Carpet Inlay in Wood Floor – Ideas and Tips

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carpet inlay in wood floor

New flooring can take the interior of your home to the next level. If you are looking to completely rejuvenate your house, new floors can transform it in ways you wouldn’t believe. 

While they are not as popular as they once were, carpet inlays are a unique, easy addition. 

In my time as a contractor, I have seen many different instances of carpet inlays. They are a great way to add an accent piece and get a little bit of extra comfort in a room.

By not covering the whole floor with carpet, you can create a space that is both comfortable and stylish. 

In this article, we have laid out some ideas and tips for adding a carpet inlay to a wood floor. By understanding some of the things you need to consider, you can make good use of this technique. 

Some of the things you should think about with a carpet inlay include: 

  • Transitions
  • Colors
  • Shapes
  • Contrasting and Complimenting

Key Takeaways

Carpet inlay is similar to using a rug, but it’s attached to the floor. They are great for breaking up rooms. Always consider transitions to help you move from carpet to hardwood without tripping. 

Carpet inlays come in a wide range of colors and shapes. With these, you can create spatial illusions and eye-catching features. Do also try to contrast/compliment with wood and carpet, and consider the colors of flooring across your wider home.

What is a Carpet Inlay?

what is a carpet inlay

A carpet inlay is a small section of the floor that is carpeted, usually in a living area. 

This is a similar concept to having an area rug except the carpet is attached to the floor. This way, you don’t have to worry about bunching or other issues that can arise with area rugs. 

Carpet inlays were very popular in mid-century modern homes and can add a touch of class to any room. 

Since the mid-century style is coming back into vogue, many people are wondering about this unique stylistic choice. 

Carpet inlays are a great way to break up a large room into different sections. If, for example, you want a sitting area and a bar area, a carpet inlay can make that delineation. 

This is a great way to get the comfort of carpet without having to install complete wall-to-wall carpeting. However, there are still things that you should consider when thinking about adding a carpet inlay. 

Consider Transitions 

One of the most important considerations you need to make with a carpet inlay is the transition

If you are going to have a carpet inlay on a wood floor, you should have some sort of transition in place. This will not only prevent a tripping hazard, but it will also make the inlay more seamless. 

One of the most popular options is a ramp transition. These transitions are small strips of hardwood that form an angled ramp between the wood and carpet. 

These are perhaps your best option because they look professional and are easy to install. 

However, you can also use a t-molding transition with your carpet inlay. These are small pieces of molding that sit in between the carpet and hardwood. 

One of the downsides of a t-molding transition is the fact that they have a bit of a rise, which can be awkward.

Finding the right kind of transition for your particular home can help make a carpet inlay a stylish addition. 

Get Creative With Colors 

One of the best things about carpeting is that it comes in all kinds of colors

A carpet inlay is a fantastic opportunity to have an accent piece in your space. Thinking about colors can help you make the most of your carpet inlay. 

Many times, people will paint a wall with a bolder color than the rest of the house. With a carpet inlay, you can apply this same principle to the floor. 

By choosing unique colors for the inlay, you can also create the illusion of space. Darker colors on the floor can help create height in the room, which may be important in your home. 

Think About Shapes 

think about shapes

There are also no limits when it comes to the shapes of your carpet inlay. 

Many inlays are square or rectangular to mimic the look of an area rug. However, you are not restricted to these shapes if you want something unique. 

One of the interesting things you can do with shapes is put an inlay into a corner. This way, you can get a triangular-shaped inlay that will be unique and very useful. 

You can also experiment with circular shapes if you want something that sets your home apart. 

To try out shapes, try cutting a piece of cardboard into the shape you are considering. Place it in different areas of the room and see where it fits best and how it will look. 

Compliment and Contrast

Carpet inlays give you a wonderful opportunity to compliment and contrast the look of your home. 

Depending on the color and type of hardwood you have different carpet colors will have different effects. Experiment with carpet samples to see which colors provide the best contrast or enhancement to the wood. 

You can also use the carpet color to reference other colors in your home. This kind of mixing and matching is a great way to use carpet inlays as a subtle design element. 

Frequently Asked Questions

faq carpet inlay in wood floor

Can I put carpet on wooden flooring?

Carpet on wood flooring is a classic look and both of these materials complement each other well. By using both of these materials for your home, you can create a great mix of comfort and style. 

A carpet inlay is a good way to combine these two flooring materials. 

How do you tuck the threshold of carpet?

If you don’t want to use transition strips, you can simply tuck in the carpet. 

To do this, tuck it under itself at the threshold. Then, nail it down so it is completely flat and doesn’t stick up past the height of the carpet. 

What kind of flooring looks good next to hardwood?

Carpet is a great option for an inlay with hardwood. It provides a fantastic contrast and helps soften the wood flooring. 

Ceramic tile and linoleum also work very well with hardwood under the right circumstances.


Carpet inlays are a classic way to combine hardwood and carpeting. By understanding what you need to consider when installing them, you can create something truly unique. 

Thinking about the above things will get you the best result for your home. 

Photo of author


Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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