The Best Carpet for the Family Room

The family room, much like the kitchen, is typically a central spot in the home. It is usually the “meeting place” where household members gather to talk, play, or just relax. The nature of the family room (or great room in some homes) is such that often, a portion of the time is spent on the floor – parents sit on the floor to play with their children, teens lie on the floor to watch a movie, babies learn to crawl on the floor in the room where the family spends much of its time.

Carpet feels...MORE cozy, much more so than hard surface floors do. Many associate the family room with a feeling of warmth and coziness, so it makes sense that they would opt for carpet in that room.

For all of these reasons and more, many prefer carpeting over any other type of flooring in the family room. So, what type of carpet is best for this busy area in the home? Here are some key tips to help you choose:

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    The family room carpet should be durable, but soft enough to lay on. Photo © Westend61 / Getty Images

    First and foremost, due to the high traffic nature of the family room, the carpet should be durable. Aside from stairs and hallways, family rooms are typically the highest-traffic areas in many homes. To ensure that your carpet will stand up to the wear and tear of everyday family life, look for a high-quality carpet that features a good texture retention warranty (“good” in this case being defined as 10 years or longer).

    See tips for determining carpet quality.

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    Easy to Clean

    Because the family room is one of the most-used rooms in the home, spills tend to happen with greater frequency there than perhaps in other areas. Obviously, you want a carpet that will be easy to clean, because you want to be able to enjoy your family in your family room, and not feel anxious every time a drink is spilled.

    Many carpets feature lifetime stain warranties, such as Mohawk SmartStrand or Shaw ClearTouch, and others have a “no exclusion” policy, meaning that substances commonly...MORE excluded from stain warranties (for example, pet accidents or bleach) are covered – such as Kraus Perpetual.

    When spills do happen, learn how to clean the carpet.

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    Family rooms generally call for an informal style, or at least less formal than living or dining rooms may require. To achieve a casual look, choose a carpet that has a lot of texture. Consider a berber, or a longer frieze style. Both of these popular carpet styles feature lots of texture, and some feature flecks of color, which not only enhances the informality of the style but can also help to disguise soiling or accidental mishaps (in other words, “hide the dirt”!). If you prefer something a...MORE bit more classic, consider a textured Saxony – a traditional cut-pile with a “twist” to help mask footprints and vacuum marks.

    Learn more about carpet styles

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    It goes without saying that color is a very subjective decision. The carpet color you choose will depend obviously on your personal taste and décor style, but also on considerations such as the intended use of the room, the natural light exposure in the room, and possibly even the color of your pets (I have heard of more than one customer shopping for carpet that will not show pet hair!).

    See these tips for choosing a carpet color

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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    If your family typically ends up spending a lot of time on the floor, whether for playing board games or having sleep-overs, you may wish to look for a soft carpet. Most manufacturers today have a line of “soft” carpets, which feature much finer fibers than traditional carpet fibers. Ask your retailer about soft carpets.

    Learn more about carpet fibers.

    Softness can also be achieved with the carpet cushion. Many believe that, in order to be durable, an underpad must be firm. This is not necessarily...MORE true, however; it is possible to achieve a balance between softness and durability.

    Learn about choosing a carpet cushion.

The final rule to remember when choosing your family room carpet is that there are no rules! The above information is meant to serve as a guideline to help you know where to start. Aside from that, choose what you love, and what works best for you and your family. After all, it's your room!