I often get asked, “What’s the best way to design a room with wall-to-wall carpet?” We know all about carpet! In fact, when we renovated our downstairs 3 years ago, we installed wall-to-wall carpet with a small-checked pattern throughout the whole space. And honestly–we couldn’t love it more! It’s warm and comfortable and helps dampen the sound of toys and the patter of little feet. There is research published here that even suggests that when carpet is properly cleaned and maintained, it improves air quality.
The key to designing a room with carpet as the foundation is to treat it almost exactly as you would hardwood flooring–except for a few cozy perks.
It’s a good idea to define a space, but there’s no need to define every space. Our family room is a long room with multiple zones–piano, television, toy storage, fireplace, craft table. We layered an area rug under the craft table to define that area (and protect the carpeting from marker, paint, spills, etc!) but we kept the other areas free from additional layered rugs. The carpet down here is soft underfoot, with a minimalistic look that we love. In a space with so much action, it’s nice that the flooring doesn’t need any additional help to make it a safe and soft place for our kids to play and for us to be as a family, without additional eye clutter.
Definitely utilize layering area rugs to define an area (or if you want extra protection for you carpet in a high traffic or kids’ space like our daughters’ room above), but no need to layer one under every separate zone in an open area. We kept the sectional area just the carpeting and it’s such a serene look.
As with other types of flooring, consider the carpet color when choosing paint color and everything else. There is a carpet style, color and pattern for every room and everyone. Maybe you want something light and bright! Maybe something darker or with a pattern to hide heavy use (I really want to use plaid carpet in the future cabin build!). Or maybe you live in a home that has carpet already installed that you need to work with. Whatever the case is, it’s a large plane in your room and shouldn’t be ignored.
Hold paint swatches up to your floor before swatching them on your wall so you can be sure the undertones coordinate. You may be surprised to find suddenly your beige carpet is looking pink next to that green paint color. Going deeper with your paint color or adjusting the tone for something a little more muted on your paint chip will ensure that everything looks harmonious as your room comes together.
Lastly, bring the eye up! Very rarely should the floor be the star of a room. We would choose carpet again and again for our downstairs for all the reasons I mentioned–it’s cozy, quiet, comfortable, safe, helps creates a serene bright space, it even–but I also love it because it blends in. And it blends in because we’ve added a dark accent wall which made the lighter planes (floor and walls) look even brighter. And we hung large art, added built-in shelving (any sort of bookcase is a great tool for carrying your focus up), mirrors to bounce light around and accent lighting that catches your attention. If you put all your focus on the floor or even the area rugs you want to layer, that’s where the eye will go.
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