Let’s Talk About Carpet?

Let's talk about carpetFor this next Home Design Q+A post, I got an interesting question from a reader named Laura!

Q: I’ve noticed that many lifestyle bloggers have left carpet behind once they move or renovate. Hard flooring with rugs is the new white wall! Haha. How do you personally feel about carpeting, and why did you opt for area rugs instead? Is your decision more practical or aesthetic based? -Laura

A: Great question. Recently Jeremy and I were watching Rosemary’s Baby, and I was crushing HARD on the design sense in their apartment in the film. I noticed that a lot of the rooms had carpet, which is pretty typical of a home from the 1960s. I said to Jeremy, “Do you think carpet is going to become trendy?” and he said to me, “Of course it will.”

What’s kind of funny is that, you’re correct, the vast majority of bloggers who identify their style as mid-century inspired still opt for no carpet or minimal carpet (just in the bedrooms).

I love hardwoods for both aesthetic and practical reasons. Here’s why:

-A consistent wood stain color throughout the home can really tie your rooms together. It can create strong contrast or an airy vibe, depending on the stain you choose. Wood floors can really set the tone for the entire home.

-I love that rugs are changeable. I have moved mine around countless times. And as a pet owner I find them very practical. Our dogs are trained now and don’t really have accidents 99% of the time, but in our last home, it was a big issue. When we moved, I was grateful for the option to throw away a few rugs rather than invest in a LOT of new carpet. And as a person who changes their mind a lot (and a trend addict), I like that a relatively inexpensive rug swap can really revamp a room! It’s nice to have that option.

-Wood floors are more durable. There’s no question that wood floors age better and more slowly than carpet, especially since the current trends tend to favor light colored carpets.

That said, a lot of rugs are expensive. Sometimes, really expensive. I have gotten a lot of mine on sales. Maybe I can blog about sales another time, but let’s just say that Anthropologie double sales and West Elm e-mail list sales are my best friend when it comes to rugs! But even with sales and comparison shopping, large area rugs tend to be pretty pricey.

But a lot of the rugs in our home are not expensive at all. Like this light jute rug we used in both our bedroom and Jeremy’s studio. It’s around $300 for a 9×12 rug, and it’s holding up really well. I also love cowhide rugs, which tend to cost a couple hundred dollars, because they’re easy to clean and pet friendly.

Anyway—I’m veering off track. Back to talking about carpet!

I love my wood floors, but I don’t hate carpet. When I peruse vintage magazines, I am amazed by how bold and stunning their colored and patterned carpeted rooms look. Incredible! But when I see a house listing full of beige carpet, meh. It’s not for me. IF I was going to get into carpet, for me, it would be the same as wallpaper—a statement. And that’s a big commitment.

So for now, I think I will safely err on the side of wood floors with area rugs. It’s a safe and practical choice for me.

Now, I want to hear from all of you who LOVE the carpet in your homes. Please tell me all about the advantages! I’m so curious.

Bye Carpet*The photo above is from our current house on closing day when my husband discovered undamaged hardwoods under most of the carpet.

xoxo! Elsie

Credits//Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. 

  • Hi, I absolutely agree with you and I am on your side when it comes to a preference for hardwood and rugs. I like that you mentioned how rugs are easily changeable. On the other hand, we have many clients that opt for bold and dynamic carpet patterns installed wall to wall in their living rooms and dining rooms as well as their bedrooms. There are so many wild and luxurious patterns and styles these days that even if you don’t want wall to wall carpet, they are great for custom area rugs and runners. P.S. Phenomenal Website!

  • AS a pet owner I definitely prefer hard floors, much easy to clean – although mind you its not possible to hide anything, everything single little piece of hair or fluff shows up on them – but still I prefer over carpet.

  • I love hardwood floors too, but cold floors i hate. I finally broke down and purchases carpet tiles from FLOR and i love them. Its the only way to go if you have to have some carpet

  • Also, if you spray Scotch Guard on your cleaned carpets once it year, it will repel liquids and help preserve the life of your carpet. 🙂

  • As a mom of kids, as well as a dog who stays primarily outside, I love wood floors because they’re easy to clean, especially when your kids and dog track in dirt, mud, and snow. However, carpet is nice because it insulates your rooms a bit more during the winter…and that’s a huge bonus.

  • I was so sad when we had carpet installed by the landlord in my rented apartment to dull the noise and keep it warmer as the natural wood was just STUNNING and the place in my opinion looked far more stylish. Although I must admit it is nice to pad around without having to wear slippers and socks all the time and it is a touch warmer in the winter, but this is Scotland so from a practical point of view it would be cold with wood or carpeted flooring! My fear is moving to a new place that is already carpeted – someone mentioned about the hygiene aspect and I totally agree, it scares me looking at places with very old carpet i could do nothing about that could be horrendously dirty!


  • Really interesting as carpet has been the hot topic in my current home renovation.

    In the rooms that have carpet I have gone down that route for practical reasons. In my bedroom and the kiddos bedrooms I went with carpet as the house is Victorian and can get cold and the carpet really has given a cozy feel. I argued with Joe for weeks about putting carpet in the playroom. I wanted a wipe clean surface but Joe was insistent that they should have something soft to sit on and I have to admit that when I am pregnant and on my hands and knees playing with a toddler I am thankful for the carpet but still wish we had laminate floor, (the floorboards are way too gappy – too many spiders)Jigsaws and trainsets have not performed well on carpet and it would be nice for playdough to come out there and not just in the kitchen

    In the lounge I went rogue and installed a slate floor that Joe was convinced would be cold and not the feel you want for a lounge but with a rug and deep blue walls it works.

    Needless to say with the renovations just started and miles to go we are are family divided on this issue

  • I grew up in a house with knotted pine walls built in the 1950s. I think my parents stained them a little lighter and varnished them to lighten up the room. They also painted one wall in the kitchen a cream color and replaced the solid back door with one with windows in it. Good luck! It was fun to grow up in a place with polka dotted walls 🙂

  • This cold Canadian would LOVE to have hardwood downstairs because aesthetically I love hardwood so much more. However my comfort wins for now. Also interestingly enough we have been told by several allergists that it would be better to have low pile in the bedroom for our allergy prone son. It seems dust bunnies blow around on hardwood but carpet traps them until you vacuum.

  • We had carpet in our old home and even replaced it, but with pets its hard. I much prefer wood in our new home, and found an awesome place called Ruggable that makes cheap washable rugs that can be changed out with the rug’s liner/pad. Amazing idea!

  • My main beef with carpets are allergies. I have severe allergies and am basically allergic to everything in SC. We also rent and love everything about our current house, except our landlord said he wouldn’t change the carpet before we moved in. So I live in a glorious box that traps everything that makes breathing complicated. Our next house will have no carpet in rooms I will live in before we move in.

  • Honestly, living with a dog that sheds, I regret buying rugs at all, haha. We got rid of the one in our bedroom and have a West Elm one in our living room – and even though it’s beautiful, constant dog hair getting stuck in it is not so fun. Can someone invent a pretty, soft, cozy rug that is pet resistant? #illkeepdreaming

  • We recently removed the carpets from our second level (our first level already had hard surface flooring) because it is impossible to remove all of the dust and pet hair from carpeting. I also prefer the look of wood flooring with rugs over carpet. I do love how a room can have a whole new life with a new rug and pillows. It’s fun!

  • I mostly hate carpet, but when it’s done right, and kept *super* clean, it can be nice, especially in bedrooms. The upside (which I suspect you’re considering already with your baby on the horizon) is being able to comfortably roll around on it with kids, animals, and even just kneeling to do crafts etc without hurting yourself. Rugs don’t typically offer the same padding, especially not the rugs that are trendy these days. I would NEVER keep someone else’s carpet in my home, but might one day consider installing my own. Maybe. But with a baby coming, I would strongly consider it, if not simply to protect your little one from inevitable falls.

  • my mom always says that when carpet came out, it was such a luxury that you were seen as wealthy if you had it. she said the day they got carpet was the best day because they felt on top of the world. to this day, she still carpets her whole house because that stuck with her.

  • that white jute rug is a GREAT deal. how comfy is it underfoot? would you recommend it for a living room? my concern is babies crawling on it and being scratchy on their little knees. thanks!

  • I live in a VERY 1960s home, complete with avocado green carpet throughout most of the living areas. I think 99.9% of buyers would have torn it out in a heartbeat, but I decided to keep it — partially because ripping up carpet and replacing it with wood is a huge investment and partially because green carpet is a unique choice and I loved it — it’s very fitting for the style and era of the home. I found that with a really good vacuum, it’s actually really easy to keep it looking nice. Or avocado carpet’s version of nice. 😉 I just don’t think that fear should keep you from making or keeping design choices. If you want crazy carpet or fun wallpaper or whatever it may be, do it! Let your bold design choice flag fly!

  • I’ve lived in homes with carpet only, hardwood only, and mixed (including tile). In the Pacific Northwest we experience both warm summers and cold winters, so some way to create warmth seems to be key. Our last home was hardwood only, and since it was an older home with bad insulation, I felt cold all the time even though I had rugs everywhere. For decorating, it did seem easier creating a neutral base, but it was a challenge for cleaning (having to sweep or vacuum, followed by wet mopping, followed by dry mopping). As a pet owner (one large dog + a cat), it’s hard to avoid deep gouges and scratches unless your hardwood is of a stronger hardness, or a synthetic/engineered product. Now that I’m in a condo with carpet and tile, it’s been easier to stay ahead on cleaning and keep pet fur controlled, but I do notice that stains and spots are accumulating in our hallway. In a perfect world? I would go with radiant heating in the floors, and use a mix of carpet in the bedrooms and tile or engineered hardwood in the living and circulation spaces.
    One other note that hasn’t been mentioned, is that rugs in hardwood rooms with direct sun will impact the way that wood finish ages. I helped one family friend move recently, and after 5-10 years of using rugs in their living room (which received a lot direct sunlight), resulted in noticeable outlines when they removed the rugs. The stain color beneath the rugs was completely intact, but the surrounding area faded a couple of shades.
    There’s pros and cons to every flooring type.

  • I love the look of hardwood and area rugs, but with two young kids it sure is nice to have something soft for playtime, pony rides, and sleepovers. Someday we’ll upgrade to those beautiful floors so I don’t mind if the carpet gets a little beat up during the toddler phase.

  • The one thing I like about carpet is that it hides the dust and keeps it in place until you come around with a vacuum. Wood and tile tend to show it more, especially if you have dark floors. My husband and kids say that wrestling and playing around is more fun on the floor if you have a softer place to do it. That being said, my house will be carpet free once I finish with it. 🙂

  • When we removed the wall to wall carpets in our new home, the air instantly seemed better! You’re so lucky your hardwoods were undamaged. We were not so lucky. Maybe someday we’ll scrape together enough $$$ to get them sanded & refinished.

  • We liked having carpet in the nursery when our babies were learning to walk, because it was a large space with enough cushion to prevent major bangs and bumps. Now that our littles are all steady walkers we are switching to wood floors in every room, for aesthetic purposes and ease of cleaning. We also discovered beautiful wood under all the carpet, it’s kinda like xmas came early. Is it too late to ask a question? We’ve just bought a house with original 1960’s wood wall paneling, and my husband is really opposed to painting it. Do you have any tips on brightening up a dark walled room you can’t paint? Love these q&a posts!

  • I’m not a fan of carpet because it just never feels clean enough, especially when you’re not the type of person to ask everyone to remove shoes before entering your home. Laminate “wood” flooring is where it’s at for me because it’s so easy to maintain. I’ve lived in older houses with hardwood and don’t particularly like the squeaky wood floors, although they are a bit charming. Overall I think area rugs are the best option for cozying up a room. So easy to change out or you can take them to a professional cleaner if needed.

  • I like hardwood, but I also like taking off my shoes at the entrance of a house and stepping on soft rugs. I think area rugs are a good compromise for people who don’t like the idea of having to uncarpet and recarpet to clean but who are obsessive about said cleanliness.

  • I prefer the look of hardwood, but I still like to have carpet in the bedrooms. It’s comfortable and cozy and quiet. I don’t have dogs, though, so I could see that being an issue depending on the dog. Our last house was very open concept with all hardwoods and we couldn’t afford big area rugs so it was like an echo chamber.

  • I’m definitely a fan of hard floors and love to decorate with smaller rugs!

  • No carpet ever. My apartment has carpet throughout, except the kitchen and bathrooms, and I hate it. It’s dirty and gross and stained and dusty and they won’t come clean it. They cleaned it before we moved in, but that was over a year ago, so it’s just generally dirty from two people living there, but still.

  • Hidden wood floors in perfect condition! That’s a total dream!!!!! I love the look of light wood floors but carpet can also be super comfortable to lay on. Personally I have had so many things stain my carpet like nail polish, dirt, drinks, etc. It’s so much easier to clean up messes on tile floors. I have bad allergies and use an air purifier in my room to collect extra dust. If I had my own house, I would for sure have wood floors in almost every room just for the sake of breathing and feeling better.

  • My house has wooden floors and I’ve never had carpet so I don’t really know what the advantages are from my experience but my aunt, who has wooden floors as well, says how great carpet is, constantly. She misses the carpet floors a lot because it’s warmer on your feet, there isn’t as much dust on the furniture and you don’t waste much time cleaning it. That’s what she tells me but I don’t know.

  • Thanks for answering my question, Elsie! Your post has been super insightful: I appreciate that you covered both aesthetic and practical reasons.

    The comments are also very helpful. Thank you, all! <3

  • When I was a 12 I had BLUE, like BLUE AF, carpet in my room and all I wanted was a peachy/pink bedroom inspired by the scene in A Little Princess when the girls dream they’re having a very fancy tea party. So the blue carpet HAD TO GO. I begged my Mom, who was very supportive of interior decorating love, to let me change it. She finally agreed, but said I had to get new carpet (not wood floors like I wanted). I picked out a color called Winter Wheat, I’m still totally obsessed with it.

  • I prefer wood floor with rugs. Carpet looks gross so quickly, even when properly taken care of. http://www.likehanna.com

  • I absolutely love the look of hardwood floors, but sadly I have back and knee problems. When I house sat for a friend that has all hardwood floors, I could tell the difference on how my joints felt. I had to cross that off my list of options. Ah well! At least there are a lot of nice carpet options out there for those that may have the same problems I do. ??

  • I prefer a mix of hardwood and area rugs; I have both! I live in Canada and it gets frigid during the winter. The hardwood floors take up some of that cold. I bought Turkish area rugs while living in the Middle East. They are so very durable; easy to clean. I hose them down in the summer and air dry outside; they come up beautifully.
    I love the mosaic patterns and range of colors. I would not trade them for anything.

  • I grew up in a house filled with beige carpet and my mother always pined for hardwood! My boyfriend and I are in the process of building our first home and flooring was one of the more heated topics we debated. He loves carpet and wanted our house to be entirely filled. I wanted plush hardwood throughout. Hardwood flooring is insanely expensive so I had to give up on that for now. However, I was able to talk him into a durable hardwood alternative (heavy vinyl plank with mock wood graining and stain) throughout most of the house. We settled on putting carpet in the bedrooms for a warm cozy feel. We went with something pet safe, durable, and with a 10 year warranty. It’s grey (not beige! thank goodness!) so I think it will hide stains and imperfections pretty nicely. It’s not my first choice, but I think it’s a nice compromise for both of us that worked in our budget! I still think I can bring in rugs to the carpeted rooms to give them a different feel!

    If you’re struggling to decide what to do in your own home, my advice is to just go walk on a lot of different floors and see them in context. My boyfriend would’ve never got on board with my flooring choice had we not seen a few homes that looked stunning with the plank installed and I doubt I would’ve gone for our carpet had I not seen a home with it installed as well. So much easier to envision when you are interacting with it in a home versus in a store.

  • I have carpets upstairs in my house and I absolutely hate them. They stain way too easily with our dog. One of our carpets is only 4 years old and it looks so old and dingy. Unfortunately it’s too much work to replace them all with wood but I’ve promised myself in my next house I will have wood flooring throughout the house.

  • Hi! I like both. The majority of our house is hardwood with area rugs. But we have a large den room that was added on in the back and it has many large windows looking out to our back yard. Due to all the windows, the room was a bit chilly (even though they’re new windows). When it came time to rip up the old carpet, we opted to go with a new, neutral almost shag like carpet with a really springy Nike carpet pad to up the cozy vibe. We really love it. But I think one room is enough. 🙂

  • I have no idea if this is historically factual or not, but my grandmother told me that everyone she knew covered their hardwoods with carpets because they were tired of sweeping and mopping. With the invention of the vacuum cleaner carpets were so much easier and lower maintenance that it wasn’t even a question of which they would prefer. Whether that’s the real reason carpets came into fashion or not, her rationale makes sense from the perspective of a mid-century housewife!

  • I’m currently trying to sell myself on carpet so this article is perfectly timed! My husband and I closed on our first house last week. We have two bedrooms with carpet in terrible shape that needs to be replaced ASAP. The rest of our house is hardwood and tile, which I love. We can’t afford any of my dream flooring choices at the moment for the bedrooms, but we can afford to replace with new carpet. I’m looking at samples of carpet that are pet-friendly and durable and also on the cheaper end of the spectrum and trying to get excited about one. Carpet pros: makes a room feel warm/cozy, our dog loves napping on carpet, quieter (especially in a multiple story house), affordable, easy removal, fast installation. Carpet cons: harder to keep clean, shorter lifespan than other flooring, either bland or a big statement/commitment, I just like hardwood better. I would love to hear other reasons why people recommend carpet!

  • I love your house without the carpet, Your blue floor is amazing! <3 There are so many beautiful rugs about and their so easy when you want a change!

  • I definitely prefer wood, but I think carpet has a place. We have a low pile in our basement playroom and it really warms up the space and its great for the kids.

  • I just bought a house in October. It was built in 1920 and was recently remodeled. The previous owner put in beige carpet everyone. It has been a disaster with two dogs. Carpet is much harder to clean. I miss my wood floors. 🙁

  • I live in Canada where it’s super cold for about 4 months of the year. When we renovated our main floor bungalow (ranch style for you Americans! 🙂 we replaced our gross 80’s carpet with new, mid-century styled carpet. We absolutely love it. It’s very patterned and crazy, and it was really expensive, BUT it fits in so well with the MCM style of the house. Everyone seems to comment on how nice it is when they see it. And my toes don’t get TOO cold in the winter!!

  • I hate carpets too. We live in the South where the moisture content of the air is always high and things never really dry, so carpets are just s big no for me. I prefer smaller area rugs I can swap out as the mood hits me.

  • I hate carpets. All English houses are just that, but for me it is just not hygienic enough.

  • We made an expensive carpet mistake with our last purchase. Too much carpet. Where can I see your fireplace makeover?

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