As someone who has never had to do any carpet shopping before, having to make carpet choices for a whole home renovation was a little daunting. I was starting off with very little knowledge of what was on the market and what is best suited to where. I spent hours doing loads of research trawling through different options to make the best decisions so I thought I would summarise my findings here. This is the kind of blog post that would have helped me a lot at the start! Hopefully someone out there will find it helpful too.
Types of carpets
Saxony – plush and luxurious. These carpets have a long, loose pile making them feel very soft underfoot; but this type of pile will flatten more easily. They are best for bedrooms and low traffic areas where the aim is comfort rather than practicality.
Twist/Frieze – good for heavier traffic. The higher the ounce the denser the carpet and the less likely to show tread. Also the shorter the pile the less it will show tread. A high quality would be a 40/50oz with a pile height of 1cm or less. Paired with a good underlay it can still feel soft underfoot. Good for living rooms, hallways, dining rooms or any room that gets well used.
Loop – if you like texture a loop carpet may be the one for you. There is so much choice from quality wool loops to budget berbers. A practical option as they are durable and hard wearing, therefore great for heavy traffic areas like hallways and stairs. A two-tone colour choice will further disguise any dirt. However loop is not the best option if you have pets with claws. Also it’s worth mentioning that you need to clean it with a hoover that does not have a rotating head (beater bar) as it will tear the fibres. Suction hoovers only.
Wool – after speaking to lots of carpet sales reps, it seems wool is a love or hate scenario.
The pros are – it is more insulating, fire resistant, stain resistant, durable and hardwearing (the fibres are naturally a little elastic and so bounce back into shape). Great for hallways, stairs and any high traffic areas.
The cons are – moths love it too. However most wool carpets are now moth treated (although I didn’t come across a manufacturer with any guarantees, except Axminster where the guarantee only applies if you’ve also bought their expensive underlay).
Polyamide/nylon – The most durable and resilient of the man made fibres, but it is absorbent and so it needs treating with stain protection. Regular steam cleaning keeps the pile bouncing back and so with care it will last.
Polyester – good for smaller budgets, naturally stain resistant, comes in a wide range of colour choices and it’s soft and luxurious. It’s not as durable as nylon and best suited for low traffic areas.
Polypropylene – Fade resistant and stain resistant, a family friendly option. Good for high traffic areas if in a higher quality/heavier weight. It is not flame retardant so avoid using in rooms with open fires.
Bear in mind wool has a matt finish, manmade has a sheen. I found in darker areas something with a sheen helps to reflect and not absorb the light.
Mix – an 80/20 wool/nylon mix can have the benefits of both, the nylon adds some sheen to the durability and softness of a wool carpet.
Sisal – an organic and natural fibre. The texture looks amazing and this is a great option for something different. The most durable fibre but it is not great with stains as it absorbs, but it’s absorbing qualities also means it comes in a wide range of colours. A little rough under foot and it can be slippery on stairs. A stylish rather than practical option.
Jute – a cheaper option and softer underfoot than sisal but not as durable as it can fray. Only ideal for light traffic areas and will fade in strong sunlight.
While looking for the right solution for our busiest rooms I came across a manmade carpet (100% polypropelene) that has been developed to have the same look as a wool loop and there are also sisal look alternatives. They have the best of both, visually different, modern and stylish but also very practical. I’ll link a few websites below. The only negative was it was quite firm underfoot and so it would be best for hallways, or if made up as a rug it would be a perfect stress free option for underneath a dining table.
Kersaint Cobb have also developed a range with a similar idea 90% polypropylene, 10% wool which are a little softer.
This is by no means an extensive account, and I am no expert, but hopefully this will be a good basic starting point to help narrow down your options!
What type of carpets have you had success with in your own home?