10 Tips for Choosing Carpet

Carpeting vs. Area Rugs

It's possible you'd be better served with an area rug and not wall-to-wall carpeting. How do you know? Consider the two. Carpeting's main advantages are that it's soft and warm underfoot, muffles sound and provides cushioning if you fall. It's also affordable. However, carpet holds dust, mites and other allergens, so if members of your household have allergies or asthma, it can be a problem. Carpet can also be difficult to clean, holds odors like pet urine and typically wears out within about 10 years, so you'll need to re-carpet -- and sometimes not just the one room with the really worn carpet, but the entire house, depending on where the carpet runs.

Area rugs are a popular flooring choice because they come in a larger variety of colors and designs, can be switched among rooms and are quite affordable. It’s also easier to make a statement with a fun or colorful area rug than it is with wall-to-wall carpeting, and you can take your rug with you every time you move. The main drawback to an area rug is that it requires you to have reasonably nice flooring underneath it, since some of your floor will almost certainly show. If you’ve got a beautiful hardwood floor, perfect. If you don’t, you’ll at least need a floor that’s in reasonably good shape. The other negatives to area rugs are that they can slip and/or be a tripping hazard if you stumble on an edge. But you can often remedy those issues with a rug pad or double-sided tape.

Related Articles


  • Becker, Robin. "Tips on choosing carpeting." Catalogs. (Dec. 20, 2011) http://www.catalogs.com/info/rugs-flooring/choosing-carpeting.html
  • Blair, Kate. "Area Rugs vs. Carpeting." Signature Contractors. (Dec. 20, 2011) http://www.signaturecontractors.com/articles/area-rugs-vs-carpeting/174
  • Carpet and Rug Institute. "A Rainbow of Choices." Date Unknown. 09/08/2010. http://www.carpet-rug.org/residential-customers/selecting-the-right-carpet-or-rug/color.cfm
  • Carpet and Rug Institute. "The Benefit of Carpet and Rugs." Date Unknown. 09/08/2010. http://www.carpet-rug.org/residential-customers/the-benefits-of-carpets-and-rugs.cfm
  • Carpet and Rug Institute. "Selecting the Right Cushion." Date Unknown. 09/08/2010. http://www.carpet-rug.org/residential-customers/selecting-the-right-carpet-or-rug/selecting-the-right-cushion.cfm
  • Carpet Buyers Handbook. "Carpet Color Selection." (Dec. 20, 2011) http://www.carpetbuyershandbook.com/buying-carpet/carpet-color-selection/
  • Carpet Buyers Handbook. "Carpet Warranty." (Dec. 20, 2011) http://www.carpetbuyershandbook.com/buying-carpet/carpet-warranty/
  • Carpet Cleaning Long Island NY. "Carpet Warranty." (Dec. 20, 2011) http://www.carpetcleaninglongislandny.com/consumers/information-about-carpet-warranties/
  • Carpet Solution. "Choosing Carpet - Things To Consider Before You Buy Carpets. (Dec. 20, 2011) http://www.carpet-solution.com/carpet_choosing/
  • Consumer Reports. "Wall-To-Wall Carpeting." Nov. 2007. 09/08/2010. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home-garden/bed-bath/home-decoration/wall-to-wall-carpeting/overview/index.htm
  • Decorator Secrets. "Carpet and Area Rugs." (Dec. 20, 2011) http://www.decoratorsecrets.com/carpet-area-rugs.html
  • Demesne. "How to Choose Quality Wall-to-Wall Carpet." (Dec. 20, 2011) http://www.demesne.info/Improve-Your-Home/Floor-Coverings/Carpet.htm
  • Direct Discount Carpet. "Five Tips When Choosing Your Carpet." (Dec. 20, 2011) http://www.directdiscountcarpet.com/carpet-tips.aspx
  • DIY Network. "Selecting Carpet." (Dec. 20, 2011) http://www.diynetwork.com/decorating/selecting-carpet/index.html
  • HGTV. "How to Choose Carpet." 2010. 09/08/2010. http://www.hgtv.com/home-improvement/how-to-choose-carpet/index.html
  • Home Depot. "How to Select the Perfect Carpet." (Dec. 20, 2011) http://www.homedepot.com/hdus/en_US//DTCCOM/HomePage/Commerce/Flooring/Carpet/Docs/105725_Carpet_Guide.pdf
  • King County, Washington. "Environmentally-Preferable Carpet." April 29, 2009. 09/08/2010. http://www.kingcounty.gov/operations/procurement/Services/Environmental_Purchasing/~/media/operations/procurement/documents/EP_Products_Carpet.ashx
  • Landry & Arcari. "Ten Tips for Choosing the Right Carpeting." (Dec. 20, 2011) http://www.landryandarcari.com/Carpet-Buying-Tips.php
  • Schmidt, Mary. "Choosing the Perfect Rug." Urban Life. 2007. 09/08/2010. http://newmedia.academyart.edu/gallery/web/7346_Web/living_choosing_rug.html
  • Tremblay, K.R. Jr., and Wiliams, K. "Selecting Carpet for Your Home." Colorado State University Extension. Dec. 2007. 09/08/2010. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/consumer/09535.html
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality." April 23, 2010. 09/08/2010. http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Bedroom." Nov. 9, 2009. 09/08/2010. http://www.epa.gov/greenhomes/bedroom.htm
  • WFCA. "What You Should Know Before You Buy Carpet." (Dec. 20, 2011) http://www.wfca.org/Pages/Before-You-Buy-Carpet.aspx
  • World Floor Covering Association. "Why Choose Carpet?" 2010. 09/08/2010. http://www.wfca.org/carpet/why.aspx

What is R-value?

Do you know what R-value is? Find out what R-value is in this article from HowStuffWorks.

More to Explore