Is It A Mistake To Choose Darkly Colored Carpets? Design Pros Weigh In

Choosing a carpet color is a major decision – this material will be covering your floor wall-to-wall, and it can completely redefine the look and feel of a space. When we asked design experts what carpet colors you should avoid, one surprising opinion arose: darkly colored carpets can be a huge mistake. While many people's instinct is to choose a dark carpet color to reduce the amount of staining or maintenance required, folks in the design world actually warn against installing a carpet that's too dark in color. "Dark carpets can make dust and lint more visible, requiring regular vacuuming," Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder of Arsight, said. So anyone who detests pulling out the vacuum every day might want to think again before installing that dark brown carpet. 

Not only do dark carpets create practical issues when it comes to cleaning, but they can also be objectionable for aesthetic reasons. If you're playing around with the idea of getting a dark floor covering, considering these cleaning and design factors could stop you from making a home renovation choice that you'll come to regret.

Why you should avoid dark carpets

The primary reason to avoid darkly colored carpets is the problem with cleaning. Dark floors should not be your first choice, especially if you have kids or pets. Instead of a dark carpet concealing messes, as many would intuitively assume, most dark carpets actually act as a stark backdrop that highlights bits of dust and hair. Think about the color of most dust and lint in your home: when you look at your dusting rag, you'll find that you're mostly picking up gray and light brown debris. Placed against a black or deep brown carpet, dust is going to stand out right away. That doesn't even factor in any pet hair (or human hair!) that's paler in color than the carpet. 

The other problem with darkly colored carpets is the design. Some people love the look of dark floors, but generally speaking, an overly dark carpet will make your room feel tiny and dimly lit. Kropovinsky warns that dark carpets are an especially bad idea for small spaces, explaining that "Extremely dark colors can make a room feel smaller and less inviting, which may not work in already compact spaces." Also, dark colors absorb light, whereas paler colors reflect light. A carpet that's too dark will essentially act like a black hole, sucking out any light or airiness in a room. 

Alternatives to dark carpets

If you're yearning for a dark, moody carpet but want to avoid the cleaning angst and aesthetic downfalls, neutral colors are a good choice, according to Kropinsky. Neutral colors often have a soothing quality and open a space rather than weigh it down. And if you're primary concern is a carpet that's easy to clean, look for medium-shade neutrals that are more similar in color to the dust and hair produced by your household, as it will take much longer for dust to visibly build up in comparison to a dark carpet. 

Just because you're going for a lighter carpet color doesn't mean you need to sacrifice your original design plans — search for neutral shades that belong to the same color family as the darker carpet. For instance, a deep, warm chocolate brown can be swapped out for a toasty caramel beige. Or, if you love the drama of a cool black carpet, consider a light, crisp gray with green or lavender undertones. And remember, you can still incorporate those darker color tones into other elements of the room, such as in the furniture, floor lamps, or decorative accents. As long as you keep your floor a source of light, rather than darkness, you can create a balanced design with any type of color scheme.