texture. Botanical motifs, square and lattice patterns are popular. These carpets are hot now, and represent the fastest growing segment in the industry.

Step 2 — Pick fiber type

Polyester

Price: Inexpensive.

Durability: Not great.  A good choice for apartments or rentals.

Market share: 28%

Footnote: Can give best color intensity.

Nylon

Price: Moderate

Durability: Good. Tried and true.

Market share: 70%

Footnote: Over the last several years, much softer versions (like Tactesse from Stainmaster) have come on the market.

Wool

Price: Expensive

Durability: Excellent. Will wear forever.

Market share: 2%

Footnote: A status symbol.

Step 3 — Dial in color

  • Biggest mistake: Going too light. A light carpet looks beautiful day one, but soil and traffic patterns show up fast. Plus, it’s just stressful.
  • Know that carpet looks lighter rolled on the floor than on the swatch.
  • Neutrals colors, like realtor beige, golds and muted greens, are most popular.

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