New wall-to-wall carpeting makes a room look bigger, cleaner and brighter, much like a fresh coat of paint. Wall-to-wall became the rage after World War II, when nylon production switched from parachutes and tents to carpeting for new suburban ranch houses, according to Emily Morrow, director of design for Shaw Floors. Although wool had been the primary material until then, nylon and other synthetics offered durability and a lower price and now dominate the market. When buying carpet, tell the salesperson about your traffic patterns, kids or pets to determine whether low or plush pile is appropriate. Don’t skimp on padding: Quality pads help carpet wear better and absorb noise.

What’s New

Softness. Major carpet mills have perfected new synthetic fibers that make carpeting feel even softer and more luxurious.

Lower chemical emissions. The Green Label Plus program from the Carpet and Rug Institute continues to identify products with the lowest emissions.

Fuzz-free products. In the past few years, most manufacturers have switched to a type of long-strand nylon fiber that doesn’t shed or pill.


Use window coverings. Avoid exposing your carpet to daily periods of direct sunlight. Make sure your windows are covered with curtains or blinds.

Professionally clean. The Carpet and Rug Institute recommends a deep cleaning by a professional every 12 to 18 months.

Spot Clean. Food and beverage spills and pet accidents should be blotted off quickly and treated with a good carpet-cleaning solution.


Mitchell Ames opened the Carpet Yard in 1980 and has stores in McLean and Fairfax. Ames says Washingtonians are partial to neutral carpeting: More than 60 percent of his customers choose off-white or tan. We asked him for recommendations on three different carpet styles for wall-to-wall installation. In evaluating carpeting, remember that the weight of the carpet is one factor that affects durability. Prices given here include removal and disposal of existing carpeting, upgraded padding and installation.

Shaw Floors Blazer II

This is a basic nylon carpet available in 32 colors. It is protected with a stain-resistant treatment. This carpet has a weight of 25 ounces of yarn per square yard. $22 a square yard.

Shaw Floors Timeless Appeal This carpeting is made with Anso nylon and has recycled fabric content in it. It has a high-quality pliable backing to help prevent wrinkling. It is available in 32 colors and three weights. The medium version’s weight is 58 ounces. $36 a yard for medium weight.

Fabrica Accolade

This high-quality carpet is available in 72 colors and is made with Dupont Stainmaster extra-life nylon. It has a very soft, luxurious feel and a weight of 80 ounces of yarn per square yard. $62 a yard.

Shop Smart

Carpet retailers recommend having a salesperson come to your house first to measure your rooms. Then when you go to the store, the salesperson can advise you on the best choice based on your traffic patterns and needs. You’ll also know how many square feet your job will require so you can work within your budget.

Arrive at the store with paint chips, wallpaper samples, fabric swatches or pillows to help match colors.

Consider using the same carpet choice throughout an entire floor. It improves the flow of the space. You can save yardage and money, because small remnants can be used in closets.


Number of times per week you should vacuum your carpeting in high-traffic areas.

Source: Shaw Floors

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