From plush wool to practical seagrass, we’ve compiled a handy guide for buying the right carpet for you, taking into account both form and function
Walking into a carpet store with row upon row of samples can be a daunting task, so it’s important to get your head around the basics before you begin. You’ll need to consider not only the look and feel of the carpet, but also the practicalities of certain materials, as well as budget and additional extras like fitting and underlay.
We’ve compiled a handy guide to walk you through the key points and help you make a good investment to suit your family and needs.
Location, location, location
The first factor to consider is where your new carpet is going to be laid. Hallways, kitchens and staircases are high-traffic areas and so are better suited to a short pile carpet. These designs are made from closely packed weaves, giving them a smooth and flat surface for easy maintenance and making them more hardwearing and durable than deeper pile alternatives.
Bedrooms and living rooms, on the other hand, don’t experience high levels of footfall and so a deep pile carpet in these rooms is a good choice if you’re after something more luxurious, warmer and cosy underfoot.
Amalfi Saxony carpet in linen, £14.99 per square metre, Carpetright
Natural fibres are popular choices for carpets around the home and many offer an eco-friendly choice. Sisal, jute, coir and seagrass are some of the options available if you’re looking for a sustainable material and want to embrace their raw, organic look. Each has their own individual properties so are suited to different requirements: seagrass, for example, is easy to clean, making it a good choice for pet owners and families, while sisal has good insulating properties and comes in a range of colours.
Wool carpets typically come in at a higher price point than other materials, but many see it as a long-term investment thanks to its durability. It offers a sustainable and luxurious floor covering which acts as an insulator and sound absorber, as well as being naturally fire-resistant. Its robustness means the fibres are able to spring back into shape more readily than other materials, reducing track marks and pile compression dents. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that wool carpets don’t respond well to stains as they are highly absorbent and so aren’t well-suited to areas of the house where spillages are frequent.
A more affordable alternative is man-made carpeting, which comes in two main varieties: nylon and polypropylene. Nylon carpets are easy to keep clean and polypropylene has superior stain-resistance qualities, as well as being fade-resistant from sunlight. On the flip side, the latter isn’t particularly resilient, meaning it can be easily crushed, while nylon can be prone to static electricity unless treated. It’s always a good idea to speak to an expert before buying, to weigh up the pros and cons of each option depending on your budget and household needs.
Eichholtz Soleste carpet, £2,890 for 300cm x 400cm, Sweetpea & Willow
While some materials are only available in their natural colouring, others offer you the scope to choose from a range of shades to suit your interior. Grey has been a leading choice for several years now, thanks to its neutral base and ability to work well with a wide range of palettes.
If you’re feeling bold, why not opt for a stronger shade to make your flooring a focal point? Patterned carpets are also seeing a rise in popularity; herringbone or chevron designs work particularly well on natural carpets where a subtle pattern brings the design to life, or for something a little more daring, go for a fun floral print in a living room or bedroom.
Brintons X Laura Ashley Agnes-Charcoal carpet, £74.99 per square metre, Brintons
When budgeting for your new carpet, don’t forget to allow for the cost of underlay and fitting, as well as the carpet itself. A good-quality underlay will help to cushion your carpet, making it more comfortable underfoot, and acting as a shock-absorber to help protect your floor.
It also improves the energy efficiency of the room, thanks to its insulating properties, and will help your carpet hold its shape better over the years. PU (polyurethane) has recently taken the lead from traditional rubber underlay and it comes in a range of densities to suit all budgets.
Decades Oasis carpet, £37.49 per square metre, Lifestyle Floors
Read more: Get good chi: Feng Shui your home
Keep up with the top stories from Reader’s Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.