The 1990s wants its floors back.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated December 05, 2019
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It may be 2019—nearly 2020, the start of a whole new decade—but, looking at some homes, you wouldn’t guess it. Home trends in recent years take one of two paths: Either they look very pared-down and futuristic, with clean lines and minimalist color palettes, or they look like trends of years past (with a few fresh twists, of course). Don’t believe us? Just think about the conversation pit, retro-looking non–stainless steel sunset bronze appliances, and the appliance garage. This latest potential comeback is pretty divisive, though: Wall-to-wall carpeting.

For years, flooring trends have been all about hardwood floors (or engineered wood flooring). Ripping up carpet and replacing it with clean, bare wood floors—with plenty of types of rugs on top—has been a common theme on renovation shows, and data from the 2019 U.S. Houzz & Home Study of annual renovation trends shows that 43 percent of homeowners who renovated in 2018 purchased non-carpet flooring.

Carpet tends to be difficult to clean, and it’s a huge hassle to remove, so one could easily assume that carpeting is out for good. That’s not necessarily true, though—we once said the same thing about wallpaper, after all, and wallpaper designs have made a shockingly huge comeback. If wallpaper can do it, wall-to-wall carpeting can, too.

Carpet trends may already be growing: In 2019, real estate company Opendoor put down nearly 1 million yards (984,718 yards, to be exact) of carpeting in the homes it buys and sells. Per Houzz’s report, 17 percent of renovating homeowners in 2018 purchased carpeting. Plus, 50 percent purchased indoor rugs, which could be interpreted as a sign that people are recognizing the limits of hardwood flooring more and more. They want something softer that helps absorb sound, perhaps, something also known as carpeting.

Sure, carpeting is hard to clean (this carpet cleaner solution might help), but once you decide that the wall-to-wall carpeting look isn’t as outdated as you may have thought, carpets actually have some real appeal. According to Beatrice de Jong, consumer trends expert at Opendoor, carpet can actually be stylish. “Carpet can bring a subtle texture or a bold pattern to a room in an unexpected way,” she says.

Plus, carpet can be more family friendly. It offers a softer surface for kids to play on and is easier on adult knees while they interact with low-to-the-ground kids or pets. It can even help sound-proof rooms. “People are still opting for carpet floors in bedrooms, especially upstairs, to quiet the noise,” de Jong says.

Should you cover your floors in wall-to-wall carpeting? Maybe not—that would be an enormous cleaning hassle, even with the help of the best robot vacuum for carpet. But maybe you shouldn’t write off carpet completely, either, particularly in less-trafficked rooms such as bedrooms and offices. After all, no one likes waking up and rolling out of bed to an ice-cold wood floor, right?