How to choose a carpet and which colours are popular

We have probably spent more time walking on them than ever before during the pandemic and so you may now be questioning the state of your carpets.

Even if they’re not worn out and have been well cared for, they may be out of date and need replacing with a modern alternative.

But where do you begin when it comes to choosing a carpet and would you know the difference between various styles and textures?

Below our expert recommends some alternative carpet colours to the most popular grey – including emerald green (pictured)

We speak to an flooring expert who explains the difference between a loop, twist and saxony pile, and which colours to choose if you want something different from the greys that have been the popular during the past decade.

Jessica Fox, at Flooring Superstore, said: ‘When choosing the right carpet for your home, lifestyle and trends, there are several factors to consider, including the right style and feel, the room in which the carpet will be placed, the practical demands, colour and underlay option. 

‘With many things to contemplate, it may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be.’

1. Neat and low maintenance or textured and lux?

Carpets come in three styles. These are loop, twist and saxony pile – and the one that’s right for you will depend partly on what overall look and feel you want to achieve.

Mrs Fox explained: ‘A loop pile carpet is when the material is threaded from underneath the carpet and goes up and under again, giving it a loop effect and a more tight, flat look.

‘Its small pile height is extremely robust and perfect for high traffic areas. Loop pile carpets create a neat, uniform look and generally require very little maintenance.’

Meanwhile, a twist pile carpet gives a more textured look. It’s made up of twisted fibres, which are threaded through the backing and remain in place, then another one is started. The pile height on these carpets can vary.

‘Choose a shorter pile height for a neater look or a thicker height for a more luxurious finish,’ explained Mrs Fox.

She went on to say that for an ultra soft texture and two-tone look, a saxony pile is the best option. This is because it is manufactured in a similar way to a twist pile, with the fibres twisted to stand up straight but the end of the pile is cut at an angle to create a soft-to-touch finish.

Also, with a saxony pile carpet, the colouring can differ slightly dependent on the direction of the pile.

2. Room and lifestyle  

Rachel Clark, Alexander James Interiors, agrees that loop pile carpets are perfect – due to their durability and robust qualities – for high traffic areas such as the hallway and stairs of a busy family home. 

‘Twist and Saxony pile carpets are an ideal choice for homeowners looking for something soft and comfortable underfoot, especially in bedrooms and living rooms,’ she said.

However, if you have little furry friends running around, loop pile carpets aren’t really suitable as pets’ claws can catch and pull the thread – although keeping grooming appointments as regular as possible can help avoid any mishaps.

Ms Clark added: ‘There is no better feeling that a soft, plush Saxony carpet between your toes as you enter your bedroom after a long day. Not only do softer, thicker pile carpets in bedrooms add a luxurious look and feel, they are also perfect for soundproofing between floors of the house.’

‘Carpets on staircases not only give a cosier look to a home, but many also find them safer due to their non-slip nature.’

3. Underlay and comfort

Along with choosing the right carpet, you will need to make sure you consider which underlay to go with it.

Mrs Fox explained that underlay can extend the lifespan of a carpet by up to 50 per cent, reducing noise levels, improving air quality, minimising heat loss, reducing utility bills and providing greater comfort.

‘Underlay is made up of millions of tiny fibres, which are natural insulators, trapping cold air travelling up through the floor to ensure it doesn’t make its way into the home,’ she said.

‘As a result, the home becomes naturally warmer meaning there’s less reliance on energy-intensive heat sources.’

Underlay is available in different thickness, for example 8mm, 10mm and 12mm. The thicker the underlay, the higher the insulation level, comfort and noise reduction.

Along with the right carpet, you will need to make sure you consider which underlay to go with

Along with the right carpet, you will need to make sure you consider which underlay to go with

4. Colour and trends

Mrs Fox explained that nearly a quarter – 24.6 per cent – of flooring sold at Flooring Superstore is grey, reflective of the trends that have occurred in the last 10 years.

She added: ‘If you’re looking for something different or an insight into future trends, other popular carpet colour choices include ivy and white, neutrals – such as beige or sand -, rich chocolate hues, bold blues and jewel tones, especially emerald green.’

5. Sustainability

‘There are new innovations in the market to make sustainable carpets more readily available.

For example, Serene is a new range of eco-friendly carpets made from recycled products rescued from the ocean.

The two lines – Neptune and Poseidon – are manufactured using ECONYL®, a unique yarn made from recycled nylon fishing nets.

As well as abandoned fishing nets, Serene carpets incorporate other waste materials recovered from the ocean.

Its eco-textile backing – Eco FusionBac – is manufactured out of recycled PET plastic bottles.

Mrs Fox said: ‘The aim of the range is to give waste products a new purpose after being removed from the ocean, while making the water cleaner and safer.’

6. Try before you buy

And finally… Mrs Fox recommends visiting a showroom – if possible – to see and feel the carpet for yourself, especially if the store has technology available to help see what the carpet looks like in different settings.

This is because carpet is a very tactile product, and the different thicknesses and colours can look different in different lights. 

‘Alternatively, you can order samples so you can check the quality, texture and appearance in the light of your own home,’ she concluded. 

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