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I have always been interested in home design and dreamed of creating a beautiful home complete with all the details. In that dream, my floors have been beautiful dark hardwood floors in just about every room except the the bedrooms.
Now that I’m a mom, though, I’m finding that this dream is changing a bit. I still love the look of a nice hardwood floor, but I’m discovering carpet is actually a better alternative for this stage in our life, as much as it pains me to say it.
When we first moved into our house, I wanted to replace the carpet in our living room and hallway with a beautiful hardwood that extended into the kitchen and laundry room to cover the laminate they already had. However, my husband, who is a fan of carpet and not spending money, convinced me that with the baby on the way, we would appreciate the carpet. And you know what? He was right.
So, here we go. I’m actually making a case for carpet…
Pros to Carpet
1. Soft support for baby and kids
Babies spend a lot of time on the floor learning how to advance to rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing, and eventually walking. Because we kept our plush carpet, our son has had a great place to explore and practice all of these new tricks without us worrying much about head or other body injuries from a hard floor. I can’t even count the number of times he’s tipped over or fell down and hit his head on the floor. When that happens, though, he just rolls it off and moves on. However, if he does that on our laminate kitchen floor, we expect tears…big tears!
Also, I’m a mom to a boy, and I know that means future wrestling sessions with his father, friends, and potential siblings, another advantage to carpet!
2. Cozy appearance
Well-kept carpet can create a cozy atmosphere, which is something I’m striving to do in each room in my house. I want a warm, welcoming house for our kids and guests to come home to. Carpet helps define a space; we know exactly where the living room end and the kitchen starts.
3. Cold feet no more
If you live somewhere tropical and sunny year-round, this point probably won’t mean much, but for those of you who live through the harsh cold of winter, carpet definitely becomes your friend. Have you ever walked across a hardwood floor in the winter? Suuuuuper cold. Carpet helps keep your toes warm…and you don’t have to worry about slipping while wearing fuzzy slipper socks (Yes, definitely speaking from experience here…)
4. Easy to clean
Now, some people would argue with this point. Let me just say that I’d much rather push a vacuum than sweep AND mop. I also just experienced a major puking episode that covered a major portion of my living room carpet. After a session with a carpet cleaner we rented from Dollar General (yes, Dollar General, of all places, has Rug Doctors you can rent for 24 hours!), our carpets are good to go and smell fresh and clean. I’m still a fan of carpet even after that.
I also have an indoor dog who sheds, and I still prefer carpet. I will say that carpet traps his hair more, but I just compensate by vacuuming more. Our vacuum is lightweight and easy to use. It also targets pet hair, so even with a pet, I still choose carpet (for now). If you’re looking for a good, cheap, lightweight, pet-friendly/hair-destroyer vacuum, this* is a good one to check out. We bought it as newly-married, still-in-college, need-something-to-get-by and ended up really liking it. This vacuum has a bright future in our household.
*This is the newer version of our vacuum cleaner. We bought ours almost three years ago now. Ours does not have the retractable cord, nor does it look quite as fancy, so it looks like this one is even better than the one we have!
Cons to Carpet
I know, I know, I just said it was easy to clean, and it IS…for easy stains. There are some things that can really stain a carpet that no amount of carpet cleaner will remove, unfortunately. Imagine grape juice or red wine… Even though it’s cozy and easy to vacuum, you do gamble a bit with carpet and the possibility of some gruesome stains. There’s always patchwork replacement options for the worst of them, though.
If you or someone in your house struggles with allergies, carpet may not be the best option. Carpet can really trap known allergens like dust, animal hair, pollen from outside, etc., making your “safe haven” not so safe.
This can refer back to stains in some instances, but have you ever spilled just plain water on carpet? Even after all the blotting, it doesn’t instantly dry like a hard, non-porous material would. Then, have you ever walked across that wet spot? Ugh, one of the worst feelings. I hate stepping in something wet and the instant “oh-my-gosh-please-don’t-be-pee” feeling I get.
Now, onto the hardwood pros and cons. I’ll be honest, I still prefer my carpet for this stage in life, but there will likely be a stage in life where I make the switch.
Pros to Hardwood Floors
One of the major advantages to hardwood floors is the uniformity they provide, especially in open concept floor plans. The designer in me hates that I currently have mismatched flooring (but doesn’t win out over the practical side in me right now).
I personally think that hardwood floors offer a more high-end finish compared to carpet. Beautiful wood stained the perfect color really classes up a room.
Hardwood floors really stand the test of time. There are 100 year old houses that still have their original wood floors! You don’t see that with carpet or other flooring options. Hardwood floors can be sanded down and refinished, and if you spill something on them, it can be easily wiped up with no harm done.
Like I said, some people will argue with me about choosing vacuuming over sweeping. That’s my preference, but I know it isn’t everyone’s. Before we lived in the house we’re in now, I actually vacuumed my wood floors because I hated sweeping them. To each her own, right? Hardwood floors can be easily swept, which to some people, is a major advantage.
Cons to Hardwood Floors
1. Endless sweeping
I didn’t notice this as much in our rental house before we moved to Oklahoma. Maybe it was the color of the floor; maybe it was the fact that we didn’t have a dog or a child; probably both. However, in the house we owned before this one, I felt like I needed to sweep allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll the time. Every time the sun would shift and come in from a new angle, I’d see a patch of dust/dog hair that I had missed and would find myself sweeping yet again. Yes, this is probably where my aversion to sweeping really began. As gross as it sounds, carpet can hide dirt better than hardwood floors. Out of sight, out of mind, right? As much as I strive to keep my house clean, I can’t keep it constantly clean, which is where the illusion that it’s clean really comes in handy!
Yes, with all that sweeping comes mopping. I almost despise mopping as much as sweeping. Almost. What got me through was my Swiffer WetJet. I like that mop as much as a person who hates mopping can like a mop. My mom also really likes her steam mop, similar to this one. Depending on the flooring in our next house, I’ll likely look into getting one for myself as well.
3. Lack of warmth
I don’t mean this aesthetically; I mean this literally. Wood floors are cold, especially in the winter. Unless you have the extra resources to heat your wooden floors (soooooooo amazing), I wouldn’t want to walk barefoot across them while it’s below freezing outside.
With the way houses are designed these days, it seems like carpet is not a popular flooring option to use in main living spaces. I used to fall into that trap, but no more! Well, at least not for now 😉 Eventually the “design Brooke” will win over the “practical Brooke,” but that day is nowhere close to now. Whichever you choose, choose the one that best works for your family right now and you won’t regret it!
I’d love to hear others’ opinions on the great carpet/hardwood debate! (Ok, it’s not really a great debate, but we can just pretend that it is!)