Tips for Picking Out Carpet Color

When it comes to carpet, there are a wide selection of colors available, particularly in shades of beige, grey, and other neutral tones. Rich vibrant blues, reds, greens, oranges, yellows, and purples are colors that are harder to find but are available too. After checking out many brands and colors of carpet I learned some things about choosing the right color. Included here are some tips for picking out the right carpet color for a room and tips to make sure the color you get is the one you really want.

Buying Carpet Online
I was initially disappointed with the selection of colors I found online. On the internet you can check out prices per square foot. However, when it comes to what’s actually for purchase, you may be more likely to find carpet samples online than something to cover your floor. Hardware and flooring stores want you to see the items in person before making a purchase for a whole room. This is a good idea because the colors online are often a poor representative of the colors in person for many items. This is particularly true when it comes to carpet. Some of pictures even show a generic sample of the product instead of the specific color. Read the fine print. When I first started looking this made the color selection seem more limited that what actually was available. In store, I was pleased to find that the colors were actually much brighter, richer and more variable in person compared to the duller, neutral seeming pictures online.

Even In Person, Color Varies
When I found a few samples I liked, I took them home. While looking at them in different rooms I saw how much color varies depending on lighting. For example, greens can look brown, blues can look grey, and yellows can look beige or vice versa. You have to look at samples of the product in the room where the carpet will be installed to see how it will actually look in that particular room. To be more certain of what you’re buying, you’ll have to look at samples with the walls already painted the right color and the blubs you like lighting the room. It took a while, but after looking at a few sample boards from Lowe’s, I did find a color that I consistently liked, no matter the time of day, brightness of the room, or lamp blub type. The attractive mottling variations due to the lay of the pile that was barely noticeable in the small samples showed nicely in the large area of carpet after the install, think of a freshly vacuumed room.

Store Colors
Note that some stores may offer different selections of colors within a brand. Sometimes these may be the same colors, or very near to the same, but with different names, within the same brand. Different brands may use the same name for different colors. Due to how much colors vary and the wide variety of names for them, the only way to tell how close shades are is to have a sample of each in the same room side by side. At both The Home Depot and Lowe’s Home Improvement store I found prices to vary more based on brand, pile height and density, or face weight, not color. This can be useful to note if the store where you bought one carpet has stopped carrying that color when you decide you want to buy it for another room. You may be able to find it at a different store, under a different name. Still, if the walls of the new room are a different color than the old one, the carpet is going to look a little different in the new room.

Don’t Go By the Name
Specific hues are given names that can be imaginative or not, and may or may not match what you have in mind to be typical of that color. Based on the name of one sample online, I was expecting more of a Kelly Green, Dartmouth green, or even forest green. It turned out to be more of an army green if any kind of green at all, as in closer to the tan that’s mixed into army green instead of the actual green. It could be described as more of a shade of a dark khaki or muddy tan. While one store labeled it as a green, at a different store, Martha Stewart brand Carpet sold at The Home Depot, offers a slightly lighter color of similar texture but different material sold as Brook Trout, in the brown or tan category. The surprising connotation of the name, paired with a more expected description of tan or brown, was that while the sample didn’t match the idea of a pretty greenish color it actually made a lovely Brook Trout. I would also like it as mushroom, riverside, or sand. Interestingly, this one did look a lot more like its picture online than I had expected.

When it comes to carpet color, beige is the one that seems to have the widest selection. If you’re looking for a certain one, you have a lot to choose from. There are shades of tan, near white, browns, greens, greys, yellows and more that are all variations of beige flooring. Narrow down your preferred price range, texture, and stain resistance, and start there. Note that some materials have natural stain resistance without any added chemicals.

Consider the Function
Beige is subtle and like any light color it can brighten a room. While light colored flooring can show off stains, it can also make it easier to find messes quickly or catch spiders and other creepy crawlies in your house. It can also make it easier to see the stairs in the dark. Darker floors can hide stains and help darken the room where you sleep. Hallway runners and area rugs of a contrasting color can be placed over any high traffic area or where ever they’re needed or wanted.

Think Long Term, Suit Your Style
When it comes to decorating, carpet is a long term investment. Since you’re the one who will spend a long time living with it, choose something that suits your style and your room, using these tips to be more sure of what you’re purchasing and how it will look once installed.

Personal experience
Shopping for carpet at
Shopping for carpet at

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