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Popular in Home Improvement

Ultimate Guide to Carpet and Rugs

Nothing beats carpet for its wealth of colors, textures, and patterns -- not to mention wiggle-your-toes comfort. Follow our decorating and buying guide information to choose carpet and rugs that will warm your floors and enrich your lifestyle.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • The Appeal of Carpet

      Carpet lends just the cozy and inviting atmosphere we desire in our home's living spaces. From room to room, carpet soothes underfoot and appeals to our senses of sight and touch. Using a gentle flooring, such as carpet, consistently throughout also makes a small house feel bigger.

    • Choices A-Plenty

      Choose wall-to-wall carpet to add continuity to your home. Design options are plentiful, with a wealth of colors, textures, and patterns available.

    • A Restful Choice

      Carpet is a natural fit in the bedroom thanks to its soft, warm, comforting nature. Choose neutral patterns and colors to create a soothing, relaxing backdrop to this restful room and let the personality of the space take the visual lead.

    • Added Function

      Not only does carpet add warmth to our floors, it adds sound insulation, too. This makes it an ideal choice not only for bedrooms, but for home entertainment spaces.

    • Layer Carpet with Rugs

      Use carpet to lay a neutral base to all the rooms in your house. Then, layer on area rugs in individual rooms to add a splash of color and personality, create texture, or define a space within a space.

    • Know Your Carpet Fibers

      Don't less carpet vocabulary dampen your shopping success. Know your fibers to make an educated decision.

      -- Polyester is the least expensive type of carpet (commonly found in home-center-grade carpets), but its also the least resilient. Choose polyester for low-traffic rooms.

      -- Nylon is much more durable, with good resilience, color retention, and stain and abrasion resistance. If you can afford the upgrade, choose nylon for long-term wearability throughout your house.

      -- Polypropylene is stain and abrasion resistant like nylon, but less bouncy underfoot. This fiber is best in loop- and dense-cut pile carpets.

      -- Wool is the most expensive option, boasting great resilience and strength, but should be treated to repel stains and resist static electricity.

    • Modular Option

      While wall-to-wall carpet requires professional installation, there are do-it-yourself options, called modular carpet tiles. These individual pieces of carpet not only offer a way to install it yourself, they also make it easy to replace individual tiles due to stains or wear.

    • Adding Rugs

      Whether wood, tile, or carpet set the background for your rooms from wall to wall, you can always enhance your décor with rugs. Available in large area rugs or smaller accent rugs, they can be the starting point of a room's entire decorating focus or the finishing touch. They also add depth and dimension by adding layers underfoot.

    • Design Inspiration

      Let a rug that you love lead the way to a room's decorative character. The style, pattern, and colors established in the prominent floor covering can be a springboard for wall color, furniture selection, and accessories.

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      Select the Right Style

      An area rug can compliment (or establish) the style of a room, depending on the pattern, color, and weave you choose. In an eclectic or whimsical room, add a colorful, loose weave or plush shag rug. Choose Oriental or Persian rugs for traditional décor. Compliment contemporary design with a geometric pattern or a tone-on-tone rug.

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      Set Some Boundaries

      Define spaces within rooms with the addition of an area rug. A large rug draws a seating arrangement together to create a more intimate setting.

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      Define the Dining Area

      The dining room is a good place to use a rug to define space. An area rug beneath the dining table and chairs grounds this functional area and subtly unites the mass of furniture legs. For the right fit, the rug should be large enough for chairs to push back from the table and remain on the rug.

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      Plush Benefits

      Rugs add texture and warmth underfoot. Use their nature to your benefit where you could use an extra layer of comfort -- such as that first step out of bed in the morning, or in a family room, where people love to stretch out on the floor to play games or watch a movie.

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      Make an Area Rug

      Can't find the perfect area rug? Have one made by binding a piece of wall-to-wall carpet. Not only do you get exactly what you want in pattern and color, you get it in precisely the size and shape you need.

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      Shopping Tips

      Consider these tips and resources as you set out on the adventure of shopping for flooring.

      -- Take along paint chips and fabric swatches to narrow down the vast array of color and pattern choices. You'll still want to bring home samples to make your final decisions in the space and lighting of your own home. But having these elements along in the showroom will help you weed out absolutely "won't work" options from the beginning.

      -- Take rough room measurements ahead of time. Although you'll need precise measurements before installation, estimates will let you get a quick cost figure in mind as you shop. You want to know if a certain material you fall in love with really is within your budget.

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      Next Slideshow Living Room Flooring Ideas

      Living Room Flooring Ideas

      Your floor covering can be the star of the show or an understated background.
      Begin Slideshow »

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