White Vans, Orange Shag, and Gazelle {or, Q&A about our wall-to-wall carpeting}

Let’s face it: installing wall-to-wall carpet is about as popular in the world of interior design as tweezing your nose hairs out at the dinner table would be, well, anywhere. (I hope? Don’t admit it if your dinner table is prone to such antics.)

But around here we love nose hairs being different. Okay, we actually just love comfortable and warm padding underfoot and not having to refinish the jank-fest floors in our upstairs in order to have the significantly more popular hardwoods with area rugs. We have all that downstairs and it is lovely. But it wasn’t feasible for our upstairs. Cue the obvious question, which I asked when we first uttered the words “wall-to-wall”: is it possible for wall-to-wall carpeting to be attractive? I say yes.

How and why one appearance-conscious homeowner chose wall-to-wall carpeting.

The truth is, I’ve never been happier to see an unmarked white van pull into our driveway than the day our wall-to-wall carpet appeared. (Incidentally, the carpeting was in that unmarked white van, in case you were wondering if a sleazy crack salesman emerged instead. Incidentally, such fellows don’t actually frequent our driveway, in case you were questioning my seeming moral dubiousness.)


But less talk about white vans and more talk about how we found our affordable, attractive, and eco-friendly carpet, in helpful Q&A format.

What is it?

It’s wall-to-wall carpeting.

No, really, what is it?



Oh sorry, I got distracted by this carpet model I know.


What was the question?


No need to shout; I heard you the first time.

…[fumes patiently]…

The brand of carpeting is Shaw, the style is Conquest, and the color is Limestone.

Thank you. Why did you choose carpeting over refinishing your wood floors?

The floors in our upstairs were not in good shape and refinishing them would not only have been time-consuming, but simply not worth the results. Kenley’s nursery floor was painted brick red, another room had old carpet glue adhered to much the floor. The boards everywhere were warped and uneven, typical of a second-story for a house as old as ours.

Do you have something against brick red painted floors?


nursery carpet before and after

But didn’t you refinish your bedroom floor a few years ago?

Yes. It was a significant improvement, but still too shabby and old-looking overall.

Do you have something against old things?

Yes. I mean, no. I mean, sometimes.

bedroom carpet makeover 2

How has it held up so far?

Swimmingly, for the 6 months in which it has lived here. It has a 20 year warranty and the retailer from which we purchased it said they would come replace any sections that didn’t survive our normal wear and tear. But so far it vacuums nicely, and the stain-resistant feature has already come in handy—liquids just pool on top of the rug rather than soak in. Plus I’m told that I will be able to parade a herd of gazelle across this carpet and still be able to clean it back to perfection.

Have you tested that claim?

No. The only gazelle with which I’m personally acquainted have been avoiding my calls.

I see. Is it true that Shaw’s products are eco-friendly?

Yes. One of the reasons I chose Shaw in the first place is because it’s made in the USA and the carpeting won’t give us cancer. Or something. (You can read more about the Green Label Plus program for low chemical emissions here.)

Speaking of green, I’ve heard that teething frogs taste better when eaten on this particular wall-to-wall carpeting. Is this true?



But isn’t that texture a little rough on her sweet baby skin?

Not at all. It’s actually super soft. I can lay on it and be totally comfy, and Kenley happily face-plants into it on a regular basis.

In that case, I’m liking the texture.

Me too. One of the reasons I was initially against wall-to-wall is because it sometimes seems to create a flat sea of color. The basketweave texture in our carpeting prevents that from happening and adds a little modern interest to the floor. Ack I just got all design-speak.

Wouldn’t an orange shag rug have had the same effect?

OMG why didn’t you point that out sooner?! Now we’ve wasted all that money.

closet carpet makeover

Well since you didn’t go with orange, how did you choose your color?

We threw five gazelle up in the air and chose our color based on an algorithm derived from the order in which they fell.


Yes, that’s why they aren’t returning my calls.


No. Actually, we just went to the carpet store, looked at the miniscule color swatches, then politely asked the owner if we could perhaps have some larger samples ordered directly from Shaw before we installed 1600 square feet of a color that looked totally different on a 3”x3” square. They were happy to oblige given the volume of our order, and had the swatches shipped directly to our house. It took about 1.38 seconds for both of us to realize which one was the right choice.

choosing wall to wall carpet colors

So much did it cost, then?

A lot, by our penny-pinching standards. In fact, it was the most money we’ve put into our home since living here. But we wanted a high-quality product that had good aesthetics and was eco-friendly, so that’s why we were fairly picky and didn’t just go with the cheapest big-box retailer option. We also had the entire upstairs and a stairwell done at once, which obviously cost more right now but saved us money in the long run: the retailer gave us a large volume discount and a free upgrade to the higher quality padding, neither of which we would have gotten if we’d done it one room at a time. I should also add, though, that Shaw does offer more expensive options, and our choice reminds me of some of the more expensive options sold by FLOR. So overall, we landed middle-of-the-road. Just call us roadkill.

It seems to me we’ve covered everything, roadkill. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Yes. This picture.


That doesn’t have anything to do with this post.


So there you have it! What do you think? Are you a wall-to-wall fan?


  1. You crack me up! I love this post! One day we will need to replace our carpet, which currently looks as those an entire herd of gazelles had a dance party on it for the last twenty years. I really love the color you chose and how durable it looks (and that warranty is great if the gazelles decide to come back and get down on the dance floor again!)

    1. bahaha gazelle these days. Such party animals.

  2. i like carpet under my toes in the bedroom. i dont care if designers turn their nose up at it. MY FEET GET COLD. and area rugs are not the same, you still have spots of no carpet to walk on!
    I love what you chose and bonus points for durability. I think you should test the gazelles so we know for sure..

    1. Plus you have to vacuum AND dustmop! Like I said, I'll do that downstairs, but not upstairs. :)

  3. We definitely considered carpet for our second floor. It is so much warmer, but in the end the cost of nice carpet didn't win over new hardwoods. That stuff is expensive! Though when you add in the cost of rugs to put on the hardwoods maybe I should have redone the math... Looks lovely!

    1. Yeah, we would have needed several larger than 8x10 area rugs and I would have wanted them to be 100% wool, which definitely drives the cost up!

  4. We've long had the carpet debate for our upstairs (currently kids' rooms have carpet) and I keep arguing it doesn't ever look that nice. But yours does! So, don't tell my husband, but this post may have made me want to change my mind...

  5. Love it...especially the eco-friendly stuff. In my old age I'm starting to care about things like that.

  6. You are seriously my favorite. Every part of this post had me giggling. I'm not anti-carpet, but we've been lucky that our houses have all had wood floors to refinish. I also think carpet in the bedroom just makes sense. The wood floors upstairs are cold and squeaky - which is really noticeable in the dead of night.

    You made a great choice. The gazelle would be proud.

  7. Hahaha! You are hilarious! We had carpet installed in our bedrooms upstairs and we really like it. Sometimes I wish we had wood floors through out, but when I get up in the middle of the night to pee it's nice to have carpet to walk across in my bare feet.

    Plus my husband is a carpet guy, so I really don't have a choice. ;)

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  9. hahaha! "Heck no" on the dirt-brown beige... that's exactly the same carpet we pulled out 20 years ago when refurbing out 1919 house -- texture & all. (We think in was installed in the '50s when the other "upgrades" like pink plastic tile in the bathroom were added.)

    Here in the desert I'm tired of carpet! I long to step out of bed onto something cool. :) I'm trying to talk the mister into those gorgeous long ceramic woodgrain tiles.

    So love the last pic of this post! Miss Kenley sure can rock the grey rose headband!

  10. Ummm....best wall-to-wall carpet post ever! It looks so light and airy in all the rooms. I admit though I was distracted the whole time by that cute little doll of yours and of that unmarked white van.

  11. You're too funny! I love the way it turned out. Carpeting in a bedroom (nursery especially) looks cozy to me.

    Kenley is way too adorable!

  12. Your very witty blog post on carpeting was completely put into the shadow by that adorable Kenley. She is such a cutie pie.

  13. Haha you're hilarious. Totally love the random baby pictures anytime!

  14. hahaha! Oh that baby. You're not allowed to post, ever, without photos of her included. There, it's official. :)

  15. Anonymous6/24/2014

    First time reading. You had me at Gazelle's. And that baby of yours is adorable.

  16. Such a great blog! Thanks for the advice about carpeting... I'm a fan of it, but I've had no idea where to start in the process of figuring out what to choose. Thanks for your input! Also, I was curious what the paint color on your walls is called? It's gorgeous! I love that it's not just white... it seems like it might change color depending on the time of day... true?


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