Wall-to-wall carpet is much maligned in the home design space. I mean, why the heck would you ever choose a sea of shaggy beige yuck when there are so many gorgeous choices for wood and wood look-a-likes at every price point?? But once I dug into designing our home theater I changed my tune.
Let me start by saying that my whole adult life, I’ve had a hate/hate relationship with wall-to-wall carpet. I thought of it as dingy, bland, and unhygienic. Kids and dogs will make you think that about any absorbent surface (can I get an amen?). Suffice to say that doing (engineered) hardwood for our finished basement was a no brainer. Until we started thinking through those pesky things like function and comfort…
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we’re switching gears and installing wall-to-wall carpet in the Fam Cave.
When Is Wall-to-Wall Carpet The Right Thing To Do?
Put a pin in looks for a moment. I promise there are actually a lot of beautiful options these days but we’ll get to that. There are a bunch of things to consider when deciding if carpet is actually, shockingly, the right choice for your room. From considerations of comfort to the optimizing of acoustics, there are a surprising number of reasons to go with wall-to-wall from time to time. Consider the following:
WALL-TO-WALL CARPET AND ACOUSTICS: A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN
This is the reason we first considered carpeting. We are building a home theater so we can embrace our hermit tendencies. And we want it to be GOOD. After speaking with a company that specializes in audio, they very firmly recommended we use wall-to-wall carpet. Even large area rugs can’t come close to matching the sound dampening qualities of a full room of carpeting. If acoustics matter in your room, at least consider carpet.
WALL-TO-WALL CARPETING AND ALLERGENS: NOT SO MUCH
OK, this is a tricky one. Carpets DO tend to harbor a lot of dust, pollen, dander, and other yucky allergy triggers. Sadly, a few members of our household (including me) suffer from allergies. That said, they aren’t terribly severe. With Matt’s cleaning superpowers, a tight weave carpet with waterproof backing — yes, they make that now!! — and potentially an air purifier, I think we’ll be ok. However, anyone with severe allergies should probably skip the wall-to-wall in favor of a hard, non-porous flooring surface like wood, laminate, or tile.
WALL-TO-WALL CARPET AND COMFORT: WELL… DUH.
Obviously, carpet is cozier than wood hands-down. It’s soft, springy, and warm. If there will be kids and babies using the room carpeting is so much more inviting to play on, with the added bonus that any bumps to the head will be well cushioned. Wall-to-wall carpet can also increase comfort on a thermal level. It insulates the floor and prevents heating and cooling transfer much more effectively than a hard surface. Which of course, will save you a little money on energy costs as well! Bonus points if the room you are covering is below ground level and/or on a concrete slab. Carpet will take the chill off a basement floor and add a bit more spring when you walk so it doesn’t feel so basement-y.
WALL-TO-WALL CARPET AND STAIN RESISTANCE: SO-SO
This one is probably my biggest concern. We have sloppy dogs and sticky kids and clumsy parents. Spills. will. happen. Luckily, technology has come a long way both in terms of stain-resistant carpeting and cleaning apparatus. I already mentioned the new waterproof backing available which should help with mold and mildew (gross), but I guess now the actual fibers of the rugs are better treated for stain prevention and easier clean-up. I’m skeptical but hoping to be proven wrong Another way to guard against potential stains is the old-fashioned route: through color and pattern choice. Midtones and darks tend to camouflage stains pretty well and when you throw in a bit of pattern or color variation you’re golden. Flat fields of color will show everything so it would be best to stay away from those if staining is a big concern for you.
WALL-TO-WALL CARPET AND LOOKS: SURPRISINGLY GOOD!
I am very pleasantly surprised by the number of good looking options out there. Gone are the days of 50 shades of shag and not much else. There are textures and patterns, bold and subtle, traditional and modern. I just started a board on Pinterest but I’ve really only scratched the surface. I’m actually pretty excited to mix things up with wall-to-wall!
SO IS WALL-TO-WALL CARPET RIGHT FOR YOU?
Only you can really say for sure, but I hope that sharing this list of things to consider has been helpful! Here is the Cliff’s Notes version:
- Great to improve the acoustics of a space
- Not so great for allergy sufferers
- Epically comfortable and might save you some $$ on energy bills
- More stain-resistant than ever but proceed with caution
- New styles are bringing sexy back
Would you choose carpet if you didn’t have to? I’m curious to hear your thoughts!