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Carpet vs Hardwood Floors: Which One is Best?

It’s the age-old debate of carpet vs hardwood floor – is it better to have carpet or hardwood floors in your home? Of course, it’s not as simple as asking ‘is hardwood better than carpet’ or vice versa because there are a lot of different factors at play. This guide will explore the pros and cons of each type of flooring and explain how the addition of rugs can benefit either one.

Hardwood Flooring

Pros:

  • Aesthetics – hardwood floors are a timeless classic. They provide a gorgeous neutral base for any aesthetic preference and, additionally, can even help improve your home’s market value. Hardwood is better than carpet in terms of buyer interest and is more likely to encourage higher bids.
  • Durability – hardwood floors will last a very long time. Carpets might become thin or shed over time, but hardwood is better than carpet because it can stand up to daily wear.
  • Allergens – hardwood floors are a great choice for people with allergies because they won’t trap any allergens like pet dander or pollen.
  • Cleaning – hardwood is better than carpet because it is easy to keep clean and less susceptible to staining. Deep-cleaning hardwood floors is much easier, too, as bacteria cannot hide.

Cons:

  • Cold – hardwood floors can be cold underfoot, particularly in winter, which some people may find off-putting.
  • Noise insulation – for people living in flats or multi-storey houses, it’s better to have carpet than hardwood floors as they don’t provide much noise insulation.
  • Superficial damage – while hardwood floors are durable and long-lasting, they can be more susceptible to superficial damage like scratches from pet claws or moving furniture.
  • Cost – this is often one of the biggest factors when choosing between carpet vs hardwood floors. Hardwood is much more expensive than carpet, which can be prohibitive, particularly if you are on a budget.

Hallway runners or larger rugs can cover enough of a room that you won’t have to walk on the cold floor while still leaving hardwood showing for that classic look. They even add their own stylish touch to a room – using traditional rugs in a modern space is a great design tip to add more warmth to a room or add some colour. See our blog post for more tips on injecting colour into a neutral room.  Using a rug can help dampen sounds, too, so they don’t travel as well.

Additionally, rugs can protect your hardwood floors against superficial damage, allowing you to keep their classic, polished look. See our guide to the most durable rugs for high-traffic areas.

Shop the Moda Red Cube Flatweave Rug

Carpet

Pros:

  • Comfort – floors covered in carpet will be softer and more comfortable underfoot than hardwood.
  • Budget-friendly – in the debate of carpet vs hardwood floor, carpet has one major advantage – cost. While hardwood floors are an investment, this depends on being able to afford the upfront cost.
  • Style – carpets are more versatile in terms of styling because they come in a range of colours, patterns and piles.
  • Cushion – if you have children, anyone with mobility difficulties or maybe you’re just a bit clumsy, it’s better to have carpet than hardwood floors as it provides a softer landing.
  • Insulation – carpet provides a layer of insulation against cold and noise, keeping the room cosy and helpful for maintaining neighbour relationships in shared living.
  • Hardy – carpet is hardy in a different way to hardwood because it is less prone to superficial damage. Furniture can be placed on it and even moved around without permanently damaging the carpet.

Cons:

  • Cleaning – it’s harder to get carpets truly clean because the fibres will catch dust, allergens, dander, crumbs and anything else that lands on the floor. As a result, it’s more difficult to deep-clean and will stain more easily, which can even lead to it needing to be replaced.
  • Fashion – carpets go out of fashion every few years and then come back in as people remember their benefits, while hardwood floors are timeless. If you’re like to keep up with fashion styles, you may steer away from carpet in favour of the more classic look of hardwood floors.
  • Replacing – carpets need to be replaced much more frequently than hardwood floors, particularly in high-traffic areas like hallways. Over time, walking on the carpet will wear it down.
  • Suitability – in certain rooms, carpets can be a less desirable choice. For example, high-moisture rooms, like bathrooms or laundry rooms, can lead to an increased risk of mould growth. Additionally, carpet can be a less popular choice in rooms with lots of potential spillages like the kitchen or dining room.

Please look at our previous blog posts for the best rugs to use in the kitchen and dining room.

Often overlooked, layering rugs on carpet can be a great choice for both practical and stylish reasons. Washable rugs can protect your carpet from spills and can be thrown into the washing machine for easy cleaning.

Rugs also offer variation in textures which can help break up a room, particularly for sectioning off open-plan rooms. Read our previous blog post to break down the key differences between rugs and carpets and see why they can be so effective together.

So, is it better to have carpet or hardwood floors? It really depends – hardwood is an investment and can improve buyer interest when selling your home, but carpets are much more affordable and are particularly useful in a flat or multi-storey house.

The choice of carpet vs hardwood floor remains a matter of both personal preference and lifestyle. However, regardless of which flooring style you have, rugs can offer a stylish and practical addition! Shop our collection by room, colour or size today, or see our blog for more design tips.