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