A Guide to Choosing a New Carpet: Discover the Materials, Styles and Sizes


Did you know that the oldest surviving carpet is over 2,000 years old? People found it in a Scythian tomb in the 1940s in Siberia. They’ve always been a part of our household no matter the style and design. Choosing a new one requires more than your favourite colour and style. You need to consider material, location, maintenance and construction.

Usually, all of the rug materials work with any type of flooring – vinyl tiles and planks, laminate or engineered wood. Nowadays we have so many choices that it might get overwhelming, but reading some reviews or asking a couple of questions will solve any issue you might have.

The Type of Material

Although there are many different types of fibre used to make a carpet, nylon, polyester, polypropylene, acrylic, and wool are the most popular. Like a button is sewn onto a shirt, modern and durable carpets are manufactured by looping the fibre threads through the backing cloth. Then, these fibre loops can be either left whole or sliced at different angles and lengths. The carpet pile refers to the treatment given to the fibre loops.


barefoot on soft nylon carpet
Source: remnantkingcarpet.com

Nylon is incredibly soft, strong, and stain- and tear-resistant. By far, nylon is the most commonly used carpet fibre. Some research and estimates say that nylon makes up around two-thirds of all synthetic rugs in the world. It is easily dyed and maintains its colour well.

It has good resistance to wear, mould, mildew, and rotting. It is generally reasonably priced. It’s pricier than some other synthetics but cheaper than wool. These rugs are the most resilient and with proper maintenance, can last up to 15 years.


Another widespread rug fibre is polypropylene. It’s almost as smooth as nylon and is popular in both commercial and home settings. Polypropylene fibres, also called olefin, are comparable to real wool and are often replacing synthetic wool. This is a material that’s stain resistant.

On the other hand, it collects a lot of dirt by retaining its oils. Fortunately, the cleaning process is not complicated and in some cases, you can even use bleach to remove any stains. Polypropylene is less durable and cheaper than nylon.


Polyester is renowned for retaining its intense colours that don’t fade easily. The fibre is hypoallergenic because it is man-made. It’s actually created from recycled plastic bottles and is thus great for the environment. Polyester’s primary flaw is that it’s sensitive and will flatten out under our weight.

This makes it an unwise option for areas with high foot traffic. You might want to avoid using it as carpeting on the stairs though, as it will show every footfall. Keep an eye on oil stains, polyester is prone to staining and these stains are really hard to remove.


Acrylic is sometimes referred to as synthetic wool because it looks and feels like wool, but the price is much more affordable. Static electricity, wetness, mildew, fading, and stains are all things that acrylic can withstand well. However, it is a weak material that will smush in locations with a lot of foot traffic.

Manufacturers oftentimes combine it with wool to get a high-quality blend. But when it comes to cleaning, be careful with some chemicals because they might stain the carpet and make it brownish.


wool carpet
Source: bestwoolcarpets.com

Wool is definitely the softest rug fibre you can find. It feels natural, look luxurious and it’s durable and long-lasting. Be careful when you buy this material because low-quality wool is prone to staining, and high-quality one can be very expensive. It’s very common for manufacturers to make combinations of wool and some synthetic materials to get the best of both worlds.

If you or your family members have so allergies or are sensitive to dust or chemicals, wool carpets are a great choice. But, being a natural material has its downsides. For example, wool is prone to retaining mould and mildew which can damage the carpet a lot. So, wool shouldn’t be your first choice for places with high humidity and moisture.

Types of Carpet Styles

As you know, carpets are made by looping, cutting or cutting and looping the fibres. There are many carpet categories, but these 3 are the main ones that hold the others as well.

Cut Pile

cut pile carpet
Source: carpet-corner.co.uk

This type of carpet style gets its durability from several factors. The first one is the type of fibre that’s used. The second is the density of the tufts. And the third is the twist. If it has more twists, that makes it durable and means that it’ll retain its shape for longer. Some of the cut pile subcategories are:

  • Plush – luxurious, dense, low foot traffic rooms;
  • Textured plush – versatile, good for the whole house;
  • Saxony – refined surface, good for dining room and living room;
  • Frieze – curly texture, high foot traffic areas;
  • Shag – retro vibes, high fibre;
  • Cable – thick and thin fibres, has many appearances.

Loop Pile

This is a very interesting, highly durable carpet style. It can have one-level loops and multilevel loops. The tips of the yarn are hidden and this makes the carpet wear and tear-resistant. You can install it in high foot traffic areas such as hallways and living rooms and it’ll last for a long time.

  • One level loop pile – same height, uniformed look, for high traffic areas;
  • Multi-level loop pile – 2-3 loop heights, multiple patterns, durable.

Cut-Loop Pile

As you can see in its name, this carpet style is a combination of both cut pile and loop pile styles. It offers a variety of patterns and surface textures. You can find loops, squares, swirls or chevrons. Oftentimes manufacturers use multiple colours and shades in order to hide any soil and stains.

What Size in Which Room

rug size
Source: rugs.com

Sometimes plus 5-10cm in size, can make a big difference in the overall look of the carpet. Read the room and make sure the rug is proportional to the room size.

One trick that most people use to visualise the final look, is using painter’s tape. With the tape, they mark the space where the carpet would be and they can see how much space is left for chairs, other furniture and for people to go through.

Different rooms require different carpet sizes, placements and shapes. For the living room, you have 3 options: all furniture legs on the carpet, just the front legs, or just the coffee table on the rug. The dining room is where all furniture legs have to go on the rug, and you should have enough space for pulling the chairs.

In the bedroom, you can put all legs on the carpet or just 2/3 of the bed (the top side stays out). Another option is to avoid a big rug and have runners on each side.

Runners will also work in the kitchen area, in front of the sink, and in the hallways. An entryway is a special place that can have many shapes. That’s why you can combine the carpet shape in there. It can be round, square, rectangular or a runner.