Planning Your Carpet - Choosing the Texture Planning Your Carpet - Choosing the Texture

The surface appearance of your carpeting will affect the formality of the room, and the lighting conditions. The surface of the carpeting also affects its durability.

Choose a Smooth, Even Surface or an Uneven One

A carpeting with a smooth even surface, such as a Velvet Plush, has a dressy look, fine for a formal or semi-formal room. Even smooth flat rugs such as Orientals, or tapestry weaves, have a formal feeling.

Smooth surfaces also reflect light back into the room, helping to make the room lighter and brighter. The more lustrous the carpet fibers, the dressier the look. A caution here, however: A smooth lustrous carpet often shows footprints. Some people like this look. Others don't. If you're one of those who don't, ask for a de-lustered fiber; then you can get the smooth look without the footprints.

A carpeting with an uneven surface is appropriate for a rustic or an informal room. Looped pile is a bit uneven, so it tends toward tailored informality. An uneven sculptured effect is achieved by combining piles of various heights, or by combining looped and cut pile. Sometimes the look is achieved simply by variations in color. A dressier uneven look is sometimes created by carving the surface of a carpet. (This often gives further definition to the design.)

Light hits an uneven surface at different angles and diffuses the light - a good idea in a sunny room. Carpets with uneven surfaces don't show footprints.

Choose a Low Pile, a High One, or Something in Between

What kind of wear will this floor covering get? A low, densely packed pile is the most durable and hard wearing. Uncut pile (the kind that forms loops) wears far longer than cut-pile carpeting - especially when short and closely packed.

The higher the pile, the more luxurious and sound-absorbing. However, high pile is not the right choice for a heavy-traffic area. The fibers will be trampled and abraded, and they are harder to clean.

More Specifics on Texture

In the Uneven/Informal Category

Low-Level Loop is the most basic pile. The yarn comes up from the backing, forms a loop and then returns to the backing. When loops are low and level, the carpeting is a good performer in high traffic areas. As a matter of fact, this style pile is often used in office installations, or banks or public places like that. It wears like iron. Dirt stays on the surface and is easy to clean.

You can also have a luxurious informal look with a level loop Berber-style carpet. The loops have a natural chunky look.

Multi-Level Loop carpeting achieves a sculptured effect through the different heights of its pile. It also takes tough wear, but is not quite as durable as the level loop carpeting. It has the advantage of hiding dust and dirt.

Cut and Loop Pile achieves surface interest through the variation of height and cut and looped fibers. It is not as hard-wearing as a tight low looped pile carpet.

In the Smooth/More Formal Category

Cut Pile carpet has a more luxurious look. It has a velvety texture that is very lustrous and beautiful for a formal or semiformal room. It is called Cut Pile because initially it was made with a looped surface, and each loop was cut in the center, leaving two tufts in place of the loop.

The density of a cut pile carpet strongly affects its durability.

Tip: Sheared carpet is all of one height, but some fibers are cut while others are looped. There is subtle surface variety. This style is adaptable in formality.

This article by Cathy Crane has a full color DIY Video available


Selecting Decor - Decorating Plan - Maintenance - Atmosphere - Space - Lifestyle - Mood - Size - Color - Pattern - Texture - Fiber/Density

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!