Home Maintenance | 02.22.2022

A Beginner’s Guide to Carpet: What Types of Fibers & Piles Are Best

Designing your home to match your desired aesthetic tends to be the first thing we think of when visualizing a living space. However, a sense of personal style is far from the only advantage carpeted floors can offer. The right carpet can soften a room (both visually and underfoot), provide an added measure of insulation and warmth to your home, dampen noise, and accentuate your room’s other design elements to create your ideal space.

While designs and styles are virtually endless when it comes to installing carpet that fits your home’s decor, it helps to know the most common components to consider before deciding on a carpet.

Common Types of Carpet Fibers

Carpets are made from several different fiber materials. Choosing the right one for your home means balancing durability and soil-resistant qualities with the look and feel of softer materials depending on a space’s purpose, design, and traffic. Some fibers are better suited for hallways and stairs — places you’ll probably want to fortify against excessive wear and tear — while others are chosen more often for their ability to make a room more attractive and comfortable.

Here are the main types of carpet fiber materials, along with how they are often used to complement a home’s design:

Nylon: This is probably the one you’ll see most often, particularly in the hallways and heavily-trafficked areas of a home. Nylon carpet fibers are synthetic and generally treated with additional stain-proof protection, making this a more durable material option for homes with pets and small children (not to mention older children who don’t take their shoes off like they’re supposed to).

Polyester: Carpets made of polyester fibers come in just about every color, pattern, and style you can dream up. They’re soft to the touch and a common all-around choice for common areas throughout the house.

Olefin: These fibers may not be as long-lasting as Nylon, but olefin (also known as polypropylene carpet) is a strong alternative for those on tighter budgets. It’s moisture-resistant, chemical-resistant, difficult to stain, easy to clean, and one of the best available materials for outdoor use.

Wool: Wool carpets can withstand heavy traffic while maintaining a lush, clean appearance. They’re eco-friendly (they are a natural material, after all), make great insulators, retain their shape over long periods of time, and respond well to cleaning. Note that wool is extremely absorbent, which is great for soaking up rich dye colors and intricate designs but not so great if you spill wine on it (it’ll soak that up too).

Piles, Cuts, and the Most Common Carpet Designs

There’s much more to how carpet looks and feels than its base material components. It’s important to consider the height of the carpet fibers (pile height), whether the fibers woven through the carpet’s backing have been cut or left in loops (or a combination of both), and the specific style these various combinations can create.

Most carpeting options for your home fall into one of these three categories:

  • Cut Pile Carpets: As the name suggests, cut piles indicate the yarn loops have been cut at the ends to a certain style. Browsing design websites will often reveal a wide range of frieze, saxony, shag, or cable carpet options — these are all forms of cut piles.
  • Loop Carpets: When left uncut, the natural loops of your carpet remain on the surface (like in the case of popular Berber carpets) you’re looking at loop carpets. These vary from large, high-pile loops to smaller, more dense patterns.
  • Cut-Loop: A combination of the two, cut and loop designs lend themselves to additional textures that can complement any type of decor.

Choosing a Carpet That Works For You

When determining the right carpet for a given room, consider how the space will be used the majority of the time. Will family members (or pets) be walking through it often? If so, will they be coming directly from outside? Is it a more formal, less-used space or a room for kids to play on the floor? Do you plan on entertaining often or is this home more of a private getaway?

Once you’ve chosen a material based on a room’s primary use, all other considerations begin to fall into place. You’ll likely want a style and design to match your other interior design choices, and to consider how well-lit the room will be (as that may impact your color preferences). Once you find the right design, you’ll be prepared to seek out options in that specific category in line with your remodeling or home-building budget. Your design team will be so impressed!

When the job is complete, you’ll be able to enjoy carpet that provides comfort and refinement to every corner of your home.

How Arive Homes’ Design Team Can Help

The professionals who make up Arive’s Design Center have years of experience developing and personalizing design trends from the ground up to match each customer’s own style, and to create homes they love. Get in touch with our design center today and speak with one of our experts about how they can help transform your home.