Choosing carpet isn’t something we’ve done often. In our first house, the only rooms with the cushy stuff were the basement bedrooms. At this house, hardwood and tile are the only flooring types currently installed, but that will change soon. Before we can get to install, we had shopping and serious deliberations to go through. Ironically (or luckily?) carpet is the element Ben and I disagree on most.
At the beginning of our search, I said I preferred patterns created by texture, something like this. A shorter, dense pile that holds up better to foot traffic, with subtle interest from the pattern. All great selling points in my book.
Ben, however, prefers for his carpet to feel, well, like a wall to wall mattress. Thicker + cushier = better. I tease that he’s a princess about area rugs and carpet, and he doesn’t argue against that.
He also wanted nylon fibers, which greatly whittle down the available options. After hitting up several stores, we dragged any and all interesting sample boards home to evaluate.
I nearly had him ready to pull the trigger on the waffle-esque pattern, but then he talked to installers. Always researching, that guy. Turns out, installers don’t really like the pattern, because it takes considerably more time and effort to keep the lines straight. Essentially, the pattern is like tile and grout lines, but can easily be stretched out of alignment. Crooked walls are even more of an obstacle. Unlike tile, as carpet wears the fibers loosen and look saggy, needing restretching down the road. Often times, the wear is not even throughout the room, and certain areas can be stretched up to several inches while others go untouched. For these reasons, a patterned carpet was officially out of the running. Womp, womp, wooooomp.
Back on the hunt for a plush carpet we could agree on. Here were our basic considerations to get to our final choice:
1. Fiber type: In our search we found that the majority of carpets carried are polyester, polypropylene, or a polyester blend. Yes, there are some nylon, wool, cotton and other fibers, but polyester seems to greatly outnumber the other options. Generally speaking, nylon costs more, but is the strongest fiber, thus can handle heavier foot traffic. Nylon carpets hold their twist better, preventing the worn look of frayed ends. For this reason alone, Ben wanted a nylon carpet.
2. Pile length: From my wish list, I wanted a shorter, dense pile to minimize the look of traffic patterns. Just like grass, the longer it is, the more obvious the wear.
3. Face weight: The face weight of a carpet is how many ounces of one yard of actual fiber (not including the backing). To generalize, the higher the weight equals a more dense and better quality carpet. That is, assuming the pile length is the same. If it’s really easy to feel (or even see) the backing, the lower the face weight will be.
4. Coloring: With the carpets we considered, we had the choice between solid or flecked. I immediately eliminated the obviously speckled look, since it’s just not my thing. On the other hand, in some cases, Ben likes the interest it adds.
5. Price: Like all products, there’s a wide variety, covering all ends of the price spectrum. We didn’t set a budget for carpet, instead, we wanted the quality and durability to take priority.
After checking all of those boxes, we had our winner: a nylon, 70 ounce face weight, subtly speckled plush carpet that feels like walking on a cloud.
Of course, there was one last debate-colors. I loved the lighter slightly oatmeal gray, Sharkskin, to keep the rooms feeling bright. Ben, being the more practical of the two of us, liked the darker, more forgiving if spilled on Grey Flannel.
Both are good neutrals and will work, but I really pushed for the lighter, arguing these aren’t high traffic areas. Ben still insisted on the dark, and I gave up the fight. When making so many house design/decor decisions, we’re in 100% agreement. Sometimes, Ben just doesn’t have an opinion (typically when paint colors are involved). Since he so rarely insists on something, I couldn’t argue.
In both doorways, the carpet will butt up to the slate tile, so the darker will allow the color to flow a bit more seamlessly.
The basement has been measured, carpet is ordered, and we’re waiting for it to arrive and be installed. One last step to moving furniture back into these rooms and finishing the laundry and bathroom.