How to choose the best carpet colour
Carpets are a big investment in any room. Most people have the same carpet for years, so you want to choose the best. Carpet colour is a big part of this decision, as it has to match the rest of the room, and if you're likely to change your walls often, you need a colour that will match as you redecorate. You don't want to change your carpet often, so choosing the colour you'll have for a few years can seem daunting. This guide will cover everything you need to consider when deciding which carpet colour to go for.
What to Consider when Choosing a Colour for a New Carpet
The choice of carpet colour can be influenced by many factors, not just your personal preferences. You need to think about the room as a whole, the mood, other colours and even the material. The carpet is one of the more expensive buys when it comes to decorating, so it's important to get it right. Here are some things you need to consider when choosing a carpet colour:
Should your Carpet be Lighter or Darker than the Walls?
Generally, it is best to have your carpet a couple of tones darker than your walls. This adds visual interest to the room and can give the room an airy feeling. However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. It is perfectly fine to have your carpet lighter than your walls as this will give a closer and cosier feel. On the whole, you want your carpet and walls to be two tones apart so that there is a clear distinction between them.
Your preferred carpet material can affect what colours are available to you. Some materials are only available in neutral and natural colours, whereas other materials have a much wider range of colours. The material can also affect how quickly the colour may fade, especially in sunlight, so if you're leaning towards a bold colour, the material is an important consideration. If you're not sure what carpet material you prefer, have a read of our carpet material guide.
If you are only changing the carpet in a room, and not the walls and furniture, you need to consider what you already have and what colours will match. If you are redecorating the whole room, choose the item with the most limited colours first. So, usually, you want to select furniture first, then carpet colour to match, and lastly, your walls.
When choosing a carpet colour, you also want to think about what the room is used for. For example, darker colours are generally better for heavy footfall areas. Whereas for areas where you want to relax, you want to choose a colour that isn't stimulating. We'll go through some of these considerations in more detail later in the guide.
When decorating, it's also important to understand the colour wheel, as this can help you decorate. Once you've chosen the main colour of the room, you can use the colour wheel to find other colours to match. There are three ways colours match well:
- Monochrome: This doesn't have to be black and white, but simply means using one colour. To do this well, so that your room doesn't look boring, use different tones and shades of the same colour or hue. You can also mix in neutral colours for something a little extra.
- Contrasting: For a room that pops, choose colours that are side by side on the colour wheel (such as yellow and green, or blue and violet). You can do this with two or three colours, though it's best to stick to the same tone.
- Complementary: Choose colours that are opposite on the colour wheel for a complementary colour scheme. These colours work really well together and can mix warm and cool hues.
Another important consideration when choosing the best carpet colour is the psychology of colours. This can affect the whole mood of a room.
Beige is a neutral colour that is seen as calming. It can be warm or cool to match your room. As this colour matches a wide variety of colours, and is available in both dark and light shades, it's seen as a versatile carpet colour that is suitable for any room.
This bright, light colour can add a feeling of airiness to a room. It gives a feeling of cleanliness and perfection. However, this carpet colour can be difficult to keep clean, so it is best in a room that is not subject to heavy footfall and not likely to be at risk of spillages.
Black can give a feeling of elegance and power. In a carpet, this colour can help to hide stains, and so is a good choice for areas with high footfall. Though it's important to get the rest of the room right, as a carpet in this colour can dominate the eye.
Yellow promotes energy and motivation whilst also being a warming colour. This cheerful colour works well in entertaining rooms or rooms that need motivation, such as an office.
Another warm and energetic colour, red, has an intensity too. Red is seen as a stimulating colour, so it isn't the best choice for rooms where you want to relax.
On the other hand, blue is a soothing colour that can have a calming effect. This makes blue a great carpet colour choice for bedrooms.
Green is a natural colour that can give a room a refreshing feel. This colour is also associated with safety and tranquillity, and so is another good choice for a room where you want to relax.
Purple is often seen as a symbol of luxury and wealth; it can also have a romantic and spiritual element. A carpet in this colour can work well in various rooms, though overall it has a calm and relaxing feel it can also suit a more active room too.
Functional Aspects of Carpet Colour
Depending on your lifestyle and the room you choose a new carpet for, the colour may be influenced by some functionality. This can also be further affected by the carpet material of your choice.
What Carpet Colours are Best for Hiding Stains?
If you have children, entertain regularly, or even if you're looking for carpets for a rental home, a carpet colour that hides stains could be an important factor. When hiding stains, it's not necessarily the colour that'll affect how well the carpet hides stains, but the tone. For hiding stains, opt for a dark-coloured carpet; a dark brown can conceal a number of various stains.
What Carpet Colours are Best for Hiding Dirt?
For entrance halls, or if you have pets, hiding dirt could be on the top of your list. Dark beige and browns carpets are good at hiding dirt. If you want something a bit more exciting darker shades of greens and blues do well at hiding dirt. Another option here is to go for a pattern with various colours.
What Carpet Colours Make a Room Look Bigger?
Once again, it's not necessarily the colour of the carpet that will affect how big a room looks, but the shade. Go for light colours to make a room feel bigger; whether this is a light blue, purple, beige, yellow or cream; as long as the carpet is light, you will give a feeling of space to the room.
Carpet Colour Ideas
Deciding how to decorate a room once you've chosen a carpet colour can often put people off their desired colour. This is why most people end up with a natural carpet colour, such as beige (not that there's anything wrong with that, beige can be a great choice, especially if you like to redecorate often). But if you have your heart set on a bolder colour, don't let the worry of sorting the rest of the room put you off. Here are some décor ideas for carpet colours:
Styling Grey Carpets
Grey is a modern-looking carpet colour that works well with a minimalist style and wood finishes. Grey carpets can also hide spills and dirt, making it a practical choice. Because of this, grey carpets are a great choice for busy areas like hallways and stairways, as well as the lounge.
When it comes to pairing grey carpets with walls, there are plenty of options. Grey can go well with white walls to create an airy space or use bright colours to make your walls stand out. Navy blue is also a good choice if you want a relaxing space.
Styling Blue Carpets
Blue carpets add a calming element to a room, so can be a great choice for a bedroom. This colour can also add sophistication and character to a room. If you're looking for a carpet for a room at risk of spillages, opt for a dark blue.
You have a few choices when pairing walls with a blue carpet. You can keep it simple by using a bold blue carpet with neutral walls. Or you could achieve a coastal look by using whites and soft yellows on the wall. For a highly relaxing space, pair a blue carpet with a blue wall a few shades lighter than the carpet.
Styling Black Carpets
A classic choice, a black carpet can hide dirt and spills. Though this colour can be hard to style, it can create a dramatic and elegant effect if you get it right. Because of its sophistication, this colour carpet works great in living rooms and bedrooms.
When choosing a wall colour to go with a black carpet, you need something lighter. Creams, whites and greys are good choices. But you don't have to shy away from colours including blush pink, yellow, and even emerald colours that can work well with black carpets.
Styling Red Carpets
Red is vibrant, warm and romantic and unusual carpet colour. Red carpets work well in rooms where you want to add playful energy, such as children's rooms, or areas where you want to make a statement. However, a word of warning, certain shades of red carpets can show up stains easily, so choose your material and room wisely.
If you have a red carpet, try neutral yet warm colours for the walls. Or, to tone it down a little, use whites, creams or greys for the wall. Use blues, greens, and yellows for the walls to keep the room playful.
Styling Brown Carpets
Brown is a practical colour for carpets, as it can hide marks and dirt well. However, it can still have a luxurious feel and look; just opt for a deep pile carpet. Because of its practicality and versatility, this colour is popular in living rooms, bedrooms and hallways.
When it comes to styling a room around a brown carpet, it is a versatile colour. Brown carpets go well with greens and blues, as well as creams and beige. You could even create a retro look with yellows, but this is not the easiest style to pull off.
Styling Green Carpets
A tranquil colour, green carpets can also create a sophisticated look if styled right. Depending on the shade, this colour can also do well at hiding stains and dirt. Green carpets can be an excellent choice for bedrooms, hallways and stairs, giving a relaxing and welcoming feel.
Green carpets can also be paired with a variety of wall colours. Pinks and corals can create a laid-back feel. This colour carpet also goes well with warmer shades on the walls. A terracotta or tan wall can work well with a green carpet.
Styling Patterned Carpets
As patterned carpets usually have a variety of colours, it can be intimidating when thinking about how to style a room. Patterned carpets can often become the main feature of a room, and they are practical as they hide dirt and stains. This can make an excellent option for high footfall areas such as a hallway.
When choosing a wall colour to go with a patterend carpet, you don't want to draw attention away from the carpet. So, opt for neutral colours, such as beige. You can also pair your walls with the primary colours from the carpet, but choose only one or two of these colours to keep the walls simple.
Tips for Choosing the Best Carpet Colour
Choosing a carpet colour is a big decision, as you'll likely want your carpet to last years, which can include changes to the walls and décor. So you want a carpet colour that will last, be practical and versatile, as well as suiting your preferences. Here are our tips for choosing a carpet colour:
- Choose the carpet before the wall colour – it's much easier to repaint a wall than get a new carpet
- Coordinate your carpet colour with your current furniture
- Consider the room's needs; is it a high traffic area that needs to hide dirt? Or do you need to create a soft, relaxed space?
- Think about colour psychology – you don't want a stimulating carpet colour in a room where you want to promote relaxation
- If in doubt, go neutral. A neutral carpet is often a good choice, especially if you like to change your décor often, as neutral colours are very versatile.
Whatever carpet colour you are thinking of choosing, or if you have a couple in mind but can't decide, be sure to get some free carpet samples. That way, you can see the colour properly and how it'll look in your room and get an idea of how the material will feel underfoot.