How to Choose the Right Carpet for Your Room—and Exactly What to Buy
Learn the difference between saxony carpet, textured carpet, and more—and how to choose the best type of carpet for your space.
There are so many different types of carpet, it’s hard to know exactly which is best for your home. If you’re in the market for a new carpet, whether it’s a wall to wall carpet or simply an area rug, there are quite a few things to consider.
The fiber, or material the carpet is made of, is the most important factor to take into consideration. There isn’t one fiber that’s the gold standard when it comes to carpeting. Choosing the appropriate carpet for the room really depends on your needs, lifestyle, budget, as well as who is living in the home. It’s also necessary to keep in mind that no matter how nice a carpet looks, if it isn’t durable enough for the space, it isn’t the right carpet for you.
Once you’ve determined the fiber, the next step is figuring out what carpet texture makes the most sense. Just like fiber, texture also plays a role in durability and avoiding carpet stains. Here are the most popular kinds of carpet for every room in your home.
Different Types of Carpet Fibers
Nylon is the most popular type of carpeting because it’s durable, resistant to mildew, and non-allergenic, making it ideal for allergy sufferers. However, there are some disadvantages to nylon fibers: they are prone to pilling and attract static. Try: Made You Look, $14 per tile; flor.com.
Wool is a natural fiber used in carpeting and rugs. While pricey, wool has many advantages. It absorb 30 percent of its weight in moisture without feeling damp, so it’s perfect for tropical climates or locations with high rainfall. It’s also easy to clean and feels soft and comfortable underfoot. Another advantage of wool carpet is that it’s hypoallergenic, making it the best choice for homes with people who are allergic to synthetics or sensitive to chemicals. Try: Mid-Century Heathered Basketweave Wool Rug, starting at $96; westelm.com.
Originally engineered as outdoor carpeting, Olefin is ideal for basements and outdoor spaces like screened-in porches. The texture of Olefin carpet is generally tougher than nylon, so it isn’t the softest carpet to step on with bare feet. Try: TrafficMASTER Grey Wood Pattern, $5.34 per linear foot; homedepot.com.
Acrylic is mostly used for commercial carpeting, but many affordably priced area rugs are also made with this material as an alternative to wool. This is because in addition to being fade- and mildew-resistant, acrylic carpet cleans easily. Try: Safavieh Faux Sheepskin Ivory Japanese Acrylic Rug, $163; overstock.com.
Polyester carpet has several pros and cons. It’s stain-resistant, non-allergenic, and mildew-resistant, but it’s also susceptible to shedding and pilling. Try: Montross Blue Area Rug, $42; wayfair.com.
Sometimes called Sorona (the brand name), Triexta is a newer innovation in synthetic carpeting. The major advantage of this patented fiber is that it’s hydrophobic, meaning it won’t absorb moisture. Stains can be cleaned with a bit of water, instead of a spot cleaner. Even better, it’s also odor-resistant, making this an excellent choice for homes with pets and young children. Triexta also doesn’t fade from UV exposure, so go ahead and install it in your sunny living room. Try: PetProof Sawyer Carpet, $3.79 per square foot; homedepot.com.
Different Types of Carpet Textures
Most carpeting falls into one of two categories, loop and pile. Loop carpeting has a dense look and is good for high-traffic areas. Pile carpets have short yarn tips instead of loops and generally have a soft feeling underfoot.
Level Loop Carpet
Also called Berber, this type of carpet has short loops that stand up well in high-traffic areas. The construction of level loop carpeting allows spills to sit on top instead of absorbing into the fibers, so it’s easy to clean and prevent stains. Level loop carpet is worth considering for hallways and living rooms. Try: Level Loop Carpet Tile, $1 per square foot; wayfair.com.
This type of carpet has loops in a variety of heights, which can give it a lovely patterned texture. Try: Braylin Custom Tufted Rug, starting at $449; potterybarn.com.
Plush carpet sounds exactly like how it feels and has an even, smooth, almost fluffy texture. This is one of the most comfortable surfaces to walk on, making it an ideal choice for the bedroom. Try: Mohawk Home & Office Plush Interior Carpet, $1.89 per square foot; lowes.com.
Known for its smooth finish, saxony carpet has longer, twisted fibers, which give it a rather “full” look and a soft, velvet-like appearance. But this also means that furniture, especially sofas and coffee tables, will create dents in the carpet. You’ll also see footprints and vacuum marks quite easily. Saxony carpeting has a classic and formal look, making it a sophisticated choice for living rooms. Try: Home Decorator’s Collection Sweet Dreams I Color Assurance Saxony Carpet, $3.89 per square foot; homedepot.com.
Textured carpeting has fibers of various lengths, which creates a rough texture, giving it almost a two-tone appearance and a casual look. Some textured carpets have patterns such as flowers or chevron. Textured carpeting easily hides vacuum marks and footprints. Try: Ollie Jute Rug, starting at $94; luluandgeorgia.com.
A frieze carpet has long fibers, so while it’s generally soft, it’s not super durable, making it less ideal for high-traffic areas. A major advantage of this type of carpeting is that it hides dirt and debris well. Choose it for bedrooms, home offices, and dens. Try: LifeProof Phenomenal I Texture Carpet, $4.69 per square foot; homedepot.com.