Carpet vs Wood Floor, Which Is Better? — "Make the Choice Based on Style, Comfort and Ease of Maintenance"

Choosing between carpet vs wood floor can be a tough call so we asked experts to lay down their pros and cons. Take a look

A music room with a large black grande piano and two white armchairs
(Image credit: Design by West Of Main Design)

Confused between carpet vs wood floor? Selecting the best option for your space means considering the room's function and usage, your design preferences, and the overall maintenance requirements. Both carpet and wood floors are great contenders, with distinct aesthetics, durability, and advantages.

Finding the best choice for your home requires some thought. So we reached out to experts who helped us break down these floor types based on certain factors so the decision-making is easier.

Style and character

A white hallway with dark wooden floor

(Image credit: Walter Studio Interior Design)

Carpets are available in a wide range of colors, textures, and patterns, allowing for endless design possibilities to suit any decor style. Wood flooring also comes in many different forms, and its timeless beauty as well as sophisticated look never goes out of fad.

‘I always suggest hardwood over the carpet,' says Patti Allen, co-owner of Allen and James Home. 'I think hardwood provides more character to the home and has a more custom look especially when you find the perfect rug to complete the space. With all the wood types and stains available, my go-to is 100% hardwoods. Plus you always have the option of adding a rug to the space.'

Comfort and warmth

A living room with stripes on carpet

(Image credit: David Duncan Livingston. Studio credit AMB Design Inc)

Carpet provides a soft and cozy surface underfoot, plus there are several carpet types to choose from. ‘They're ideal for bedrooms, living rooms, and children's play areas where comfort is a priority,’ says Nina Lichtenstein, founder and principal Home Designer at Custom Home Design by Nina Lichtenstein. 'Honestly, there’s nothing better than getting out of bed to place your feet upon a soft, warm surface.'

Noise and safety

A neutral carpet works in this pared back scheme

(Image credit: Alexander James. Design: HAM Interiors)

Noise and safety are key elements to help you make the decision on floor types, especially when children are in the mix.

‘Carpet absorbs sound, reducing noise transmission between floors while creating a quieter and more peaceful environment,’ says Nina. This is also ideal if you have light sleepers in the family. In those cases a bedroom carpet becomes essential. ‘On the other hand, wood floors can amplify sound and echo in large, open spaces, which may require area rugs or sound-absorbing materials to minimize noise,’ avers Nina.

With regards to the safety aspect, ‘carpet offers traction and reduces the risk of slips and falls, making it a safe option for households with young children or elderly individuals,’ shares the designer.

Durability and cost

A dining room with oak flooring

(Image credit: LucasMadani. Studio credit Hauvette & Madani)

On the debate on carpet vs hardwood flooring, remember that carpet requires regular vacuuming and occasional deep cleaning to remove dirt, stains, and allergens, making it higher maintenance compared to hard flooring options. Also, in high-traffic areas or homes with pets, carpet may show signs of wear and tear over time, requiring replacement or professional cleaning to maintain its appearance.

‘Carpet fibers can trap dust, pet dander, and other allergens, potentially exacerbating allergies and respiratory issues for sensitive individuals,' says Nina. 'Unlike carpet, wood floors do not trap allergens, making them a healthier option for individuals with allergies or respiratory sensitivities. Hardwood floors are durable and long-lasting.' With proper maintenance, they can withstand heavy traffic and maintain their appearance for decades. Thankfully, they are relatively easy to clean and maintain, requiring regular sweeping and occasional mopping to keep them looking fresh.

‘Wood flooring can be more expensive upfront compared to carpet, especially for high-quality hardwoods or engineered wood products,’ warns Nina. The installation cost is usually more than a carpet too, so depending on your situation, a carpet can be a fairly cost-effective quick fix, and wood floors are more of a long-term investment. Wood is also susceptible to moisture.

‘Wood floors are sensitive to moisture and humidity fluctuations, which can cause warping, cupping, or buckling if not properly sealed or maintained,’ says Nina. For high-traffic areas such as entryways, kitchens, and hallways, where longevity is essential, Nina suggests opting for wood. And if natural wood flooring isn't essential to you, then even engineered wood flooring can be a good option. Carpet holds a lot of dirt and debris so vacuuming often is vital, even more so if you have pets.

So, which is better?

A living room with grey sofa and a wooden chevron panelled floor

(Image credit: Carpetright)

The decision between carpet and wood floors ultimately depends on several factors alongside your home lifestyle. Nina tells us how she decides for her clients what’s best: ’It depends on the specific needs and preferences of the space and the client. However, I often lean towards wood floors for their timeless beauty, durability, and ease of maintenance. In areas where comfort and softness are paramount, such as bedrooms or cozy reading nooks, I may opt for carpet to create a warm and inviting ambiance.’

Both carpet and wood floor types offer unique benefits and can enhance the beauty and functionality of your space. By considering the pros and cons of each and evaluating your space, you can select the perfect flooring option to complement your lifestyle. ‘Whether you choose the plush comfort of carpet or the timeless elegance of wood floors, investing in quality flooring will elevate the aesthetic and value of your home for years to come,’ assures Nina.

3 products to maintain carpet and wood floors

Portia Carroll

Portia Carroll is an interior stylist, writer, and design consultant. With a background in interior architecture and design, she has a plethora of creative experience in the industry working with high end interior brands to capture beautiful spaces and products and enhance their qualities.