There is a staggering array of carpets on the market, so before you hit the shops and fall in love with a particular style, here are a few things you should keep in mind.
The floor in your home is like a fifth wall – your new carpet will be a key element of your decorative scheme, so make sure you like the colour and the pattern. How much traffic will it have to withstand? High-traffic areas, such as hallways and stairs, require a heavy-duty material like nylon, while you have a free rein of choice for low-traffic areas, such as spare bedrooms and dining rooms. Do you have children and/or pets? Do you want a contemporary, formal, functional or cosy family space? A carpet specialist can advise you on the type of fibre that best suits your needs.
Budget, durability, colour or style – which is more important? Let your answer dictate your choice of carpet.
Plush: This is a level cut pile with tight tuft definition and no ‘tip flair’.
Cut and loop: Cut pile carpet with areas of loop pile design incorporated into it.
Hard twist: Pile with a textured finish made up of highly twisted tufts that curl slightly at the pile surface.
Shag: Long pile tufts with a low-density construction. The tuft spacing is more open than other carpet constructions.
Level loop: A simple loop pile with tufts of equal height in a tight construction.
Berber, heather, tweed: These are usually made of thick yarn tufted into chunky loops in flecked earthy tones.
Sisal, cord: Heavily textured loop-pile carpet, either uniform in height or with alternating low and high lines. Similar in appearance to natural fibre floor coverings.
Multi-level loop: Has different pile heights, so carpet has a sculptured look.
Thrills and spills
Be guided by your carpet specialist when selecting the best carpet fibre and pile for your home. Take into account the foot traffic and purpose of the space, and if your flooring needs to withstand spills, stains and abrasions. To help you choose, the Better Homes and GardensTV team conducted a series of tests and reached the following conclusions:
- Polypropylene low-level loop is best for disguising stains.
- Wool sisal low-level loop is best for durability. When subjected to crushing, it sprang back with no visible imprint.
- Wool cut pile twist is best for the luxury factor, as well as offering warmth and resilience.
- Nylon level cut-and-loop pile is the best bang for your buck.