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Types of Carpet Texture – What’s the Difference?

Shopping for carpet can be overwhelming. There are seemingly endless options for color, fiber, stain resistance, padding, and texture. Luckily for you, we’re here to shed a little light on one aspect of the carpet-buying process: textures.

Plush Pile

Plush pile carpets are smooth and only available in solid colors, which gives them a more formal, velvety finish. That makes them a great choice for a formal setting, or any room where you want the floor to feel smooth and cushy. Plush pile carpets have a pencil-point finish — a single strand, rather than a loop — and will show footprints and vacuum marks.

Textured Plush

Textured plush is similar to plush pile but has a little more depth to its surface. The yarns are laid at different angles and with varying degrees of twist, so they don’t lie as smoothly. As a result, textured plush carpets can be thicker than plush pile carpets, with more surface texture and better resistance to footprints and tracks.

These carpets aren’t as smooth and velvety in appearance as plush pile, but they’re still soft and durable enough for today’s active lifestyle, making textured plus carpets one of the most popular styles on the market.


Frieze (pronounced “frizz-ay”) carpets are another great casual choice. They’re perfect for any room where a consistent appearance and texture is important, since they’re extremely durable and won’t wear unevenly in higher-traffic areas.

Frieze carpets have tightly twisted yarns, giving a sort of “perm” look up close. This allows them to show a good mix of colors, hide dirt and debris between vacuumings, and look great with minimal care.

Shag Carpet

No, it’s not the 70s — shag carpet is back! In recent years, shag carpet has undergone a bit of a renaissance, with new textures, colors, and styles. Use it in specific areas to create a conversation-starting highlight piece.

Shag yarn heights can range all the way up to three inches, but the longer the yarn, the harder it will be for some vacuums to clean it. The deeper and longer the yarn on your shag carpet, the “shaggier” it will look.

Level Loop Pile

Loop piles consist of closed loops instead of individual strands. They’re not as soft or cushy, but they’re much more durable. Level loop carpeting is ideal for commercial settings, hallways, playrooms, or anywhere that will be seeing a lot of traffic from shoes or wheels.

Level loop carpeting has a uniform loop height, which makes it smoother, flatter, and easier to vacuum. It’s also available in a variety of solid colors, multi-tones, and tweeds.

Berber Loop Pile

Similar to level loop in that it has a low profile and won’t show footprints or vacuum tracks, berber loop is perfect for high-traffic areas and busy rooms. They’re firm to walk on and are perfect for residents who have difficulty walking, as they’re much less likely to trip you up.

Berber loop carpets are made from individual loops of varying lengths tufted together in random or sequenced designs, which gives them deeper texture and more interesting patterns than level loop carpets. They’re not ideal for cats, however, as a cat’s claws can become stuck in the loops of the carpet.

Textured Patterns

If you want to add a taste of sophistication and style to your floors, consider a textured pattern. Available in a wide variety of unique patterns, from basic geometric or pin-dot shapes to more complex floral designs, these styles generally have a shorter pile height and combine cut piles with level loops for a subtle but striking effect.

Natural Fibers

If sustainability and environmental friendliness are a top priority for your home’s carpeting, consider a natural fiber carpet, made of seagrass, jute, or sisal (pronounced “sigh-suhl”). These fibers are non-toxic, biodegradable, sustainable, and less allergenic than most other materials.

Natural fibers come in a variety of textures and patterns, but they’re not as soft as synthetic fibers. Sisal, in particular, is a very durable fiber but can be a bit rough on bare feet. Natural fibers also tend to be more absorbent, meaning they’ll stain more easily than synthetic fibers. If you have kids or pets in the house — or are prone to spills yourself — you should look into other options.