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Discover when to choose carpet or hardwood flooring for an interior design

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When To Choose Carpet vs. Hardwood Flooring

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Carpet vs. Hardwood Flooring

Whether for new construction or a home improvement project, flooring completely transforms any space. Carpet and hardwood are two of the most popular options, but figuring out when to choose carpet vs. hardwood flooring for your home can be a challenge. Both types offer substantial benefits, and most homes include both, depending on the space. Ultimately, the decision comes down to a balance of aesthetics, functionality, and budget.

Carpet vs. Hardwood Considerations


When choosing between carpet and hardwood, first consider your way of life and how you will use the space. Do you prefer rooms awash in stately elegance, or is your home a barely controlled chaos of active adults, children, and pets? Does everyone always sit on furniture, or do you enjoy marathon games of Monopoly on the floor? Is your household calm and quiet or noisy with boisterous voices echoing from room to room?

Also consider how you want people to feel in the space. Casual and relaxed? Sophisticated and serene? Energized and inspired? Think about your furnishings. What is your aesthetic preference? Modern? Transitional? Traditional? Rustic? Eclectic?

Once you’ve answered the fun questions, you can get serious and focus on the more technical aspects of carpet and hardwood to make sure whatever you choose suits the function of the room. Finally, budget considerations are important. Both material and installation costs must be taken into account.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to the choice between carpet vs. hardwood. This guide will walk you through how to choose the right flooring in more detail, helping clarify the options and ensuring your new floor fits both your style and your life.

Carpet in Interior Design


Any carpet will literally and figuratively soften a space. It’s perfect for bedrooms, dens, or any living areas where you want people to feel comfortable or cozy.

Installing carpet is a great way to introduce texture to your interior design, and since textured carpets are currently trending, there are more options available now than ever. Any carpet will provide texture, but look for carpet with fibers of varied heights and thicknesses or carved piles if you want to bump up the tactile and visual interest.

Carpet also offers an endless rainbow of color selection. You can find just the right shade to complement any design scheme. Go neutral or dark to quiet a space like a bedroom or library. Deeper colors can help ground a room with light walls and upholstery. Use brighter or bolder colors to infuse zest and energy into an entertaining space. Opt for pastels to lighten a nursery or sitting room with a softer touch. Check out our post Top bedroom carpet trends for a more detailed discussion on carpet trends.

Benefits of Carpet


Although hardwood continues to be desirable, carpet is making a comeback due to its many benefits. Homeowners particularly appreciate the comfort, sound reduction, and insulation that carpet provides better than any other flooring. It also tends to be less expensive to purchase and to get installed.

Carpet performance has improved significantly over the years as well. Innovative fibers like triexta in premium products make carpets incredibly easy to keep clean and fresh, with some brands even offering warranties against pet stains.

Premium carpet fibers can be durable, standing up well in high traffic areas like main living spaces. For durability, look for triexta or nylon.

Advanced cushions prolong the life of carpet and keep spills and accidents from soaking in, so you won’t have a constant reminder of Fido’s or Fluffy’s unfortunate training lapse hanging in the air for all to smell. And products like enzyme cleaners can even stop carpet odors before they have a chance to start.

Softness of Carpet

Homeowners overwhelmingly choose carpet for its comfort underfoot. No other flooring can come close to the cloud-like feeling of walking on carpet. Today’s yarns can add incredible softness, and a high-quality cushion will add even more padding. Carpet is returning to bedrooms, dens, and other living areas where people spend time relaxing. It’s also a more comfortable surface for children — and their parents — who often play on the floor.

Noise Reduction of Carpet

With all that softness comes sound reduction as well. If you have a lively (read “noisy”) household, installing carpet can significantly lower the decibel levels. Putting carpet in rooms can quiet heavy footfalls or the clicking of pet nails and can also minimize the noise from upper floors in multistory homes.

Thermal Properties of Carpet

Carpet feels warmer underfoot than any other flooring type, which is especially nice when your feet hit the floor on frigid winter mornings. Carpet can even save you money over time with its insulating properties. By lowering the amount of heating or cooling needed to keep a room comfortable, carpet and a high-quality cushion can help reduce utility bills.

Hardwood in Interior Design


An aspirational flooring category, hardwood is one of the easiest of the flooring options to incorporate into a room’s design. The natural grain provides organic character with either subtle or dramatic contrast for more or less visual texture. Colors range across the spectrum from white to black, but natural tones and browns remain the most common.

If you like to follow the latest trends, you will readily find hardwood styles designed to coordinate. But one of the best aspects of hardwood is its chameleon ability to look right at home in any design scheme — modern, transitional, traditional, or rustic — especially when chosen in medium tones and natural hues. This versatility allows you to redecorate to your heart’s content without the cost and mess of ripping out your floor.

Benefits of Hardwood Floors


Although carpet wins hands down when it comes to comfort, hardwood remains by far the most popular aesthetic for flooring in the country. Even when homeowners opt for vinyl, tile, or laminate, they overwhelmingly choose hardwood looks over any other.

With new technologies and a variety of price points, it’s more feasible than ever to enjoy hardwood in virtually any room of the house.

Durability of Hardwood Floors

With proper installation and care, hardwood floors have been known to last for generations. Some prefinished hardwood flooring comes with incredibly tough finishes to help resist scratches and scuffs from typical everyday use, including the wear and tear from pet claws.

Engineered hardwood has the added benefit of dimensional stability to resist humidity and temperature swings. Best of all, hardwood can stand up to years and even decades of use in high-traffic areas like main living spaces and hallways — a major benefit for active families.

Maintenance of Hardwood Floors

Premium products with technologies for stain and soil resistance, and even waterproofing, make hardwood floors easier to clean and maintain than ever. Yes, waterproof hardwood!

It may seem too good to be true, but premium waterproof engineered hardwood flooring has a specialized joint technology that keeps spills on the surface, so you don’t have to make a mad dash for cleaning supplies. And new perimeter sealing tape or waterproof quarter round protects along the edges of the room.

One of the best benefits of solid wood floors is that they can be sanded down multiple times to buff out scratches and scuffs, revealing a like-new floor. Some engineered flooring offers hardwood layers thick enough to be sanded once or twice, but not as many times as a solid hardwood floor.

Timeless Aesthetic of Hardwood Floors

While design preferences come and go, hardwood possesses a classic beauty that never goes out of style. Of course, the trendiest hardwood looks may eventually date a room, but most hardwood flooring offers timeless appeal. Think about it, hardwood floors have been the preferred flooring of homeowners for the past 40 or 50 years. Not exactly a fad.

Carpet and Hardwood Flooring Options

Once you make the choice between carpet vs. hardwood, next comes the fun part — shopping! If you need flooring for a new house or home improvement project, check out high-performance products like Mohawk’s triexta carpet or waterproof hardwood. And ask about innovative Performance Accessories to coordinate with waterproof flooring.

If you are shopping for new hardwood or carpet for your home, visit our store to find the latest options. Our experts will help you decide which flooring works best for you and your family.