Category Archives: Carpets

Carpet Selection #3: What Am I looking At?

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It’s A Matter Of Taste: 

The sophisticated Home Design Civilian (that would be you) considers the texture and style of a proposed rug or carpet as important as the color(s) and durability.


The various styles and textures the fibers can be woven into, support the theme and ambiance of any room and should be viewed as another opportunity to create a cohesive look.

  • The terms Plush or Saxony describe a thick, soft surface of cut pile (aka yarn). It has a velvety, more formal look.  Axminster carpets fall into this category and usually have an all-over pattern.  This style is good for rooms with a medium amount or less of foot traffic.
  • Frieze (pronounced free-zay) is a type of Saxony carpet where the yarns have been twisted to give a strong textural pebbly look.  Good for high traffic areas.
  • Loop or Berber are the terms for a flat minimalist weave that resembles sisal but is formed from uncut looped yarn.  This is the most durable and wear resistant style of carpet. Woven in a neutral color with a sisal pattern, it can be used as the base layer for finer area rugs, as described for the natural fibers, to get the best of all worlds.
  • Shag is a cut pile that is over an inch long, with fibers twisted in a loose design.  The look is “shaggy” and rough, but not good for high traffic areas.
Handle that last one with care.  Let’s just say, it adds a lot of personality to a room.

How Do I Do This? Broadloom carpeting is sold in rolls to the distributor and is usually 12-13 ft. wide.  Your rug would be cut to the size you request from a roll this width.  Rooms larger than 13 ft. wide will necessarily have seams.  Work with the carpet dealer and the floor plan to figure out the best place for them.  The goal is to run a seam in out-of-the-way places, not high traffic areas, and if possible, under fortuitously placed furniture.

Always buy from a reputable company that also will install their product for you. If any problem arises, there won’t then be an argument about who will resolve it.

The only time a carpet pad is optional is when the carpet back is rubberized, as in the case with some sisal or sea grass offerings.  Padding can prolong the life of your carpeting and depending on the pad, give some cushioning.  Sometimes a standard backing sends out the kind of chemicals you don’t want into the air so look for a backing made of jute or some other natural fiber.  Ask about “green padding”.  Don’t try to get more cushioning underfoot by using a thicker, bubble type pad that’s actually intended for another type of carpeting than the one of your choice.  The wrong pad can actually wear your carpet out faster because too much “give” can weaken the fibers.

Next time: Carpet Selection #4: What To Use Where

Related Posts

(Carpet Selection Four Part Series)

Carpet Selection #1: Blast From The Past

Carpet Selection #2: Meet The Fibers

Carpet Selection #4: What To Use Where


Article Photo:

Large Article Photo by Fulvio Spada creative commons Some rights reserved


The original version of this article was published on It’s presented here as a foundation for further topic discussion, and updates.