Clean, white walls are an ideal backdrop to any color scheme or design aesthetic. They’re a springboard for the imagination, so choosing furnishings, curtains, and carpets for an all-white room is tricky. What are the best carpet colors for white walls?
The best carpet colors for white walls will depend on your needs. A white carpet is minimalist but hard to keep clean. Neutrals (gray, beige, and cream) are versatile and practical, while colorful and patterned carpets add character to a space. Choose a darker shade for balance, drama, and neatness.
Buying any carpet is an investment, so you must be sure you’ve chosen the perfect color. But it can be overwhelming when you start looking at all the gorgeous colors and patterns available. To help you, here are my recommendations for choosing the right color carpet for white walls.
Choosing the Best Carpet Colors for White Walls
Before discussing carpet colors, let’s get our terminology straight. The words “rug” and “carpet” are often used interchangeably to mean a thick fabric floor covering, often with a pile or texture, intended for decoration and comfort.
However, in the US, carpet refers to the wall-to-wall variety affixed to the floor. Rugs are loose, smaller items that can be rolled up and moved (like a “magic carpet”).
Because a carpet is installed in your home, choosing the right color is crucial: it’s an expense and effort you don’t want to repeat regularly.
Consider these questions to choose the best color carpet for your white-walled room. Your answers will help to decide on the ideal carpet color:
- What color scheme and design aesthetic do you want?
- Do you feel the need to be on-trend?
- Is the room small and dark? Does it need brightening?
- What is the function of the room? What atmosphere does it need?
- Does the room get a lot of foot traffic?
- Will the room be accessed from outside?
- Do you have children or pets that will track dirt?
- How often do you want to clean the carpet?
- Do you have the resources to replace the carpet regularly?
When to Choose White Carpets
Let’s begin with choosing white carpets to go with your white walls. This stunning combination works in the following situations.
Low Traffic Areas
This spectacular look works well in low-traffic areas, as dirt and dust will show up immediately on a white carpet. Instead, indulge in the look of a luxurious, hotel-like bedroom.
You can go for white carpets if you’ve got a busy family with pets and children if you’re willing to have the carpets cleaned regularly.
White-on-white is a stunning monochrome, minimalist look. White furniture and soft furnishings make a striking impact, while golden or dark wood glows against the snowy background. To prevent the room from becoming stark or sterile, layer up different textures and slightly different shades of white to guide the eye around the room.
A white carpet in a room with white walls will look large and airy, creating the illusion of space and height. Always choose lighter shades if you want the feeling of openness and expanse.
When to Choose Neutrals
Neutral colors, including beige, gray, and taupe, are the best-selling carpeting shades. Here are the reasons to choose neutral carpets with your white walls.
Installing and replacing carpets is expensive, even if you choose budget-friendly options. Choosing neutral colors means you won’t have to replace your carpet when trends change.
Practical colors like gray and beige mean you don’t have the mess and expense of pulling up and putting down new carpets every few years.
Choosing a neutral color allows you to scatter colorful rugs on top, repaint the walls, or recover the sofa to update the look.
A brightly colored carpet can overwhelm a room easily, whereas neutral flooring always has an elegant simplicity.
A cream or ivory-colored carpet and white walls anchor several possible aesthetics, including the on-trend eco-chic, coastal grandma, and Scandi styles.
Layering earthy hues and natural textures like wicker or rattan creates interest in a gentle color palette. Consider a creamy frieze or shag carpet to add subtle depth and personality.
You could also put down darker colored neutrals, like warm taupe, in a family living room, especially if you’ve decorated in English country or a rustic style.
Neutral carpets are ideal when paired with white walls to make a room appear bigger and brighter. Instead of white, which can look grubby quickly, consider a light gray carpet in a soft, woolen texture for smaller bedrooms. Or try a hard-wearing tan or terracotta for a living room or home office.
High Traffic Areas
Neutrals are excellent for hiding obvious dirt in high traffic areas: choose an agreeable gray for staircases, for example, with a pleasing texture.
Choose a slightly mottled carpet rather than a solid color if you’re worried about the carpet showing dirt. For example, Berber carpeting has a lighter beige or brown background, randomly patterned with darker flecks, and a robust looped or knotted texture.
The term “Berber” means the carpet is inspired by the traditional woven mats of the North African Berber people – a genuine, handwoven Berber rug of natural wool would be imported from Morocco and not attached to the floor.
Another ideal choice for high-traffic areas is natural sisal, with beautiful uneven brown tones. Choose this carpet for staircases and passages.
When to Choose Other Colors
If you have white walls, your third option for carpet colors is to go for color. Your choices are endless: candy pink, burgundy, navy blue, forest green, charcoal gray, or orange. Ideally, choose a colorful carpet to match your existing color scheme.
Taking a swatch of curtaining or furnishing fabric or a paint sample with you will help to get the right match.
A word of caution: colorful carpets are striking but can be overwhelming if you have a large expanse of floor to cover. If you’re going for a bold color, start by carpeting one room, such as the entrance hall or dressing room, to see if it works.
Let’s consider when to go for a more intense color with white walls.
The rule of thumb interior decorators use is to fit lighter carpets with darker walls and darker carpets with lighter walls. These standard combinations create a feeling of harmony and balance. For example, a glorious jewel-toned blue carpet will ground a room with white walls, making it welcoming and inviting.
Darker carpets transform a room with stark white walls into a much cozier, more intimate space. Choose a darker colored carpet, like chocolate brown, in a lush, tactile pile for your bedroom, kids’ room, or entertainment area.
Interest and Color
Adding color to a room through the carpets infuses it with interest and helps to create the room’s personality.
For example, if you want a peaceful feel with natural textures like leather and sisal, a pale blue carpet gives the impression of water. Add leafy plants for extra atmosphere.
If you’re a fan of a vintage or traditional aesthetic, choose a carpet in a deep red or bottle green to complement glossy wooden furniture and heavy drapes.
Rooms that get full, natural sunlight will show carpets’ colors to their full advantage. However, north-facing rooms or shaded rooms need an injection of freshness and brightness. Go for sunny yellow, coral pink, or leafy green to lift the room.
High Traffic Areas
Darker carpeting is ideal for high-traffic, busy homes as they are less likely to show dirt and stains. Take care, however, not to choose too dark a shade: a charcoal or midnight blue carpet will show lint and pet hair very quickly. A brighter color will be a better idea in terms of keeping the carpet clean for areas used daily.
Brighter colors like red work well for hallways, passages, powder rooms, or dressing rooms, where the color is contained, adding personality without overwhelming.
When to Choose Patterns
With the neutral background of white walls, you can go for a patterned carpet. Although gaudy patterns can be overwhelming, a well-chosen patterned carpet can transform a room.
Flair and Personality
A patterned carpet is the best way to inject color and flair into a room and make a statement. A beautiful carpet can inspire your whole color scheme. This carpet upwards approach requires some planning, as you must choose the carpet before the rest of the furnishings.
Dramatic patterns work well, even in neutrals or black and white.
A patterned carpet doesn’t need to be elaborate, however. A simple geometric design adds subtle interest.
High Traffic Areas
Consider a patterned carpet for higher traffic areas like staircases, as patterns can obscure dirt and stains. An attractive carpet runner will brighten up even the dullest stairs.
Final Thoughts on What Color Carpets Go With White Walls
Carpets do more than cover the floor: they add comforting softness to our homes and introduce much-needed color. With white walls as the basis, you can choose a white carpet, practical neutrals, bright colors, or a vivid pattern.
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