Perfect Carpet Color: How to Choose? [Complete Guide]
Is choosing a carpet color not as simple as you thought it’d be?
You want to know what colors are trendy, but you don’t want too cutting-edge. After all, you expect the carpet to be in your home for at least 10 years.
So maybe you go with classic colors? But is that too boring?
You started out wanting beige but start to doubt your decision, “It’ll be too gloomy for this room.”
And so on…
There’s so much to consider. And I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not an interior design expert. But what I have is years of experience listening to what people love and hate about their carpet.
There’s a lot more power in choosing a carpet color than I realized when starting to write this article. It can affect anything from how big the house looks to how hungry you are.
Here’s how I’ll break down everything you need to know about carpet colors:
- how to pick a carpet color
- what color options are there
- functional aspects of carpet color: how does it affect house size, hide dirt, etc
- psychological effects of carpet color: how does color subconsciously affect us (this isn’t just fluffy science)
- matching carpet color with wall color
- carpet color trends
How to pick a carpet color
There are a few basic steps to follow to find your perfect carpet color.
Step one: Eliminate the colors you hate. You won’t like these no matter what. All of the colors you don’t hate will be in the running for your carpet.
Step two: Read the remainder of this article. Learn more about the colors you’re considering. This should narrow it down to a few choices.
Final step: Find these colors in a store, and take a sample home. You don’t know the true color of the carpet until you’ve seen it in your home.
Captain’s mystery! A general rule of thumb in the carpet industry is carpet will look lighter in your home than in the store. This effect definitely catches people by surprise. So if you find a carpet you like but think you’d like it just a little bit darker, it’s probably not worth taking home. On the other hand, if you like a carpet but it seems just a little too dark, take a sample and see what it looks like in your house. And whatever you do, don’t order a color without seeing it in your home first.
What carpet colors and color patterns are options?
The short answer is any color you can imagine. It used to be difficult to dye carpets. This limited color options, but today technology allows us to get more colors with almost any carpet material (sometimes carpet material can make a difference. polyesters tend to dye better, but this is changing. read more about the pros and cons of carpet fibers.)
By any color, I not only mean any color of the rainbow (ROYGBIV) but also unique patterns. This can mean a carpet is a solid color, patterned, or speckled.
Berber carpet is a good example. It can be any color, but this is a classic flecked Berber carpet color:
Functional aspects of carpet color (how color affects durability)
If you read one section on this page, it should be this one.
This section on how carpet color will affect how your carpet performs comes from years of experience in the carpet industry. I’ll break it down by topic to make it simple.
You want to make your room look bigger
I don’t know much about fashion, but one thing I do know is darker clothing instantly makes me “drop” a few pounds. Carpet colors have a similar illusion. Lighter color carpets tend to make rooms look bigger. A quality many small to midsize homeowners appreciate. On the other hand, if you have rooms that you want to feel cozier and snug, darker shades of carpet can create this effect.
You want to hide stains
Do you have children, own a rental home, or like to entertain guests frequently?
Then carpet stains are a regular headache. Whether it’s apple juice or wine, spills happen. Even the most stain-resistant carpet can’t prevent all stains.
So what is the best carpet color to hide stains?
If you foresee spilling on the carpet as part of your future, go with a solid dark-colored carpet.
You want to hide dirt
You’re probably thinking… Isn’t hiding stains and dirt pretty much the same?
In some ways, they are the same. But there is a key difference. Stains are spots on the carpet from spills. Dirt is a brownish dirty appearing carpet from oil buildup. A carpet that is good at repelling stains, isn’t necessarily good at also good at being dirt resistant.
So what color do you want if hiding dirt is your main problem?
Go with a multicolor or flecked carpet. The natural design of these carpets makes it much less obvious that your carpet is in need of professional cleaning.
You want to hide seams
Ugly seams can make your carpet look… well, ugly. Finding a good carpet installer is half the battle against seams. A professional installer will make a blueprint for carpet installation that will include as few seams as possible. The seams they leave behind will be hidden under furniture and other out of sight places when possible.
The bad news is in many cases you will end up with seams no matter how great the installer is.
The good news is there are ways to reduce how visible the seams are and one way is with your color choice. So what is the best color for hiding seams?
Go with a dark-colored carpet. Darker colors do the best job hiding gaps between different pieces of carpet.
Psychology behind carpet colors (how color makes people feel)
Okay, so how colors make you feel may be a little out there for you. And if it is, feel free to skip this section.
But there’s no denying everything around us has a psychological impact. So if nothing else, this should be an interesting read. Who knows? Maybe it will serve as the tie-breaker for your color choice.
Red is stimulating, but this can be a little vague. What does it stimulate? There seems to not be a direct answer; the emotions red evokes are based on the context. However, studies show that people who see red not only feel stimulated but show physical signs of stimulation with slightly increased heart rate and breathing. Common emotions triggered by red are love, war, and hunger. This makes it great for a master bedroom or dining room.
Orange is similar to red without the intensity. This creates a warm, energetic, and welcoming vibe. Different shades of orange can have different meanings. It is unusual to see a true orange in carpeting, but it could be a fun color for a child’s room, an entertainment room, or a darker orange may be used in a dining room similar to red.
Gold/Yellow is the most cheerful energetic color. It can symbolize extravagance due to its association with money. This could be used in to promote energy and motivation in an office room or to be fun and welcoming in an entertainment room.
Green is life’s color or the color associated with money. True greens and lighter green symbolize nature, renewal, and health. Darker greens symbolize money and possibly greed, and yellow-greens tend to have negative associations of sickness and jealousy. Use lighter greens and true greens anywhere that you want a natural, refreshing vibe.
Blue is a solid and soothing color, representative of the sky and sea. It symbolizes loyalty, trust, and wisdom. Opposite to red, it slows the body’s metabolism creating a calming and soothing effect; there is some suggestion that this benefits the mind and body. It is a very well accepted color by males. Use blue in any room where you want to promote relaxation. Avoid it in dining rooms and kitchens–unless of course, you want to suppress your appetite.
Purple is a mix of red and blue. It symbolizes power, luxury, and wealth. Lighter purples may promote romance and nostalgia, but darker purples can be perceived more negatively with sadness. Purple is great for a girl’s bedroom or a workroom where you want to embrace your power or wealth.
Black is a formal color that suggests power, mystery, and evil. Typically black is associated negatively with “dark” feelings and emptiness. However, if it is pulled off correctly it can create a feel of formal elegance. Be cautious about how you use black.
White is purity. It gives a simple feel of cleanliness and innocence. It is the color of perfection since any imperfections stand out with white. White is a great color for a home if it can be maintained. Keep in mind, it will be tough to clean, and a dirty white carpet loses its pure feel.
Beige and Gray are neutral colors. They may have some meaning but generally don’t provoke much emotion. They can be interpreted as calming or dull. They are versatile colors that work in any room and with a wide range of wall colors.
Best carpet color based on wall color
You may be thinking, “What color of carpet will go with my walls?”
This is the first question many people ask when choosing a carpet color. And it’s a good starting point because you don’t want them to clash.
To answer this question, I recommend the shirt and tie test.
What’s the shirt and tie test?
You go a department or men’s clothing store. Find shirts that are the exact color of your walls (you can bring a paint chip in if it helps). See what colors of ties the displays match with these shirts. That’s what color experts think go best together.
Some color combinations will be more conservative. Some will be bolder. Just remember, unlike a shirt and tie, you have to look at your carpet every day. It also has to match with your furniture. So make sure you don’t go too bold.
Here are two of the most common questions we get with wall color:
What color of carpet goes with gray walls?
Gray gives you freedom. It’s a neutral color that goes with about anything. Lighter gray walls go great with darker colors. Think navy blue, burgundy, and black. Dark gray walls you’ll probably want to “open up” the house some, and choose a lighter colored carpet. Possibly a cream or multi-colored carpet.
What color of carpet goes with beige walls?
Beige will work with bold carpet colors. You can get away with turquoise, light blues, and even pinks. The question is will these colors work with the rest of your home décor? If you want something conservative, take advantage of beige’s wide variety of tones. Choose either a darker or lighter tone of beige to contrast from your walls while still staying neutral. Many multi-colored or patterned carpet will work as well.
Carpet color trends for 2021
Life is too short not to have some fun. That seems to be a theme gaining momentum as too much negative news circulates the world. Interestingly, this motto extends all the way to carpet colors.
The current trend for carpet colors is bold.
Does this mean to be trendy you need a bright yellow carpet?
Not at all.
In fact, neutral colors are as popular as ever. Neutrals are too versatile to go out of style. The difference is people are now adding “curiosity” to their neutrals.
So how can you do this? There are many ways to make your beige/gray carpet bold.
One way is to not choose beige at all. Some people are stepping outside the box with light blues or yellows that act like a neutral with a little more color.
Another option is to get a gray carpet with flecks of a bold color. Not enough to be obnoxious or clash with your other furniture, but enough to lighten up the room and give it an interesting design.
You can also think outside of color to make your plain-colored carpet interesting. You can get a gray carpet that has textured designs, which distracts from the color.
There are many different ways to be bold.
More inspiration and what you should do next:
Have the perfect color picked for your home? It’s a bigger decision than I imagined writing the article… I knew it would affect the home’s style, but not it’s size appearance, the mood of people in it, and how long you’ll be happy with your carpet.
That’s one big decision out of the way. Here’s what you should do next:
- If you want more inspiration on color and design, follow carpet captain on Pinterest by clicking this button: Carpet Captain
- If you’ve chosen your color, check out my unbiased carpet buying guide to get a step-by-step walkthrough on what’s important when buying carpet
- If you’re ready to buy your carpet, don’t overlook how important a carpet installer is. Click here to enter your zip code and find pre-approved installers in your area.