Choosing a carpet can be confusing and complicated, but following a few simple guidelines will ensure you pick the right one for the job. Here are our top tips to get you started.
How to choose a carpet
There are two main things to consider when buying a carpet: how it’s constructed and the material it’s made from. You can expect most carpets to be either woven or tufted. Woven carpets are expensive as they are more labour intensive and use traditional loom methods. Tufted carpets are more common as they are machine-made and more affordable. Tufted carpets also come in a number of finishes such as twisted, which provides a smooth surface, or Berber, which has a knotted effect.
The type of material also affects the quality and feel. There are various types of natural and synthetic fibres, and sometimes they are blended together. They each have different qualities and price points. If you are planning on laying your own carpet, check out our DIY guide here.
Best carpet with kids
If you are choosing a carpet for a household that has children you need to combine practicality with softness. Nylon (also called polyamide) is your best bet for durability in high-traffic areas – a quality nylon carpet can last a decade or more. Nylon can also be dyed in colours that aren’t reproducible in wool, making it a good choice if you want something particularly vibrant. Polyester works in kids’ bedrooms as it is soft and stain resistant, though watch out as they tend to shed. Either way, choose a twisted pile as they are good at hiding dirt.
Best carpet with pets
You can think of pets as being like children in that they tend to be messy and hard wearing on carpets. Polyester is the synthetic material that looks most like wool, and it is resilient enough to survive busy stairways and living rooms. Again, twists are better as they hide dirt and paw prints. One thing to consider is the size of your pet – a large dog will break down a cheap carpet in no time, while a cat or small pooch won’t be as punishing. Stay away from any carpet with a looped pile as animal claws will pull on them.
Best cosy carpet
Deep pile is the way to go here. Shag is the most sumptuous and its long tufts are perfect for curling your toes up in. They are best in low-traffic spaces such as bedrooms. A polyester Saxony style is also a good choice – its longer tufts provide a soft and warming feel underfoot. Note, that it will flatten under the weight of furniture and can show up footprints and vacuuming imprints. Natural wool is the softest of all fibres, but also the most expensive (especially for a quality one). A wool-synthetic blend, however, could give you that extra opulence without the price tag.
Best for sustainability
Synthetic carpets are not always the most eco-friendly of products given the energy and chemicals required to make them. However, there are alternatives – from manufacturers who work carbon neutrally to those who produce carpets made from recycled materials. A fabric such as Econyl is made from recycled fishing nets, while PET polyester carpets in another life were plastic bottles or tyres. Increasingly, there are also more vegetal-based carpets, though the likes of sisal and coir are rough underfoot.
Now that you know how to find the perfect carpet, don’t miss our guide on how to clean carpets and remove stubborn stains.