5 things designers look at to compare carpet vs hardwood floors – they'll help you choose the right one for your room

Both carpet and hardwood flooring have their advantages, and it can be tricky to decide which to go for. Experts share their thoughts to help you decide

Light parquet flooring in living room and home office in modern home
(Image credit: Parador)

If you’re currently renovating your home, planning on doing so, or even if your home is in need of new flooring, you will have most likely been faced with the question: what type of flooring is best? 

For living rooms, bedrooms, home offices, and hallways the debate whether to choose hardwood flooring or carpets is a very real and common one. While there is no one definitive answer, as there are variables that range from budget, the look you want to achieve, practicality, and personal taste, there are definitely advantages and disadvantages to each that you should consider before making your decision. 

Choosing a floor type is not a design decision that can be quickly or easily reversed or one that can simply be guided by interior trends, so I’d want to make sure I got it right. Three experts give us their take on the matter to help you make a decision you won’t regret. 

1. Good looks 

hallway with persian inspired doors and white walls

(Image credit: Jennifer McNeil Baker. Design: Maestri Studio)

There is no denying that in terms of looks, wood flooring can give a very elevated feel to a home. Whether you choose to go for a darker color, a beige, or medium brown, or play with different types of patterns, there is a lot of versatility when choosing this type of flooring and it can adapt well to different styles of homes. Christoph Wellekoetter, Head of Product Management at Parador tells me ‘in 2024, parquet will be the go-to foundation in both town and country. The elegant chevron pattern adds texture and interest to an interior whilst remaining neutral.’

'While carpets have a bit of a bad rap for some, who think it’s too old-school, there aren’t many options that beat the incredibly cozy look and feel they give a space. ‘Carpet started getting a bad rap when TV reno shows began peeling back 60s shag to reveal 1940s hardwood to our collective horror,' says Bethany Adams, Principal Designer at Bethany Adams Interiors. 

While carpet might not, on balance, be the preferred flooring type for many modern homeowners, there are still ways, of course, for it to look modern and stylish. 

2. Resale value

There have been plenty of studies over the years that have shown that hardwood flooring has better resale value than carpet - and with interior design trends where they stand, this remains true to this day. 

Ashley Macuga, Principal Designer at Collected Interiors thinks that ‘not only do hardwood floors have stronger resale value, but they also add depth, warmth, and character to a home’. Wellekoetter agrees going on to add that ‘engineered wood has a very natural, warm feel with organic swirling grain patterns and color variations that suit a vast range of interiors - from modern to traditional and rustic countryside style.’

3. Durability

In practical terms, hardwood floors are more durable than carpets. ‘They can withstand heavier traffic, resist stains, and show less signs of wear and tear over time,’ explains Ashley. 

The good news is that if budget is an issue, and with choosing hardwood floors it can be, there are also more affordable options. ‘Laminate and vinyl are very versatile, achieving this look whilst being highly affordable and durable types of flooring,’ explains Parador's Christoph. ‘Hardwood floors can also be layered easily with rugs, adding texture and a sense of coziness to any space,’ Ashley adds, which makes it easy to change the look of your room simply by adding or removing a rug. 

4. Coziness 

Neutral bedroom with green headboard and gallery wall

(Image credit: Kitesgrove)

'While I would never advocate installing wall-to-wall carpet over existing hardwood floors, I do take a softer stance (pun intended) on a carpet in general, in rooms such as bedrooms, offices, and family rooms,’ says Bethany Adams. 

The designer thinks that for any room that needs to be quiet, cozy, or provide a soft landing for children's play, carpet is a luxurious and practical solution. ‘Just be sure you're installing 100% wool fiber for maximum stain and fire resistance,’ she adds. 

5. Cleanliness

Interior designer Ashley Macuga is, however, not convinced about carpet for another reason you might not have thought of. ‘For families with allergens to dust or pet dander, carpet is the first thing we will replace in a home. The smooth surface of hardwood floors makes it easier to remove pest allergens, and allows the whole family to breathe a little easier knowing that they have prioritized their health,’ she explains. 

So, what should you go for?  

Living room with burnt orange carpet

(Image credit: Carpetright)

Like with any design decision that is not easily reversed, taking time in advance to ask yourself what you need the space to deliver for you is really key. Is it practicality you need, do you have pets or any allergies, or do you want a more timeless look? In this case, hardwood flooring might be a better option for you. 

However, if you’re looking for a very cozy, hotel-like feel, and would also like a softer landing underfoot for a more quiet space, then carpets should tick the boxes. There are pros and cons to both options, and now that you know what they are, it’s all about assessing what works for you, and not being afraid to bring in your personality and personal taste in the mix too, for a decision you won’t regret.  

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Raluca Racasan
News writer

Raluca is Digital News Writer for Livingetc.com and passionate about all things interior and living beautifully. Coming from a background writing and styling shoots for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Raluca’s love for design started at a very young age when her family’s favourite weekend activity was moving the furniture around the house ‘for fun’. Always happiest in creative environments in her spare time she loves designing mindful spaces and doing colour consultations. She finds the best inspiration in art, nature, and the way we live, and thinks that a home should serve our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as our lifestyle.