Over 2,000 years ago, somebody living in the Middle East decided to shear a wooly animal, collect the wool into a pile, and weave it into the world’s first carpet. Today, carpet is one of the most loved types of flooring, adored the world over for its beauty, warmth, and softness.
If you’re thinking of buying a new carpet for your home, and are bamboozled by the various carpet materials, styles, and colours, this buying guide will answer your burning questions.
Here is the full rundown on how to buy good carpet for your home.
How to buy good carpet for your home
When figuring out how to choose good quality carpet for your home, there are a number of questions to ask. Here’s our carpet buying guide that will help you find the perfect flooring.
1. What is your preferred style or pile?
Pile refers to the carpet’s strands. It ranges from short to long, and affects how the carpet looks, feels, and its durability (check out our diagram of carpet pile types, below). Carpet with a long and deep pile (shag carpet) feels much softer than carpet with a short pile, but is harder to clean, so may not be suitable for those with children or pets. Similarly, wool carpets look and feel luxurious, but spillages need to be treated immediately to avoid permanent stains.
2. What colour will match your home’s décor?
When choosing a colour for your carpet, consider the mood and tone that you’re trying to achieve.
Contrasting colours look great, so if you have dark furniture, you might opt for a lighter-coloured carpet. Conversely, if you have light furniture, a dark carpet can look stunning. The exception to this rule is for smaller rooms, which can look cramped with dark carpets.
3. Will the carpet be walked on a lot?
Hallways and living areas are walked across more, so it’s a good idea to lay a durable, heavy-grade carpet that can be easily replaced.
4. What can you afford?
If you’ve honed your choice to two options, and you’re trying to decide which carpet is better, it’s always a good idea to buy the highest grade carpet of the two, as it will last for longer and potentially save you money in the long run.
5. How much sun will the carpet get?
If the carpet is likely to receive a lot of sunlight, you should consider a carpet that has extra resistance to fading.
6. Get samples!
Trying to conjure up a mental image of your home’s décor is much harder than looking at it, so it’s worth grabbing as many samples you can from your local carpet supplier, and seeing how they fit.
7. Look for a star rating
Carpet star rating. Image from Carpet Institute
Most carpets are graded in some way, usually with a star rating. These give you an idea of the quality of the carpet.
8. Buy a little extra
Tears and stains are a fact of life, so buying a little extra carpet will allow you to replace any ruined areas.
What is the best carpet to buy in Australia?
Carpets in Australia are the same as carpets anywhere else, so you’ll just need to work through the various questions listed above to get an idea of which carpet to choose. If it helps, nylon is the most popular carpet in Australian homes. It’s ideal for high-traffic areas, and family homes that include pets.
Carpet pile types
A carpet’s pile affects how it looks, feels, and its durability. There are eight common carpet pile types that are found in carpets, which are as follows:
What is twist pile carpet?
Twist pile carpet. Image from Investa Projects
Twist pile carpet is a type of cut pile that has had its yarn twisted during the manufacturing process, to create a short, dense style of flooring with tufted ends. It’s a highly durable carpet suited to high-traffic areas such as hallways and stairs. It’s also super easy to clean and maintain.
Choosing carpet colour
Carpeting your home can be expensive, which is why it’s so important to choose a carpet colour that fits well with your home, particularly the colour of your walls. Here are the key things to consider when choosing a carpet colour.
Colours affect our moods, so you may want to consider the room’s purpose and how you’d like to feel in it. Reds are known to stimulate, which might make them a good choice for a room where you need to feel motivated, such as an office. Blues and greens, on the other hand, can make you feel more relaxed, making them ideal for a bedroom.
Trendy colours vs neutral tones
Trendy colours are great at the time, but not-so-great when they quickly go out of fashion and have to replace the carpet. For this reason, neutral tones such as beige, oatmeal, and taupe are a much safer choice. If you find neutral tones to be boring, you can always jazz up the room with brightly-coloured furnishings or decorations.
Choosing a carpet colour isn’t just an aesthetic choice—there’s also practical reasons to consider. If you have young kids, a cream carpet probably won’t be the best choice for your living areas, unless you’re happy with vivid ketchup, juice, and vomit stains splattered across it. Similarly, a house with dogs and cats may end up painted with paw prints, so choosing a darker colour is best.
Dark vs light colours
Dark-coloured carpets can make the room appear smaller, which can be handy for larger rooms that you’re trying to make cozy. But for smaller rooms, darker carpets should be avoided to prevent them from becoming cramped.
Light-coloured carpets have the opposite effect, making smaller rooms feel more spacious, and larger rooms feel gigantic. When choosing a carpet colour, it’s important to take this into consideration.
For more information on how to select carpet colour, check out our article Choosing The Perfect Carpet Colour For Your Walls.
What colour carpet goes with white walls?
White is a standard wall colour for many homes, and as the most neutral of tones, a number of carpet colours go well with it. As mentioned above, you’ll need to consider the mood you’re trying to achieve for the room, whether you’re trying to expand or contract its space, and whether you’re brave enough to opt for a brightly-coloured carpet that jazzes up the room.
For more information on how to select a colour that works with white, check out our article What Colour Carpet Goes With White Walls?
Carpet/wall colour combinations
Dulux’s colour palettes run the gamut of hues, from bold and rich colours such as aubergine and chocolate, to softer colours like lilac and mauve. Here are 12 colour combinations from Dulux’s range (specifically their Legacy, Wholeself, Repair, and Identity palettes) that work beautifully together:
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To find out more about how to make these colour combinations work in your home, check out our 10 Sensational Living Room Carpet And Wall Colour Combinations For 2019 article.
Carpet vs wood floor
When choosing a new floor for our home, we need to consider its look, comfort, durability, and how easy it is to maintain. Many homeowners find themselves tossing up between carpet and wood, each with their own pros and cons. Here is a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages to each type of flooring.
Carpet can look great, especially dense shag piles, but solid timber flooring is a preference for many
Solid timber flooring looks gorgeous, and is loved by many
Carpet has a wide range of pricing, depending on the type
Timber flooring is expensive
Deep pile carpets can feel wonderful underfoot
As a hard type of flooring, timber isn’t comfortable
As a soft material, carpet is extremely quiet when walked on
Solid timber flooring can make a racket when walked on, especially with hard shoes
|Cleaning and maintenance||⭐️⭐️⭐️
Carpet can get dirty easily, with lighter colours needing regular vacuuming to keep them clean
Timber flooring won’t mark as easily as carpet (particularly light carpet), but will eventually need to be sanded and polished to revitalise them
Carpets are notoriously bad for stains, particularly wool carpets.
Most stains can be easily removed from timber flooring with dish detergent and water
Carpets offer great insulation, keeping the nip away from winter mornings
While timber doesn’t become as cold as flooring types such as concrete, it definitely isn’t warm
For more information on carpet vs wood flooring, check out our article Carpet Vs Timber Floors: What Suits You?
Pet carpet | Which carpet is best for your dog or cat?
Almost half of all Australian households include a furry friend, and if you’re one of these, you may be wondering whether carpet is a good idea for your home. Thankfully, there’s plenty of carpets that are suitable for pets—the most important things to consider are:
- Stain resistance—animals are messy, particularly huge ones who like to spend their time wallowing in puddles and pelting through bushes. When choosing a carpet, you might want to consider something darker that is made from nylon, or another stain-resistant material.
- The colour of the carpet—If you’re worried about muddy paws, you might want to choose a darker colour. And If you have a cat or pooch that sheds, you can hide the hair by choosing a colour that is close to the colour of their fur.
For more info on choosing a pet-friendly carpet, check out our article Choosing Carpet For Your Home? A Guide For Pet Owners.
What rooms should have carpet?
Bedrooms and living rooms are the most popular place for carpets. They’re comfortable underfoot, warm, and provide extra insulation for the area. But carpets can be installed in pretty much any room apart from “wet” areas such as the bathroom and kitchen, which are better suited to waterproof flooring such as tile, vinyl, and water-resistant laminate.
How much does carpet cost?
Carpet varies dramatically in quality, and so has an extremely wide price range. Carpets with the lowest-grade materials (like polypropylene) tend to start at around $20 per square metre, and carpets that use the best quality materials and piles can go up to $250 per square metre.1
How much does carpet installation cost?
Carpet installation cost varies depending on the type of underlay and carpet being installed, and whether stairs are included in the job. These are the average installation costs for a selection of Australia’s cities:
- Brisbane: $25 per hour, or $25 per square metre
- Melbourne: $20 per hour, or $35 per square metre
- Sydney: $35 per hour, or $45 per square metre1
Carpet allergies—fact or fiction?
Studies have revealed no evidence that certain types of carpet fibres cause allergies. Instead, what is itching your nose and watering your eyes is probably pollen, dust, dander, or mould, which float through the air and scatter across your unsuspecting face. So if you’re been considering an expensive hypoallergenic carpet for your home, there’s no longer any need to do so.
The best thing you can do for your allergies is regularly vacuum your carpet, and get it professionally cleaned.
To learn more about carpet allergies, check out our article The Facts: Carpet And Allergy Sufferers.
What is polypropylene carpet?
Polypropylene carpet in an office. Image from ikhycarpet
Polypropylene carpet uses a synthetic fibre that can be made cheaply by manufacturers, which makes it one of the lowest cost types of carpet. It isn’t thick or particularly nice to walk on, but it does have a high stain resistance, good water resistance, and doesn’t hold onto odours the way that other carpets do. This type of carpet is a good choice for an office.
Is textured carpet in style?
Textured carpet. Image from Ask Patrick
Textured carpet is carpet that has had patterns pressed into it during the manufacturing process. It’s a bold type of carpet that can make a room more interesting, but isn’t for everyone.
As with every type of fashion, it can be difficult to pin down what’s “in style” and what isn’t. Few people claim that textured carpet in style, but why does that matter anyway? If you love the look of textured carpet, and you aren’t planning on selling your home anytime soon, your opinion is the most important 🙂
How many years does carpet last?
The lifespan of carpet depends on its type, material, the number of fibres, and the intensity of foot traffic that it gets. On average, you can expect a carpet to last anywhere from 5 to 15 years.
- Eliza Parry-Okeden, 2020, How Much Does New Carpet Cost?, Canstar