Carpets benefit your home in many ways. The numerous patterns, colors, and pile heights can set the tone of your rooms and express your personal aesthetics. Carpets also serve a practical purpose, as they can cushion falls and add a layer of insulation to your rooms. What’s more, carpets dampen noise and effectively soundproof your rooms.

On the other hand, choosing the right carpet can be a daunting process because of the multitude of brands that offer countless styles, piles, and patterns that vary in quality and prices. While you could consult a professional interior designer to help you select the right carpet, you could also do it yourself by following these steps:

Choose the Right Color

The color of the carpet can set the tone of your room, and if you pick a carpet that’s too bright or colorful, it may overwhelm you. Moreover, if you choose one that doesn’t match your furniture, space may end up feeling jarring. As it can be difficult to visualize the final look of a carpet in a large room, it’s best to bring a swatch from your supplier to your home. Test it in the various rooms in both natural and artificial light to see how your carpet will look in your home.

Neutral colors are the most popular choice for carpets in bedrooms as they’re calming and don’t overstimulate the senses. Neutral tones—such as beige, creams, and charcoal—are also considered “safe” as they go well with any color scheme. Take note that neutral carpets don’t have to be bland, as you can liven it up with textures and patterns.

Bright and bold colors, in contrast, can inject drama and vitality into your rooms. Bold hues like green, blue, and purple are stimulating and may be suitable for high traffic areas and common areas such as living rooms.

Richer and warmer colors can make smaller, more intimate rooms appear extra cozy. As these colors can be dominating, it’s best to choose light-colored accents in furniture, paint color, and artwork to add balance to the room.

If you’re looking for a more practical color scheme, you may want to opt for darker, multi-colored, and patterned carpets as these are great at camouflaging stains and soiling.

Choose the Right Style

You should choose a carpet style based on the function and occupants of a room. Carpets come in various styles, including Saxony, Berber, plush, and textured.

Plush and Saxony carpeting are soft and thick and are woven from a tightly twisted pile. Textured carpeting, meanwhile, is fashioned from carpeting cut to different heights, which causes them to reflect light. Berber carpeting is crafted from continuous fiber loops, resulting in a flat and dense texture.

Plush and Saxony carpeting would be great in rooms where rest and relaxation are vital, such as living rooms and bedrooms. They also provide a soft and inviting flooring for home offices. Despite the comfort they provide, plush carpeting is more difficult to maintain, as they readily show footprints and vacuum marks. Plush carpeting is also prone to developing “pooling,” which are areas that appear shaded because the normal direction of the carpet fibers has been reversed.

Berber carpeting is very sturdy and flat, which makes them ideal for foyers and other high traffic areas in your home. Aside from being durable, Berber carpeting doesn’t readily show tracks, soils, or stains, making them ideal for households with pets and young children. Textured carpeting is very similar to Berber carpeting and is also suitable for high traffic areas.

Choose the Right Fiber

Carpets are either made out of natural or synthetic fibers. Wool is the most used natural fiber, as it’s highly durable and can last for decades. As wool can be very expensive, many synthetic fibers—including nylon, polypropylene, and polyester—are commonly used to make beautiful and affordable carpets.

Natural and synthetic fibers have general characteristics that distinguish them from each other. Natural fibers are generally eco-friendly as they’re made from sustainable materials, while many synthetic fibers release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are gases packed with chemicals that could have adverse health effects.

Synthetic fibers are generally more stain resistant than natural fibers. While wool has a great protective barrier due to microscopic scales that cover the fiber, once a substance penetrates this barrier, the stain is impossible to fully remove.

Synthetic fibers are also easier to maintain and can be cleaned with spot treatment products found in the grocery store or deep cleaned with hot water extraction. In contrast, natural fibers require specialty cleaning products and trained professionals to get the job done.

If you’re on a budget and want something that’s easy to maintain, carpeting with synthetic fibers is your main option. However, if price and maintenance is not an issue, then natural fibers can be considered.

Choose the Right Padding

Padding is made out of foam or rubber materials and is placed under the different types of carpet. They provide your carpeting with support, strength, and extra cushioning. While you can’t see the padding, you’re more likely to see extra wear and tear if you skimp on padding or pick the wrong material.

Carpet padding also conceals subfloor imperfections and go a long way in improving the appearance of the finished floor. If you’re interested in keeping your energy bills and noisy neighbors in check, you’d be glad to learn that padding adds an additional layer of insulation and soundproofing to your carpeting.

The right padding will support your carpet through years of use as it prevents carpet backing and fibers from coming apart over time. Consider padding to be a sound investment and take extra care in selecting the right one for your carpeting.

Take Note of Maintenance Requirements

You’ll need to consider the maintenance requirements when selecting a carpet. Homeowners with pets and young children may want to avoid hard-to-clean wool, shag, or plush carpets, and should instead invest in easy-to-clean and soil resistant carpeting.

When shopping, always ask a salesperson about the maintenance requirements of the carpet. Find out how often the carpet needs to be cleaned and if you’ll need special equipment or special cleaning products. Skip carpets that require a major investment in time and money if they’re impractical for you.

Choose a Reputable Retailer

When shopping for carpets, don’t automatically assume that the major national chains or carpet stores will be able to provide the best services, expertise, and prices. Major national chains and carpet showrooms often spend big on their advertising campaigns, but they don’t always deliver on what’s important.

Visit various dealers, including some of the smaller suppliers, department and furniture stores, and e-commerce sites. Appraise their stock, services, and sales personnel. Talk to the salespeople and compare the prices at different stores. A great retailer will go out of their way to provide a generous selection of carpets, competitive prices, and awesome onsite and offsite services. Sales personnel should knowledgeably answer all of your questions and let you take samples home. Just as importantly, sales personnel should be able to help you select the carpeting that suits your needs, specifications, and budget.

Make Your Budget Stretch

As with any major home renovation project, you’ll need to establish a budget and stick to it. When visiting different retailers, always request separate pricing for materials and installation to help you more accurately compare the overall cost among the different retailers.

When calculating your budget, consider lifetime replacement and maintenance costs to keep expenses even lower. If you have young children or pets, consider installing carpet tile instead of rolled carpeting. This way, you won’t have to replace the carpeting in entire rooms every few years due to wear and soiling. Instead, you can replace single tiles when needed to keep the carpeting looking clean and presentable.

Consider the Warranty Coverage

Carpeting often comes with a bewildering array of warranties, including five- and 10-year warranties, guarantees against stains or overall wear and tear, and matting and crushing warranties. Generally, the higher the quality of the carpeting, the more warranties will be on offer.

While carpeting may come with a generous array of warranties, you should never purchase a carpet solely because the warranties on offer seem really great. This is because the majority of warranties actually offer little real coverage.

For instance, the most common warranty is the wear warranty. Manufacturers who offer this type of warranty typically define wear as a bald spot, while most homeowners consider

wear to be a carpet that has lost its pristine appearance.

In a similar vein, a crushing warranty could state that if a pile height can be restored to some degree, then there’s no issue. Many carpets’ pile can be restored via hot water extraction and a pile rake, though this can be crushed again once you walk on it. In short, take warranties with a grain of salt and consider other more pressing factors when choosing carpets for your home.