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Carpets vs Area Rugs

Carpets vs Area Rugs

We tend to use the words carpet and rug interchangeably. Even though they may be made of the same material, they are not necessarily the same thing. Carpet is a thick, fabric floor covering that is installed in a room or rooms in a wall-to-wall manner. Once installed, it is generally not moveable or interchangeable. An area rug is a fabric floor covering that is not installed but laid loose in a room. It is moveable and interchangeable. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of both types of floor coverings.

Carpet Pros

Carpeting offers a variety of favorable characteristics, but these ones stand out above the others when it comes to comparing carpets and rugs.

  • Hides flaws of the underfloor. If your hardwood or tile is old and in need of serious work, carpet may be the answer. Since it goes wall to wall it will cover every inch of the old, distressed existing floor.
  • Warmth. In the winter carpet acts as a heat loss barrier. It helps retain the heat in your home that might otherwise seep into your crawl space or basement, keeping your home warmer and your heating bills a little bit lower.
  • Safety. Trip and fall accidents are greatly reduced on carpet compared to hard flooring. Wall-to-wall carpet adds traction to floors and there are no unevenly laid tiles to trip over.

3 Carpet Cons

Every type of flooring material comes with disadvantages, and carpeting is no exception. Here are three factors to consider when comparing carpets and rugs.

  • Cleaning. Since you can’t roll wall-to-wall carpet up and take it somewhere to clean, you will need call your carpet cleaning technician to schedule periodic deep cleaning.
  • Uneven wear. Some areas in your home are high traffic and some are not. Unlike some types of hard flooring, when carpet gets worn in one area, that section cannot be restored or replaced. The whole carpet will need to be replaced.
  • You can’t take it with you. If you install wall-to-wall carpet and then need to move, the carpet stays with your house. On the plus side, with proper care and professional cleaning, carpeting can be an attractive selling point.

3 Area Rug Pros

We love area rugs for lots of reasons, but here are the top three reasons you might choose area rugs over wall-to-wall carpeting.

  • Easy, inexpensive redecorating. Like throw pillows and other accessories, area rugs are laid loose in a room. When redecorating, it is easy to swap out or move area rugs.
  • Cleaning. Since area rugs aren’t attached to the floor, they can be easily thrown in the washer or taken to the laundromat and put in a heavy-duty washing machine. If they aren’t washable, they can be easily transported by you or your carpet cleaning technician.
  • Cost. Compared to installed wall-to-wall carpeting, area rugs usually are less costly, so they are easier on your budget. You can also reposition area rugs to avoid uneven wear and the cost of replacement.

3 Area Rug Cons

Here are three disadvantages to area rugs compared to wall-to-wall carpeting.

  • Safety. Trip or slip and fall accidents tend to increase with area rugs, because people catch their feet on the edges. Since area rugs are not installed, they can slide, causing accidental falls. A rug pad underneath or anchoring the rug with furniture can help reduce the likelihood of a rug sliding.
  • They don’t generally cover the whole floor. Usually, area rugs are smaller than the room they are in, so if there are issues with the original floor such as stains, scratches or cracked tile, area rugs may not cover all the imperfections.
  • Limited availability of sizes. Unless you are willing to pay top dollar for a custom rug, you will need to choose from preset sizes, such as 4 x 6, 8 x 10, and 10 x 12. If you are unable to find the ones you want in the sizes you need, you’ll have to wait, shop around, or pick something else.

The words “carpet” and “rug” may be used interchangeably, but they each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Once you make a decision about your flooring materials, you can count on us to help you keep your fine surfaces clean, fresh, and inviting.


This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.