How to Choose Your Carpet Color

Tips to Help You Decide on the Best Color for Your Carpet

Designer showing carpet color samples to client
Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy/Cultura/Getty Images

Carpeting can be one of the most difficult components of decorating because there are so many decisions to make: style of carpetfiber type, pattern, quality, and finally, color.

Color is often the hardest decision for customers. It can be tough to visualize the color in a large space, judging from a tiny swatch. A color change can have a dramatic effect, and sometimes even though a change is desired, it can be a bit scary.

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to deciding on a color of carpet, then read on for some tips and suggestions to help you out.

What Color to Choose First - Carpet, Furniture, Bedding, or Paint?

Which part of their room’s décor should you select first, when you are starting from scratch? For the main living spaces in the home, such as the family roomchoose the sofa color first. The reason is that the selection of fabric colors is often more limited with sofas than with carpet or paint. Many sofa styles are offered in a choice of only four or five (or fewer) colors unless the sofa is being custom made. Therefore, if not chosen first, it can be difficult to find a sofa in the style you like, that matches the carpet you have already chosen.

Once the sofa is selected, then choose the carpet, and finally the paint. Again, this is because paint has a virtually unlimited color selection.

Start with the element that is most restricted in choice, and save the component with the biggest selection for last.

Use the same logic in other rooms, such as bedrooms. In this case, options for bedding are pretty vast, so choose the carpet color first. Since bedding is a smaller investment and relatively easy to change, you may want to select the paint color before choosing the bed covering.

Neutral Colors for Carpet

There is a reason why neutral colors are the biggest sellers in carpeting. Carpet has a big impact in a room, and a bright color in a large expanse can be overpowering. Also, replacing the carpet is expensive. Unless you have the resources (and patience) to replace your carpet every few years as trends change, you are best to keep the color on the floor neutral. Use the brighter or bolder colors in other, less expensive elements of the room: paint on the walls (much easier and less costly to change than the carpeting), cushions on the sofa, bedding, and smaller accent pieces such as lamps and framed art.

Current trends favor neutrals in earthy hues, including warm grays and the ever-popular beige. Neutrals don’t have to be boring. In order to make sure your carpet still has personality despite the neutral color, opt for texture in the carpet. Friezes or cut and loop styles provide depth and character to your carpet while keeping it subtle enough to avoid turning it into the focal point of the room.

Berber Flecks

Another great way to incorporate personality in your carpet is to choose a flecked color instead of a solid color. Technically speaking, these flecks of color in a carpet are known as berber, despite the fact that most people use the term berber to refer to a looped style of carpet.

Typically, carpets with berber flecks are found in neutral colors with darker neutrals used for the flecks.

In addition to being visually appealing, berber flecks are quite practical, as they can help to hide any bits of dirt or lint that may be found on your carpet in between vacuumings. You may want to consider a flecked color if you dread the thought of seeing anything out of place on your carpet.

Lifestyle Matters and Carpet Color

Your lifestyle and the way in which the carpeted room will be used are huge considerations in carpet color. A busy household with kids, pets and working parents doesn't usually lend itself well to white carpets, which can show soiling more easily than other colors.

Keep in mind that very light and very dark colors show far more undesirable debris than mid-tones.

While a dark color may be great at hiding stains, it will show lint and dust more than other colors. A carpet that is neither too light nor too dark will be the best color for masking these issues.

Choose Your Carpet Color Wisely

The carpet color can alter the entire feel of a room, so be sure to select your color carefully and wisely. Think about how trends may change over the years, and be sure that the color you love today will still appeal to you down the road.

Once you’ve narrowed down the color choice, it’s time to start looking at samples. Check out some helpful tips for choosing a carpet from a color swatch.