What do you need to know when choosing carpet?

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

Gimme Shelter: Carpet Installation

There are five things you need to look for when choosing new carpeting for your home:

  • First of all, carpet padding supports your carpet and protects it from wear and tear. It also helps insulate your home and absorbs sound. Different kinds of carpet pads are recommended for different types of carpets and for rooms with different amounts of traffic.
  • To keep your costs low, shop around before you buy your carpet. Splurge on better quality carpeting for rooms with higher traffic. If you get carpet tile, you can replace one tile rather than the whole carpet if part of it gets ruined. Research the pros and cons (and prices) of different fiber types.
  • Find out about cleaning and maintenance. What equipment will you need? How often will you have to clean your carpet? Choose a carpet that will be easier to maintain. For example, a textured rug will conceal footprints and a loop carpet is more resistant to dirt [source: Consumer Reports].
  • Choose colors that reflect the tone you're looking to set in each room. Cool greens and blues are considered peaceful, while warm golds and reds make a room feel cozy. Light colors will make a small room feel bigger; patterns, texture and dark colors help hide stains. Bring home color samples to see how they'll look in each room [source: Carpet and Rug Institute].
  • Finally, check how different carpets may affect your health or the environment. Volatile organic compounds in carpets, padding and adhesives can contribute to allergies, asthma and air quality in your home [source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency]. You may want to buy carpeting made from recycled materials and renewable resources. The Green Seal Certification or the Green Label of the Carpet and Rug Institute are good things to look for when you want to know about the impact a carpet may have on your health or the environment.