Carpet or Hardwood in the Bedroom: Which Option is Best for You?

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carpet or hardwood in the bedroom

Are you thinking about putting new flooring in your bedroom? New flooring can be exciting, but choosing the right one can be difficult. It doesn’t help that there are more choices today than ever before.

Two of the most popular options for bedroom flooring are carpet and hardwood. Which option is best for you and your needs, though? In this review, we will compare both carpet and hardwood, with a specific interest in bedroom installation.

We will look at all the various consideration factors and help you decide which is the one for you. From the pros and cons to the styles and features, this article will cover it. Read on to find out if carpet or hardwood is the right choice for your specific situation.

Best Rooms for Carpet and Hardwood

Carpet and hardwood both have their places in our homes. But which rooms make the most sense?

  • Living Room. The living room gets the most traffic and use but also requires the most noise reduction and comfort. Both hardwood and carpet are viable options here.
  • Bedrooms. Bedrooms can also benefit from both hardwood and carpet, but carpet takes the advantage with noise reduction and warmth.
  • Wet Areas. Neither hardwood or carpeting hold up well to moisture and flooding. Wet areas like mud rooms or laundry areas are better with tile or vinyl.
  • Kitchen and Bath. Laminate and vinyl are better options in the kitchen and bathroom due to potential splashing or water damage.
  • Entryways and Hallways. Entryways and hallways get walked on a lot. They also have the most chances of gathering dirt, mud, debris and dust. Hardwood is a better option over carpet for these areas because it is easier to clean these types of messes.

Buyer’s Guide: Carpet Vs. Hardwood

buyers guide carpet or hardwood

Before you can decide which option is the right one for you and your home’s needs, you need to consider all the factors. Below we will look at the most important decision making factors for carpet and hardwood side by side.

Coverage Area/Project Size

The coverage size, or square foot measurement, of your bedroom is one of the most important aspects you can collect. Knowing the size of your bedroom will help with material selection, costs and much more. This measurement will also help you estimate installation and labor costs.

While most bedrooms are of average size, it is still important to know that hardwood and carpet both have some limitations. Extra large spaces may need transitions molding, additional support or other installation requirements.

Both options can easily be installed in room sizes that bedrooms come in. From small sizes to over sized bedrooms, both carpet and hardwood are equally capable.

Subfloor Condition and Type

Homes have subfloors of all types, but the most common are plywood and concrete. Both options can have either carpet or hardwood installed on top of them, but there are things to consider.

For concrete subfloors you will need either carpet padding or floating floor padding (called an underlayment). In almost all cases you will also need a moisture barrier to protect the underside of the flooring. With hardwood, this is more important than with carpeting.

For plywood subfloors you will still need carpet padding, but hardwood planks can be installed directly on top. However, the plywood needs to be in great repair. If there are any cracks, damaged areas or worse, you must get them corrected before installing either carpet or hardwood.

Furniture and Floor Use

Wear and tear on your floors is going to happen. The more you use the floor, walk over it and place heavy furniture on it, the faster it will wear down. This is to be expected, but the rate of wear is what is important.

Hardwood is sturdy and durable, but even the strong wooden planks will dent, warp and scratch when heavy bedroom furniture is placed on top of it. This won’t mean the planks will break or crack, but if you like to move furniture around, you may have to deal with dents in your floor.

Carpet doesn’t scratch or dent, but the pile will mat and flatten. It can even wear thin in high traffic areas over time leaving paths or trails in the flooring that are exposed when you move your bed or dresser.

With high quality flooring, proper, professional insulation, though, wear and tear will be at a minimum. Even with high foot traffic, heavy furniture and constant moving, you should still expect at least a decade from your carpet and up to 20 years from hardwood flooring.

Flooring Type Options

The two flooring choices come with several options. Each one has their own set of pros and cons, but depending on your needs and expectations, this can be a good thing.

For hardwood flooring your first optional choice is to go with solid hardwood or engineered hardwood. From there you can select wood species, the brand or manufacturer and even tones, colors or grain patterns. You will also need to decide if you are installing floating floors (planks) or nailed or glued options (boards).

For carpet, your options are much more varied. Not only do you need to pick a brand and style, but you have to consider the pile height, style and pattern of the fibers, color, backing, padding and installation options. On top of all that, there are hundreds of colors, patterns and thicknesses to consider, too.

While carpet gives you more options or choices, hardwood isn’t without its features as well. Both make for a difficult decision if you go in without a clear idea of what you want. It is always a good idea to have a plan and idea of what you want before you start shopping.

Brands and Line Ups

As you have plenty of colors, styles and features to choose from, one of the first (and arguably hardest) is to pick a brand. Each brand has their own lines up and series of flooring to choose from, too, which makes the decision even harder.

With hardwood flooring, each brand has a different take on their board construction, the wood types they offer and how the flooring is put together. Some will include four layers while others may only include three. Solid wood flooring may or may not come with an underlayment. Everything needs to be decided to help narrow down which brands offer what you need.

The same can be said for carpet as well. Some of the larger and premium brands will have over 200 options for you. You will find some only offer a certain material, some offer only synthetic or only natural fibers and others only offer a specific cut or style.

As we have mentioned before, knowing what you want (even with some room for change or negotiation) will help your initial decisions go that much smoother.

Installation Methods

How you plan to have the new bedroom flooring installed is also something to consider. For these two options, though, your choices are almost made for you. There are situations, though, where you can opt for different installation aspects.

For example, with carpet you will almost always want professional installation. However, carpet removal and subfloor inspection can be done as a DIY project. If you are opting to go with glue-down carpet tiles, those can also be installed by the homeowner, though they may not be best suited in a bedroom.

Because of the meticulous nature of hardwood flooring a professional is almost always wanted or required. If you want to install hardwood as a DIY project, your best option is to use engineered hardwood planks instead of solid hardwood. 

Warranty Coverage

As with any other product the warranty coverage will come into play based on the scope of the investment. You want your flooring protected should anything happen, but that coverage will vary.

Some brands will offer a wear and tear warranty or even extend it to fade and stain resistance. Rarely, though, will any flooring warranty cover more than that once it is installed. Make sure that you read through any warranty paperwork before you buy.

Not only do you need to know what is required on your part for the warranty to take effect, but you also want to review the claim process. Some warranties, for example, may require registration of the purchase within a certain time frame. Others may require professional installation.

With hardwood flooring the typical warranty will cover the floor for 20 to 25 years. There are some coverages, though, that will cover certain aspects such as staining or fading or even pet damage for life.

Carpet warranties are about the same with varying degrees of coverage and terms. Many will require professional installation and registration of the purchase within 60 to 90 days. Once installed, though, some brands (even large and popular ones) will remove any defect or damage coverage once the carpet is installed.

Costs of the Flooring

Finally, the initial and upfront costs need to be addressed and considered. Not only do you need to factor in the square foot pricing of your chosen floor, but installation and labor as well. This will also include any accessories, equipment or tools needed for the project, too.

Depending on floor type, brand, style, features and options and even who performs the installation, your prices can vary greatly.

Hardwood flooring will typically be more expensive than carpet upfront, but it will also generally last much longer, evening out the cost difference in the end. Considering that most homeowners will go for mid- to high-end range floor brands (excluding entry level and premium options) a typical bedroom install will cost between $500 and $1500, installed.

For carpet you can pay a lot less for higher quality carpet, but the installation is usually where the higher costs come from. With carpet (installed) you can expect to pay between $5 and $8 per square foot, or about $450 to $1200, depending on room size.

Hardwood Vs. Carpet in the Bedroom

hadrwood vs carpet in bedroom

Installing carpet or hardwood in your bedroom isn’t always a straightforward decision. In this section we will compare hardwood installs versus carpet installs to help you figure out which is the best choice. 

Cleaning the Floors

One of the biggest pain points is keeping your floors clean. With hardwood flooring the cleaning routine is fairly simple. For the most part all you need is a broom and dustpan. Depending on your foot traffic and region, this may be a weekly chore or more often if needed.

With the proper hard floor rated vacuum, you can make the task even quicker. You will also need to spot clean messes with damp mopping following manufacturer directions. You will also need to refinish or polish the floor. This is usually an annual chore which takes little time away from your normal daily tasks.

Carpeting requires a vacuum for proper cleaning. Like the hard floor polishing, you may also need to use a carpet shampooer once a year (or more). Beyond this, though, carpet doesn’t need a lot more. In a bedroom where there isn’t constant foot traffic, it is made even easier.

Noise Reduction

One thing homeowners choose a flooring type for is to help dampen excess noise. Carpet is one of the best insulators when it comes to noise reduction as it absorbs sound, prevents footstep and echo noises and can even reduce noise from outside.

Hardwood flooring is almost the opposite. The solid wood planks will absorb some noise compared to a plywood or concrete subfloor, but they can actually amplify echoes. Walking, talking, outside noises and even the vibration from fans can be magnified on hard flooring.

Aging and Aesthetics

Unlike carpet, hardwood (solid and engineered) age pretty well. With proper cleaning and maintenance, as well as upkeep, your floors will look great for decades. Some woods are even designed to discolor overtime to add a more rustic or natural look to your floor without compromising the texture and performance.

Carpet will not age as well and the longer it is installed and used, the more wear and tear will show. Of course this isn’t an overnight change, but a gradual one. Higher quality carpets can last 10 to 15 years without showing any signs of damage or wear, but you will pay more for these options.

Damage Repair or Replacement

If your carpet gets damaged, stained or worn down there are a couple of options. You can always replace the entire room with new carpeting. This may be your only option if the damage is severe or the carpet is older.

You may also be able to patch it if you have remnants of the original style and brand to make an exact match. However, this can be a tedious job and depending on the state of the rest of the floor, the color of the carpet and how old the original is, that patch may be quite noticeable.

Hardwood flooring can be resurfaced a few times to help keep the floor smooth, even and looking great. Some engineered planks can be sanded and refinished a time or two as well. If a board does get damaged beyond a resurface fix, that individual board can be replaced. While it can be a difficult task, replacing one board is much cheaper than redoing your entire floor.

Resale Value

Adding new flooring can help you sell your home if you are putting it on the market. However, new carpet will look good but doesn’t add anything beyond aesthetics to the home. It can also be hit or miss with a potential buyer. Some will see it as you do and love the look and style. Others may see it as a replacement cost, even if it is brand new.

Hardwood flooring, though, is still the only flooring type that can actually increase the resale value of your home. Solid hardwood and engineered hardwood, both, can add value to the home and get you a better asking price. The amount will vary depending on several factors, but if you are looking to get the most from the sale, hardwood install is the way to go.

Heating and Cooling

One of the most universal dislikes is waking up to put bare feet on a cold floor. For this instance, carpet is the better option. Carpet retains warmth and prevents a cold shock to your feet when you first wake up. However, there are very few reliable carpet types that allow for radiant heat installs which can make the winter mornings enjoyable.

Hardwood is a cold surface and doesn’t retain heat at all. With hardwood in the bedroom you will have more instances of cold feet mornings than not. However, hardwood has more options that allow for radiant heat installation to have a nice, heated floor each and every morning.

Heating and cooling your floors is not something everyone has the budget for, but if you do plan to install hardwood in the bedroom it may be worth researching, before you install the planks.

Installation Methods

As we touched on earlier, installation of both carpet and hardwood in the bedroom should be performed by a professional. With rare exception this will always be the best option. Those rare exceptions, though, can become more common.

For carpet, about the only time you want to install as a DIY project is when you are gluing carpet tiles. With wall to wall carpet, though, you need the tools, equipment and experience to ensure it is done correctly.

For hardwood flooring, the solid hardwood can be a DIY project if you have the skills with the tools and knowledge of how the flooring should be placed. Engineered hardwood is much easier to install by yourself, but still takes a practiced hand.

The biggest downside to DIY installs is that you will not get a warranty for the install or labor. In some cases, the flooring warranty may be voided as well, so make sure you check that before starting the install.

If you do decide to go professional, you can use our app to find a well vetted, rated and reviewed contractor in your area. It is free to use, returns only local professionals and can help you get your floors installed sooner. Give it a try today.

Cost and Warranty Coverage

The biggest factor for many is the overall cost of the flooring, install and upkeep overtime. When comparing carpet to hardwood floors, the clear winner is carpet. Even with professional installation of carpet and a DIY install of hardwood floors, carpet will almost always work out to be more affordable.

With carpet, you pay by the square foot for both the carpet and the installation. On average, high-quality, long lasting carpet with a good warranty will run about $8 per square foot, installed. Your actual cost will vary, of course, with typical carpet ranges falling between $4 and $15 per square foot.

For hardwood flooring, the solid boards will be the most expensive with just the flooring reaching upwards of $15 to $18 per square foot. Engineered hardwood is cheaper by almost half, but the installation fees are about the same for both options (US average of $5 per square foot).

However, hardwood will almost always have the better warranty. Stain, fade, wear, damage, scratch and dent coverage is available with most brands starting at about 20-years of coverage. There are a few high end options that offer lifetime coverage, too.

Pros and Cons of Carpet in the Bedroom

pros and cons of carpet in the bedroom

With the good, so must you take the bad. As the saying implies, there are pros and cons to everything. Installing carpet in your bedroom has specific advantages and disadvantages, which we examine in the chart below.

ProsCons
More affordable than hardwoodRequires professional installation
Hundreds of styles and colors to choose fromCannot easily be repaired
Adds sound dampening and warmth to the roomWon’t last as long as hardwood
Easy to clean and maintain 
Lower installation costs 
Readily available in all regions 

Pros and Cons of Hardwood in the Bedroom

Like carpet, hardwood has its own set of pros and cons. We outline those advantages and disadvantages in the chart below so you can easily compare the two.

ProsCons
Adds resale value to homeMore expensive than carpet
Long lasting flooring solutionCold underfoot
Easy cleaning and upkeepDIY install may void warranty
Can be repaired or resurfaced 
DIY install optional 
Various wood species available 

Best Brands and Styles of Carpet and Hardwood for Your Bedroom

When it comes to buying new flooring for your home, you want something that has a good review rating, is readily available and something that looks and performs well over time. There are many brands out there offering both carpet and hardwood solutions, but some stand out more than others.

Be it because of the warranties, the styles and colors or even the cost, there are some brands that are better than others, more popular and are more available. Names like Shaw flooring and Mohawk Floors will top most lists at any time.

However there are other brands that have stood the test of time such as Phenix and Stanton that also stand out. When you compare engineered and solid hardwood, there are the typical names at the top like Mohawk, of course. But you can’t discount some budget-friendly options like Lumber Liquidators, Somerset or Armstrong.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq carpet or hardwood in the bedroom

In this section we will answer the most common questions about carpet and hardwood installation in the bedroom. If you have further questions, you can use the comment section below.

Q. What colors are best for bedroom carpeting?

  1. Most interior decorators agree that neutral colors work best in a bedroom. They will not distract or clash with your furniture and in most cases will be even less expensive than vibrant colors or mosaic pattern styles.

Q. Is hardwood healthier than carpet?

  1. With regular cleaning and maintenance both flooring types are about equal when it comes to health concerns. However, if you aren’t a regular cleaner, carpet can hold dust, dirt and allergens that can affect those with asthma or allergies more than hardwood floors.

Q. How often should you replace carpet in the bedroom?

  1. A lot of factors go into carpet replacement schedules. However, the general rule of thumb is to replace carpet every 6 to 8 years. In a bedroom, though, there is generally less foot traffic and less cleaning and maintenance required, which can add a few years to that schedule.

Conclusion

If you need to install new flooring in your bedroom, you may contemplate hardwood or carpet. These are the two most popular flooring options for bedrooms but carpet has the slight advantage. With a cheaper installation, easy cleaning and care as well as the sound dampening and warmth, it is a better choice for most.

This doesn’t mean it is the right choice for you, though, and hardwood has a lot of benefits. If you add radiant heating you can avoid cold floors in the morning and with proper home insulation noise may not be a factor anyway.

Only you can decide which is the right option for you, but hopefully this review has helped guide you to a final decision you can be happy with.

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AUTHOR

Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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