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Should I Install Carpet or Hardwood in my Living Room?

Jul. 12, 2022

Choosing between hardwood and carpet in your living room is a decision that you can't make with a simple coin toss. Heads or tails yields the same result: Both options are easy to maintain, relatively easy to care for and comfortable underfoot. To select the optimal flooring for your living room, consider the needs of your entire household and the flooring that will best accommodate those needs. Additionally, you have to weigh the natural appeal of wood flooring with the lushness of carpet.



When you invest in hardwood flooring, you are also investing in the resale value of your home. Although hardwood will cost more to purchase and install, you will not need to replace the floor for at least 10-20 years and it will be well-received if you look to resell. Carpet will not retain the same value over time and needs to be properly maintained to remain attractive over time.  However, carpet will allow you to have attractive living room flooring that’s much cheaper to purchase and install. For an active home, it might be wise to invest in a low-profile nylon carpet that can resists stain and foot traffic while still offering high style. If you have less activity in your home, think about indulging in a plush carpet pile for soft luxury.



Preexisting hardwood flooring that is in good to decent condition is the easiest choice. Carefully examine the floor for any signs of damage, especially that caused by water or pests, before sanding and refinishing. However, homeowners with a solid DIY background are equipped to handle installation of either carpet or hardwood, whether it's solid wood or engineered. Homeowners with few home repair skills should probably leave installation of any material to the professionals. Both flooring options require help from professional cleaners should you find substantial damage.

Should I Install Carpet or Hardwood in my Living Room?cid=12

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Durability and cleanliness

When selecting carpet for your living room, it’s extremely important to pick a fiber that can handle the lifestyle in your home. Both nylon and polyester will provide stain resistance and resiliency if you have kids, pets, and frequent accidents. Nylon will offer more style options, but will also be a bit pricier. Polyester will be more affordable but will wear faster and not offer as many design options. All carpets will require professional cleaning once a year to ensure luster and vibrancy.

Hardwood options will offer tremendous durability and gorgeous style across the board. Plus, they are easy to maintain over time with regular sweeping, dust-mopping, and vacuuming. Of course, it’s always wise to review a manufacturer’s guidelines first to get an idea of what proper care will entail. One of the best parts about hardwood floors: they can be refinished multiple times over their lifespan in the home. If you are ready to sell, chances are a refinished floor is all that will be needed at most to impress potential buyers.


Cottage Style and Hardwood

Both cottage- and shabby-chic styles are forgiving of life's spills and accidents, making them good choices for households with small children and pets. However, carpet isn't as forgiving, which makes hardwood flooring the easier choice to make. Hardwood is easier to clean than carpet. Almost any accident on a hardwood floor, from a spilled drink to a pet accident, can be cleaned easily with a rag and a spray from a household cleaner. Should you have an accident on carpet, the spots must be treated immediately and probably require different cleaning agents. Clean a spilled mixed drink with a combination of liquid dish soap and lukewarm water, but cleaning pet urine may require that combination plus the addition of vinegar or ammonia.


Eclectic Style and Carpet

Eclectic and casual style are decidedly personal and often relaxed. If your eclectic living room is outfitted with floor poufs or other low seating, choose carpet. Carpet's plush cushion provides a soft place to sit while playing board games or watching television in the living room. However, eclectic- or casual-styled homes with radiant heating should opt for hardwood. Hardwood flooring allows the radiant heat to rise into the room, whereas, carpet keeps the warmth trapped underneath.


Rustic Style and Hardwood

Embrace wood floors and any future imperfections as part of your rustic or country style. Dings from shoes or pets' nails are preventable. Ask that no one wear shoes in the house; high heels can ding hardwood floors, and any shoe is liable to track dirt. Keep pets' nails trimmed to avoid dinging hardwoods. Choose hardwood if members of your rustic decorated house suffer from allergies or if you have pets. Carpet fibers trap allergen particles that prevent them from reentering the air, but mold can grow on wet, soiled carpet. Wood floors don't conceal microorganisms, pet hair and dust, which makes it easier to eradicate them.


Traditional Style and Carpet 

Choose carpet if your style is traditional, and you appreciate less daily maintenance. Carpet, especially darker carpet, shows dirt less than a hardwood floor. Vacuum the carpets once or twice a week to keep them looking fresh, with the occasional steam cleaning, instead of sweeping hardwood floors daily. A standard vacuum is the only equipment needed to maintain a carpet's luster in most households, unless you have lots of pets. For a hardwood floor, you'll need a broom, specialty vacuum cleaner and a mop.


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