Many people canâ€™t think of anything worse than buying new carpet for their home. Yes, they hate their existing carpet, and yes, it is badly stained and slightly smelly. But replacing it means theyâ€™ll have to choose a colourâ€¦and a fibre typeâ€¦and a style. Thereâ€™s no question about it, picking new carpet does mean youâ€™ll need to make choices. But, with the right information, itâ€™s really not that hard. You just need to keep the following 9 points in mind:
The best choice of carpet for your neighbour isnâ€™t necessarily the best choice for you: Weâ€™re all different. We all have different lifestyles. And thatâ€™s why having a range of carpets to choose from is a great thing. The family of 4 kids and a golden retriever should not pick the same carpet as the married couple in their 50â€™s who just had white plush pile installed. Itâ€™s common sense. Think about how you and your family will use the carpet: are you expecting heavy wear? Stains? Do you entertain a lot? Do you want something that mainly looks impressive for a room that is seldom used?
Plush pile offers maximum luxury but is high maintenance: If youâ€™ve ever stepped barefoot onto a plush pile carpet then chances are youâ€™ll remember it. Soft, velvety, your feet sinking luxuriously into a surface that is simultaneously light and yet denseâ€¦Plush pile is a type of cut pile carpet (where the loops that make up the carpet have been cut so they stand up straight), and it looks good. It feels better. But it wonâ€™t stand up well against dinners on the couch, dropped crayons or indoor pets.
Loop pile is low maintenance and hard wearing: If you are looking for a carpet that is going to stand the test of time then loop pile may be the way to go. Carpets where the yarn is looped over offer a lot of varieties in look and texture; they can be linear for a more professional look or random for something a bit more casual. This style of carpet will usually be easier to clean and wears quite well, even in higher traffic areas.
Combination loop and cut pile offers a nice mixture of both: If youâ€™re aiming for something that will feel nice, look good, but wonâ€™t show up everyoneâ€™s footprints then a carpet with a combination of cut and loop pile offers a great compromise between the two. The contrast in the texture also makes this carpet nice to walk on and offers a subtle pattern that looks great.
When picking a colour, consider the size of your room and what look you want to achieve: The basic laws of interior decorating come into play here: darker colours make rooms look smaller, lighter colours make rooms look bigger. If you have a huge living area, with high ceilings and white walls, then a darker coloured carpet can make the space feel cosier and more inviting. In contrast, dark carpet in a tiny room will make it look like a shoebox, whereas a light colour will open up the space. If you want a lighter colour but are concerned about it showing stains, then opt for carpet with a pattern or a subtle blend of similar colours.
Carpet will fade, particularly if exposed to large volumes of sunlight: If you take this into consideration up front then you shouldnâ€™t have any regrets down the track. The fade should only be by a shade or two, so if youâ€™re concerned, start with a colour that is a little darker (to allow for the expected fade). Itâ€™s also worth checking manufacturer advice when it comes to fade, as some carpet fibres are more prone to it than others.
Your basic options are synthetic fibre, a wool-nylon mix or 100% pure wool: This is another area of carpet selection that should be determined partly by budget and partly by intended use. Some people have the impression that wool should be the only option and that all synthetics are cheap and nasty â€“ not true. In fact, there is now a huge range of synthetic fibre carpets available, many of them incredibly soft and resistant to fading. Wool is an excellent choice if youâ€™re looking for a carpet that will feel warm in winter but cool in summer, but wool carpet can also be pricier.
If youâ€™re planning to lie on the carpet at home, you probably should lie on it in store too: If youâ€™re the kind of person who likes to curl up on the living room floor with a throw and a pillow, then itâ€™s pretty important that your carpet is comfortable to curl up on. Donâ€™t be afraid to test it out in store (the same goes for walking barefoot across samples to get a feel for the texture).
Carpets are rated according to an Australian national standard: Carpet in Australia has a classification rating that will tell you if it is light or heavy duty, suitable for stairs, good for high traffic, etc. Rather than pick a carpet that may not suit your intended purpose, check the classification to make sure it doesnâ€™t just look good, but also that itâ€™s worthy of the job.
If youâ€™re still feeling a little unsure about picking a new carpet, then the best thing to do is to talk to an expert. Feel free to ask for suggestions, bombard them with questions, and donâ€™t feel pressured to decide on a carpet then and there; most companies will give you samples that you can take home to make sure youâ€™re 100% happy with your choice.