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Carpet is the New Hardwood Floor

It used to be that a thick, premium carpet was considered the pinnacle of luxury when it came to flooring solutions — certainly when compared to linoleum or cheap tile.

Then, hardwood floors started to take over. Even in rooms that were traditionally carpeted, like bedrooms and living rooms, we started to see hardwood more and more often. Also fueling the shift away from carpet was vinyl flooring. Once seen as a cheap alternative, vinyl has modernized. Now, you can get thick, high-quality vinyl flooring that resembles wood, slate, tile, or brick, without any of the hassle (or broken dishes) that come with such harsh surfaces.

Recent trends in home decor indicate a move away from exclusively hard surfaces and back toward comfort, durability, and luxury.

The Advantages of Carpet

We’re not going to pretend that carpet belongs on every surface in your house — the kitchen, dining room, and bathrooms are likely to see a lot more liquid spills than any other room, and carpet doesn’t make as much sense.

For every other room — living rooms, family rooms, bedrooms, playrooms, finished basements, and so on — carpet is the superior choice:

Comfort

There’s no doubt that carpet is more comfortable to walk on. It’s softer on bare feet, warmer in the winter, and doesn’t emphasize every little piece of grit that you haven’t vacuumed up yet. If you have small children who are spending a lot of time on their hands and knees, carpet can prevent a lot of bumps and bruises. And for pets, whether they’re floppy young puppies or fragile older dogs, carpet provides an added layer of protection that hard floors simply can’t match.

Ease of Installation

One of the more difficult aspects of installing a hard floor like wood, vinyl, or tile is that the floor underneath them needs to be almost perfectly level and smooth. Small irregularities in the subfloor can amplify in the flooring surface itself, creating gaps or uneven flooring that is unsightly and difficult to fix.

Carpet, on the other hand, can be installed on almost any surface. Even if the flooring surface underneath the carpet is irregular, as is often the case with older homes and cement basement floors, a dense carpet pad and high-quality carpet can iron out those bumps as though nothing is there.

Cost

Even our most premium carpet brands and styles — wool, Berber, Stainmaster nylon, Sorona Smartstrand, and similar top-shelf carpets — can be had for under $3 per square foot. By contrast, vinyl plank flooring can easily run up to $4 per square foot, and high-quality wood flooring can cost more than $5 per square foot. That kind of cost difference adds up when applied to hundreds of square feet of flooring.

And that’s not even including installation! Installing hard flooring is a slow process that involves a lot of power tools and precise cutting. Time estimates vary, depending on closets, corners, and irregularly-shaped rooms, but most installers agree that carpet can be installed much more quickly.

New Trends Start at the Top

So how do we know that carpet is making a comeback? The top end of any market is often a good place to look when predicting trends for the rest of us, and the top end of the home decor market is seeing a shift back to soft flooring.

According to Time Magazine, “Wealthy homeowners have been buying handmade rugs in increasingly large sizes. They’re getting bolder in their color choices and patterns, especially on stairs.” Some area rugs are custom-cut — so big that they leave only a few inches around the edge of the room, to the point that they look almost like wall-to-wall carpet themselves.

People are also trending toward bolder colors in their carpeting than the usual neutral beige, sand, and tan colors. Jewel tones, warm oranges and reds, and cool grays are making a resurgence, uprooting the image of carpet as bland and boring.

Finally, carpet technology is progressing quickly. Home buyers have realizes that their biggest concerns about carpet have been addressed.

Sorona Smartstrand carpet is one of the newest styles on the scene, made from a new type of fiber called triexta. When Mohawk released this carpet, they tested it by installing it in the zoo exhibits of rhinos and elephants, letting these multi-ton animals grind dirt and muck into it for two weeks. When the carpet was cleaned with an ordinary hot-water extractor, it looked as good as new.

Allergies are another area where carpets have been unfairly maligned. As the thinking goes, carpets trap dust, mites, mold spores, and pet dander, exposing residents to higher levels of allergens and asthma triggers. As it turns out, the opposite might be true.

A 2005 study by the the DAAB (die Deutscher Allergie- und Asthmabund e.V. — the German Allergy and Asthma Society) indicated that allergy and asthma symptoms were actually reduced in carpeted rooms. Carpet fibers may actually trap offending particles, keeping them from being stirred into the air where they can cause problems. The particles remain in the carpet until they’re vacuumed up, at which point they become trapped in today’s high-tech vacuum filters.

New Carpet for a New Generation

Part of the reason for the decline of carpet in home decor has been that young home buyers in the last 20 years have negative memories of the low-quality carpet that used to adorn their parents’ homes. They grew up with orange shag, itchy polyester, and ugly colors that stained easily and wore thin over time, leaving unsightly bald spots.

Boday’s carpet has changed a lot. Carpet is available in more styles than ever, from the dense loops of Berber to the elegant patterns of cut-and-loop blends. Colors are deeper and won’t fade with age or sun exposure. Carpet is more stain-resistant and wear-resistant than ever, making it a stylish accent to your home for years.

Maybe you’ve been writing off carpet for your home because of unpleasant experiences you’ve had in the past. If that’s the case, now is the perfect time to reconsider.