Choosing Your Carpet - Hints and Tips on Carpet Selection, Purchase and Savings

Buying Carpets Guide to Carpet Selection

If Money Was No Object

Buying Carpets Guide to Carpet Selection

If you didn’t have to worry about how much things cost no doubt you would compare products based on the quality and style. Then you'd have the freedom to make better choices and in the long term you would save money.

Next time you need to buy a carpet, start by looking for the style that appeals to you, in a quality that is likely to give you satisfaction and value over the long term. Then ask the price.

To put things into perspective, take the total price of the carpet and then divide it by the number years you expect to live with it. The typical life expectancy of a carpet is seven years but in practice we expect to get much more than that. At a monthly rate, the cost is small, so you’ll feel less concerned about price and more focussed on value.

Carpet Style

Buying a carpet is not just about covering bare floors.

The carpet style you choose sets the mood in your home and expresses your individual taste and creative flair.

Not so long ago, before tufted carpets became available, carpet was an expensive luxury and considered not just as a decoration, but more as an investment, expected to last a lifetime.

Now modern trends and fashion determine how long we keep a carpet. We tend to tire of a style or colour, sometimes even seeing it as a short-term purchase between house moves.

Furnishing with carpet is about creating an environment in which to relax, beautifying your home while at the same time expressing your own personal decorating style.

Plain rather than patterned is so easy to furnish with and helps to make small areas appear larger. Any time you want to introduce some colour or interest, the easy answer is to add a patterned rug or artwork as a feature.

Carpet has now become a fashion purchase with a vast array of colours, textures and styles aimed at and satisfying decorating trends.

Carpet Quality

Colour and style are essential factors when choosing your carpet.

However, the right colour at the lowest price does not necessarily represent the best value. Your prime consideration should be the way the carpet actually performs when it is on your floor – after all, you will be walking on it!

Always keep in mind the treatment it’s going to get: is it going to be fit for for a young family of toddlers or a house full of teenagers and their friends trampling through on a regular basis!

It has to be fit for purpose.

It's not easy to predict how well a carpet will perform in your home. Selecting the best quality, densely packed fibre will ensure optimum performance. Even if the shop sales assistant is not very knowledgeable, you will be able to tell a low quality carpet by the feel: you'll know if it’s thin and light in weight that it's not likley to be up to much.

Bear in mind that most carpet looks good when it's first installed, so the longer it stays looking good, the greater its real value to you.

Always buy the best quality carpet you can afford for the high-traffic, heavy-wear areas of your home like the Hall, Stairs and Living/Dining rooms.

Buying a cheaper quality carpet will cost you more over the long term, and might mean you have to suffer the inconvenience and expense of another installation.

You definitely get what you pay for with carpets and floor coverings.

Carpet Colour

The colours you select will set the mood, feeling and personality of your home.

Recent trends have seen the earth tones rise in popularity, particularly the light beiges and creams. Bear in mind that the lighter colours will show soiling and will need cleaning sooner and more often.

When putting a colour scheme together it is recommended that you start with the floor colour first, then connect all the other design elements to it.

It is important to consider the walls, curtains and other furnishings along with any mood and effect you wish to create in the room. When it comes to carpet selection, colour can be the key to transforming space.

Colour affects the way we perceive space. It can, for example, create a mood, lower or raise the ceiling, square up a long and narrow space and make the most of interior architecture.

To make a large room with a northern or eastern exposure feel cosy, choose a dark colour carpet - particularly one from the warm red, orange and yellow end of the spectrum. Deep, rich hues absorb light, which means they give the illusion of smaller, more intimate space.

Conversely, choose a carpet that is light in tone to expand a small space. Pale pastels and neutral colours reflect light, causing an area to appear larger.

As well, light colours - particularly in the green, blue and violet end of the spectrum - help to cool sunny southern and western exposures.

Green is one of nature's most restful and restorative colours. Blue is also a wonderfully soothing colour. Vibrant, lively colours are good for a family room or kitchen.

In your final decision, remember a floor is a large area - and a large expanse of carpet will intensify the colour, making it seem darker than the small sample from the showroom.

Colour is a reflection of your tastes and personality so make sure that you choose something to suit you and sets the right tone for your rooms.

Always ask the shop to take samples home to see how your colour selection will look. Colours will change in different lighting conditions, particularly from daylight to artificial light at night time.

Making a Purchase

Before buying a new carpet, consider the following:

Get some recommendations.

Ask a friend, family member, or neighbour with a carpet you admire, where they bought it and who laid it. This is one of the best ways to find a reputable supplier who provides a good service with value for money. It's possible you might be given a discount by the shop for being referred, so always mention how you found out about them.

How much carpet do you need?

Always measure up each area to get an idea of how many square yards or metres you need. If you’re thinking of carpeting a large area, or even the whole house, with the same carpet you should be able to negotiate a better deal. If you only need to cover a room or two – try to find a remnant/roll end, it should work out much cheaper.

How hardwearing does it need to be?

Think about the amount of traffic and hard use the area is going to get. Select a carpet that can withstand high traffic for hall/stairs/landing, Living and Dining Rooms. Bedrooms and light use areas can be covered with a cheaper, lesser quality.

What is it made of?

Wool is soft, warm and resilient but usually the most expensive fibre.

Nylon (Polyamide) is usually cheaper, hardwearing and often patterned but low weights can show flattening of the pile.

Polypropylene is much cheaper than wool or nylon, hardwearing and has the added benefit of being stain resistant and bleach proof, so it’s a great family carpet.

Will it be family friendly?

If you have elderly relatives, children and pets, then you will need a more forgiving carpet. Selecting a wool carpet may not be so practical; accidents, spills and stains may be more difficult to remove; and how will feel when all your kiddies friends are trampling all over it? Maybe a polypropylene pile carpet would be more forgiving.

How long will it be down for?

Are you thinking of moving house in a year or two, having a baby, getting a pet? Why spend large sums on a carpet that will be suitable for a short-term situation. Once again, select a medium weight, stain resist pile for now, then treat yourself to a better quality carpet when things are more settled.

Does it have any Guarantees?

Check with your supplier to see if your carpet carries a guarantee that is longer than the statutory 12 or 24 months on you purchase.

Some manufacturers give a 7 year (or more) guarantee on the wear characteristics and stain resistance. Also, check the label on the back of the swatch sample – usually you will find the details there. Take a photocopy of the label or ask the shopkeeper for a warranty form/brochure. Failing that, write to the manufacturer, ask for their guarantee statement and keep it with your shop receipt.

Who guarantees the Carpet Fitting?

Don’t forget the carpet fitting guarantee!

Is the carpet fitter employed by the shop or is he a self-employed sub-contractor?

Establish who is responsible should something go wrong with the carpet: shrinking, stretching, pulling up off the grippers or seams opening up etc.


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