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If you’re renovating your home to increase its resale value, then you have to avoid this deadly mistake: installing wall-to-wall carpeting on your floors.
According to Forbes magazine, carpeted floors can turn away prospective buyers, and even lower your home’s value. They think it looks cheap, feel that it’s “dirty”, or simply dislike the carpet because of health conditions or personal style.
In contrast, a USA Today study found that 54% of homebuyers are willing to pay more money for a house that has hardwood floors.
This is especially true for younger buyers who are between the ages of 35 and 54. Only retirees who are above 60 years old prefer carpets because of insulation.
The Spruce also reported that hardwood floors are easier to sell, sell for more money, and sell faster. Unfortunately, Zillow and Realtor don’t really have a lot of data that compare homes that use carpets versus wooden floors, but the general consensus is that people think hardwood “looks more luxurious.”
Why do home buyers avoid carpets?
For home sellers, carpets are an easy way out. The material is affordable, it’s fast and easy to install, and there’s a huge range of colors to choose from. However, it’s risky to ignore a clear and growing trend. People just don’t like carpets, and this is why.
People are more conscious about allergies and irritants
As people become more aware of health, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re steering clear of “pollutants” in their home environment.
Unfortunately, carpets attract dust and can harbor mold and other microorganisms, especially if the home is prone to damp. Some people are also allergic to carpet fibers or dust mites, or have skin sensitivities.
Carpets are harder to maintain
Carpets need to be constantly vacuumed, and they’re prone to stains. If there’s a leak, or if they accidentally leave a window open during a rain shower, the water will leave a distinct mark. And everyone knows the horror of spilling red wine on a light-colored carpet!
That’s why most families with young children will steer clear of any homes that have carpets. For them, one of the most important criteria for choosing a property is that it is child-friendly and easy to clean, and carpets don’t fit the bill.
That’s also true for homeowners that have pet (and about 70% of American households do, according to Statista). They will also be concerned about fur clinging to the carpet, and cleaning up after any “accidents”. Any other floor—hardwood, marble, even vinyl tyles—is much easier to disinfect.
Flooring is an important design element
Current interior design trends place a lot more emphasis on the look and quality of the flooring. The material and finish of hardwood complements some of the most popular trends, from the Rustic Country escape or the Modern Scandinavian play between wood, white and metal.
The preference for wood is also driven by a growing interest in everything “natural and organic”.
Homeowners like including elements of nature into their home, and retaining their original character. Carpets, on the other hand, are perceived as synthetic and manufactured.
Carpets can look outdated
Carpets were actually popular decades ago, but that actually works against it. Today, carpets may often bring back memories of grandma’s house, along with vintage wall paper and garden gnomes.
To be fair, carpeting has come a long way in the last 50 years. There are more materials, and modern colors and styles.
But it’s hard to overcome the initial impression—and even if home buyers are open to a few carpets in their homes, they would like to pick the design themselves.
People prefer area rugs
Instead of carpets, people now like the look of area rugs set against a hardwood floor. The rugs are able to add color and comfort, or even act as a focal point of the room. They can muffle sound, create a soft area for kids to play in, and help insulation.
However, area rugs can also be easily replaced or switched out whenever they want to redecorate—something they can’t do with a carpet.
Do home buyers like carpets in their bedrooms?
Perhaps the only place where homebuyers may welcome a carpet is in the bedroom, because of some clear benefits.
- Carpets can make a bedroom feel cozier. The softer material can make a space look more relaxed and inviting, or mimic the effect of a five-star hotel room.
- Carpets muffle sound. They can get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, without fear of waking up their partner.
- Carpets are comfortable. You can sit on a carpet without feeling cold. Since many people will sit on their bedroom floors—while watching TV, playing with kids, or squeezing in a yoga workout before bed—this flooring suits their needs perfectly. Some carpet materials are particularly soft and fluffy, which can make you feel like you’re walking on clouds.
- Carpets help with insulation. Carpets can help maintain the bedroom temperature, and won’t have cold spots (nobody likes walking on a cold floor while walking barefoot to the bathroom).
In this sense, installing a carpet in the bedroom is less of a no-no than installing it in other rooms of the house, such as the living room or entry way.
What kind of carpets should be used in bedrooms?
However, interior designers say that there’s a right and wrong way of using carpets in the bedroom, especially if you’re reselling the home. You have to overcome concerns about carpets – maintenance, health, and style – and show that your bedroom carpets are better than what they expect.
- Make sure it’s hypo-allergenic. Materials like nylon, olefin and polypropylene are naturally resistant to mold and mildew, which can minimize allergic reactions. Natural fibers like wool repel dust mites and attract less dust particles than other fibers, but there are people who allergic to it.
- Look at the weave. Carpets that have tighter and denser weaves are less likely to trap dust and other allergens.
- Get the GreenGuard rating. Recently, homebuyers are concerned about VOC (volatile organic compounds) that are released by chemicals during manufacturing. These VOCs have been linked to respiratory and skin problems. You can allay their concerns by getting carpets that have a GreenGuard rating for low emissions.
- Look for a stain-friendly color. A white or cream carpet may help a room look bigger, but they are a nightmare to clean up. Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes and pick a carpet color or pattern that can take the wear, tear and dirt of daily use and still look clean and pretty.
- Don’t go wall-to-wall. If you’re going to use a carpet, consider leaving some areas in the bedroom bare. It adds visual contrast and texture, and you can still provide a hardwood floor area while spending less on renovations.
- Consider your target buyer. Who is more likely to buy your home: a young family, a newly married couple, or seniors? This can help you choose the carpet designs, colors and materials that will most likely appeal to them.
Will carpeted bedrooms increase my home resale value?
New carpet will not increase value the same way hardwood floors will. While home buyers are open to having carpets in bedrooms, they don’t actively look for it or pay more for it.
In their minds, carpeting is not an added bonus, but something they can either live with (or live without).
But, unlike the homes that are fully carpeted in every room, carpeted bedrooms are not a deal-breaker. As long as the rest of the house has high quality flooring, and the bedroom carpets are tastefully done, you can still command a good price for your home.
Carpets vs Hardwood Bedroom Floors: What should a renovator use?
When you renovate your home, you have to think long-term. What is the home buyer looking for? What can increase the property’s resale value, or help a home sell faster so you can get back your investment?
Carpets can lower renovation costs, but have risks. There’s a clear trend towards hardwood flooring, but there are some home buyers that won’t mind having carpets in their bedrooms.
Unfortunately, those who look for carpets may have specific allergies, preferences or concerns. It’s hard to second-guess what they want or what is on trend, unless you have experience in renovating homes for resale.
In other words, the home buyer may prefer carpets over hardwood, but you’re not sure what kind of carpet they want. If they hate your choice, and that affects their overall perception of the bedroom, you may end up losing the sale.
In this situation, hardwood flooring is a “safer” and “universal” choice, though it may be more expensive to install. If budget is an issue, consider looking for affordable kinds of wood flooring, or using a combination of carpet and wood in the bedroom.
Taking this safe route will allow you to appeal to all kinds of home buyers—whether or not they prefer hardwood or carpet in the bedroom.