What is the first thing your toes touch in the morning, hardwood or carpet? Flooring is one of the biggest decisions a homeowner makes. Some love the softness of carpet, others are taken with hardwood’s natural beauty. It’s easy to clean and can look new for decades if cared for properly.

Both products are wonderful and have a place in today’s decor. If you’re choosing flooring for a new home, or thinking about replacing a tired carpet with wood (or vice versa), there’s a lot to consider, such as design, comfort, price and sustainability.

If you’re unsure whether you want to trade your hardwood for carpet put down an area rug first. Area rugs can be beautiful and give you the feel of carpet to help you decide.

The Case for Hardwood

Hardwood is more expensive than carpet, but adds a lasting value to a home and hardwood floors require less maintenance, last longer and can be repaired instead of replaced. Comparatively, hardwood floors require minimal maintenance—in terms of both effort and equipment. Hardwood floors are also much more resistant to spills and stains.

Hardwood can get scraped, scratched, scuffed, dented and damaged—especially in high traffic areas, but when it does you don’t have to remove it. Often it can be sanded, smoothed and refinished. It is rarely necessary to replace a wood floor. Since wood is a naturally occurring resource, hardwood floors may also be a quality ecological choice.  Perhaps the number one reason to consider a hardwood floor is for aesthetic reasons. Hardwood never goes out of style. Because of the large variety of wood types, a world of consistencies, designs, grains and patterns are available.

A new wood floor is also more impressive than carpet. This kind of flooring has been used in homes for hundreds of years, and despite constant shifts in style and trend, it has never stopped being popular. It always matches whatever colors and accessories happen to be in vogue.

Properly maintained hardwood flooring can last for decades, and some of the higher end materials can last for generations.

The Case for Carpet

The biggest draw to carpet is that it is soft. It feels great beneath bare feet, like the entire world is padded and comforting. This is particularly soothing in bedrooms, children’s rooms, and some family and living room areas, where you want to promote an atmosphere of comfort and relaxation. Carpet is much warmer than hardwood floors, especially on a chilly winter morning. It acts not only like a blanket for your feet, but it also helps to insulate the room, ensuring that warmth remains indoors and doesn’t slip through more porous surface materials.

It can also be formal or casual, depending on the type of carpet you choose. Perhaps the most casual type is cable. Cable carpets are made up of thick, twisted yarns. These carpets are very soft and thick, making them perfect for family rooms. For formal settings, the best types of carpet are plush, cut pile, and velvet.  Carpet is easier, faster and cheaper to install than wood flooring, which must be nailed down, glued or clicked into place.
Its life can be extended with frequent vacuuming and steam cleaning once a year. The new, more stain-resistant synthetic fibers, and more-efficient vacuum cleaners, make cleaning less of a chore. A top-quality carpet can last 10 to 15 years.

It also absorbs sound and is priceless in the case of slips, trips and dropped items. Quite possibly the best thing about carpeting is that it comes in every color under the sun.

The Case for Area Rugs

An area rug can give your room an entirely new look. There are many ways to use an area rug to accentuate a room’s décor. Placing an accent rug underneath a coffee table is a great way to make that table pop out. Though it may seem like a great idea to match colors, this is not necessarily the case with an accent rug. Choosing a rug that’s the same color as your wall paint will cause it to fade into its setting instead of standing out. The purpose of an area rug is to accentuate, so it´s a better idea to choose a color that does not blend in with its surroundings. If your walls are painted a mild and neutral hue, you should choose an accent rug with bright and vibrant colors.

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