Planning Your Carpet - Choosing the Size

four carpet styles

What size is this room? What size do you wish it were? Do you want to unify the room to make it seem more spacious, or break it up to make it seem cozier?

Wall-to-wall carpeting unifies spaces. It gives a comfortable, furnished look, and it has an amazing capacity to absorb noise. It can cover wood floors in poor condition, and with the proper underlay, it can cover concrete floors.

It is fairly permanent; it might be hard to take with you when you go.

Originally, carpeting was woven in 27-inch widths. When the looms were expanded to accommodate carpeting of wider widths, the carpeting itself came to be known as broadloom. Today 95 percent of the carpets sold are tufted, not woven, but they are still known as broadloom. Most tufted carpets are available in 12-foot or 15-foot widths. If your room is wider than 15 feet, the carpet will have to be seamed. If your room is narrower than 12 feet, you'll have to pay for some waste.

Usually your carpet dealer will help you figure out the yardage you need, and provide the installation service. Proper installation is important because faulty installation can reduce the life of the carpet. Cleaning normally has to be done on location. To equalize wear in different areas, you can rearrange your furniture from time to time.

How Much Carpet Will You Need?

Since all carpet prices are quoted per square yard, it's not too difficult to get an approximate idea of how much a given style will cost.

You can calculate it yourself. Measure your room's length and width in feet. Multiply those two numbers to get the room's total square feet. Let's assume your living room is 18' x 12', and your dining room is 9' x 12'. When you multiply each dimension with the other, you have a living room of 216 square feet and a dining room of 108 square feet. There are 9 square feet in a square yard. So you divide by 9.

If you're carpeting odd shaped areas, just take down all the measurements. A salesman will be glad to calculate the yardage for you.

Carpet Tiles

Carpet is also available in easily installed, interchangeable squares or tiles that have an adhesive backing. Carpet tiles come precut in 12- or 18-inch squares. Carpet tiles provide a money-saving way to achieve the effect of wall-to-wall. You can dispense with professional installation. since you can do it yourself. You can dispense with an underlay since the tiles already have a high-density foam backing. Maintenance is simplified. Worn areas can be replaced without disturbing the rest. Worn tiles may also be rotated to less obvious areas.

clean, modern living room with carpet tile rugs in different colors

Room-sized rugs have much of the same unified, spacious effect as wall-to-wall carpeting. They should have only about a foot of the natural floor showing around the outside edges. The advantage of rugs over wall-to-wall is that they are portable. You can take them with you when you move. You can rotate them to distribute wear. You can send them out to the cleaners. You can even take them up in the summer for a cooler look.

Room-sized rugs that are smooth and un-patterned often look best with a mitered border. For a particularly handsome effect, you might have several borders. The first two might contrast with the center of the rug. The final outside border might repeat the center color. When rugs are cut from broadloom carpeting, you can specify any size or shape you want.

Area rugs are great in a large room. They break up that endless prairie of the floor into islands of interest. The room has to be big enough to break up into areas. An area rug would be ridiculous in a tiny room.

The area rug got its name because it is used to define a specific area of activity. Choose a rug of a size that fits your furniture grouping. Generally, furniture must be squarely on the rug, or entirely off. If you are placing an area rug on top of a wall-to-wall carpet, don't make the mistake of thinking you can get away with something smaller just because you have so much carpet. An area rug still has to be of a size to define the area.

Scatter or Accent rugs are small and are used in strategic places to add a spot of warmth or color. They might be by a bed or in front of a fireplace. Although usually used on bare floors, they may be placed over plain carpet.