A home wouldn’t be homely without carpet. Carpet makes it cosy and comfy underfoot, and it’s less draughty and more heat retentive and sound absorbing than many other floor coverings.
But with so many different types to choose from, it’s hard to know where to begin. Picking the colour of your new carpet, and whether you want it to be patterned or plain, is just part of the decision process.
While many carpets are suitable for use throughout the home, some have a more luxurious feel, perfect for areas of light foot traffic such as bedrooms. Others are more hardwearing, making them ideal for areas of heavy foot traffic like hallways.
Having lots of different carpets in one home isn’t a good look, especially if they meet in the hallway or landing, so bear this in mind if you’re replacing one carpet and not others.
The carpet’s pile affects its appearance, feel and performance. As a general rule, the more luxurious the carpet is (ie the longer the pile), the more care it will need to keep it looking good.
Choose from twist piles, which have a coarse, rugged finish; velvet piles, which have a smooth, luxurious finish; loop piles, which are similar to natural flooring, such as coir (avoid if you have pets, particularly cats, because of the damage their claws can do); and saxony piles, which have a sensuous feel, but aren’t suitable for heavy foot traffic areas because they have a deep pile.
How a carpet looks, feels and wears also depends on what it’s made of. Without a doubt, a wool carpet is a quality carpet, but wool can be blended with nylon or polypropylene (at least 50% wool is recommended) to improve the carpet’s performance, make it more affordable, or create a special effect.
Wool carpet is warm and soft, with a luxurious feel. It wears well, is easy to maintain as it doesn’t soil easily, and is naturally flame retardant, as well as being sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Nylon is often blended with wool in a carpet and is extremely hardwearing and easy to clean. Nylon also has great abrasion, stain and soil resistance and lends itself to multiple colours of carpet.
Similarly, polypropylene carpet is extremely hardwearing and easy to maintain - it’s stain resistant and keeps its colour well. Polypropylene carpets can be very inexpensive, so they’re a good choice if you’re on a budget.
Just as it’s important to have your new carpet professionally fitted (and measured), it’s also essential to invest in new, good quality underlay, as it helps the carpet to sit properly and wear evenly.
In addition, it increases heat and sound insulation and reduces pile compression, so the carpet looks good for longer – new underlay can increase the life of a carpet by 40%.