how do people live with beige carpet and general carpet advice

November 25, 2015
last modified: November 25, 2015
We recently moved from our house that had tile and wood floors to our town home that has a fair amount of wood but still a lot of beige carpet. Of course when the previous owners pulled out their stuff the carpet looked pretty grimy in places so we cleaned it with a rug doctor. Still looked grimy so we had it professionally cleaned. Still looks marginal but fortunately I can cover a lot of it up with the area rugs I had on my hard surface floors. That is just a temporary solution to get by for awhile though.

Not having had much carpet for the last 25+ years I'm pretty clueless about how to live with it and not have it look grungy. I've already thought about replacing the main floor carpet with wood but I do kind of like the feel of the carpet under foot and it would be easier to replace the carpet than install wood floors as we'd have to have site finished and refinish existing floors to match. I'm not sure I'm up for that after moving so much this year (different weekend lake place, different house in the city all with beige carpet of course).

So what is the key to living happily with carpet? We are two adults and three cats - black hair and white hair and occasional puking - the cats that is. We take our shoes off at the door. We do slop occasionally. I've never dumped a can of soda in my life but managed to do so yesterday - on the beige carpet. I about had a heart attack when I saw this big brown blob on the carpet though I think I managed to get it out with some unlabeled miracle solution from the carpet cleaning people.

If I do replace the carpet what's the best choice for something that will look good in the long run. I think not a light color that shows dirt and black cat hair, not a real dark color that shows white cat hair, not a texture that shows wear and maybe not much depth to the pile as it's easier to clean cat barf off something relatively smooth without long fibers.

Carpet mavens, please advise.

Comments (46)

  • msmeow

    Gibby, we replaced our builder-grade beige carpet with a bit darker beige that has flecks of other colors in it. We still wanted a neutral color but something a bit darker. I was also surprised by how much the beige carpet faded where the sun shines in!

    That said, we have similar issues, including the cat barf. I try to clean it up as soon as I can, but it still leaves stains. Our home carpet cleaner makes them better, but some seem to be permanent. And professional carpet cleaners have lots of disclaimers about pet stains. So I guess my answer to "how do you live with it" is that I try not to obsess over it! LOL Not much of an answer, I know.


  • IdaClaire

    I swore I would never, ever, ever again live in a home that had carpeting, and now I'm happily chomping on those words because I'm forced to eat them. Ours is a frieze, with flecks in the twisted fibers. Granted, it's pretty much brand new, but we've already had a couple of mishaps including the unavoidable cat hurling (and a couple of those have been pretty severe - I won't go into detail), but it's cleaned up beautifully. Time will tell as to how this will wear, but I do know that frieze carpeting remains very popular for good reason.

    Not ours, but similar:

    Pre-move in. You can see the vacuum lines in the room, but you don't notice those much now that the furniture is filling up the space.

    New House 2015 · More Info

  • Related Discussions

    How does one create a luxury living room over plain beige carpet?


    Comments (6)
    Thanks everyone for such helpful feedback! Based on your advice, I think I am going to leave the carpet and not get any area rugs. I would have to cancel other remodeling projects, like adding a laundry and mud room, in order to put down the hardwoods and I really think I will get more "bang-for-my-buck" with the other renovations. I appreciate the idea of dying the carpet, but I am worried about how hard it will be to keep dark carpet clean (I once had dark green carpet in a bedroom and it was nearly the death of me)! I am glad to have that settled before I spent a fortune on rugs!
    ...See More

    How do I downplay Rose colored carpeting??


    Comments (9)
    Depends on what furniture you will be using, and the type of look you are going for. Will you be able to choose new bedding? If you can post pictures of the furniture in the room, or better yet the room as it is now, people will be able to give more concrete suggestions. Here are some great looks with pink, but as you see it can be sophisticated/glam, retro-modern, garden-look country, casual contemporary etc. depending on paint, furniture, pillows/bedding. If you want to downplay the pink, rather than play it up, choose a fabric for bedding that has a touch of pink, then paint the wall a neutral from the fabric. Choose other color from the fabric for accents. For example, in the last picture "Laura Ashley" your carpet may be similar to the pink couch/chair or the pink blinds. Choose a bedding fabric like the striped pillow, with a bit of pink. Paint the walls a cream or a darker warm beige, maybe similar to the footstool. Or looking to the "Northway" picture choose bedding with camel/cream colors and tie the pink in with pillows with camel/cream plus pink. Walls would be cream.
    ...See More

    Need advice on small foyer with a light beige carpet in foyer and hall


    Comments (38)
    Yes I did , I thought that there would have been hardwood ,instead there is a board,covered with foam and the carpet . So I will have to wait for a few more days, if I have the time I will begin searching for tiles , .
    ...See More

    Living room: new colors in general - advice & opinions needed :)


    Comments (118)
    Hey there happy! No, sadly I can't try the sofa. I think I'll drive into a few stores at some point and make photos with my smartphone of possible "candidates". ;) Thanks for the wishes, my eyes are getting better each day - that's why I spend (too) much time in front of the PC again. :) I'll rest this case for now but will likely bring it back up. There's a lot to digest, there have been incredible (grover, you fox!) solutions and now I need to really sit down and ponder the options. Otherwise I'll drive us all (including myself) nuts. :D In the meantime I'll likely jump to other advices and check out what these folks are looking for.
    ...See More
  • melle_sacto

    I try not to think about it, and hope "next year" we can finally rip it all out. With little boys and little dogs, beige carpet is not a good flooring. Ours looks very similar to oatmeal (like the pic above).

    We do not wear shoes in the house, but still the hall has a visible dark path that goes to each room. I recently bought a hallway runner that is dark, so hides the tracks.

    I keep a small shop vac for spot cleaning.


    I have found cleaning carpet with shampooers just seems to make it attract dirt quicker so I use a product called Capture. It is a moist powder that you scrub in, let sit and then vacuum. My beige carpet is 18 yrs old and looks darn good, even with 2 boys and 2 cats running through the house for years. Another tip is to feed pets with food that has no red or orange in it, something that matches the carpet, if they throw up on it. I made that change and never had a stain I couldn't get out with the Capture.

  • IdaClaire

    Another tip is to feed pets with food that has no red or orange in it, something that matches the carpet, if they throw up on it.

    Yes. The nasty accident I referred to above was a result of the cats running out of their regular food during our move and having to feed them "junky orange stuff" until we could get to the store. Never again. Once they went back on their regular food, the hurling became much less frequent and the best part is that when it does occur, it matches the rug nicely. ;-)

  • Delilah66

    Cat puke: Treat using Folex Carpet Stain Remover. Follow the directions, though. Do not rub it down into the carpet. You may have to use and repeat after drying.

  • msmeow

    Jen & Kathy - the alternative is to install cat food colored carpet! :)


  • eld6161

    You have to accept that new carpet will look grimy in a few years. Yearly cleaning will only do so much. High traffic areas and stairs will look the worst unless you have a patterned very low pile carpet.

    I did like wall to wall carpeting when my daughters were young. As they grew, we replaced it with hardwood. I have a finished basement with an industrial carpet that has held up very well. Not saying I would use this in other parts of my house.

    I would just let it go since you will be replacing it soon anyway.

  • Lavender Lass

    Well, I had cat food color carpet (LOL) and it was still disgusting. Of course, it's been a lot of years and we live on a farm.

    Just ripped it all out (only a couple of bedrooms left) and put down vinyl floor tiles that look like parquet. This is our old table, now we have a larger one. But the floors are wonderful! :)

  • 3katz4me

    I wonder what kind of carpet would be good if we do decide to replace with carpet. I did replace some carpet in the loft and on the entry stairs in my old house. It was very low pile almost commercial like. Both had a design - loft was tan with rust and the stairs were navy with tan. Even though it didn't have a plush, deep texture it was nice to walk on as it had a cushy pad. It seemed really expensive but I didn't pay much attention as it was a small area. I guess I need to go out and look for something like that.

  • melle_sacto is hot and dry in CA Zone 9/

    I cannot believe it, after posting here on this thread my son spilled food on the carpet AND one of my dogs barfed. It was like Murphy's Law! Wet/dry shop vac to the rescue, but really hoping to rip it out and have an easier-maintenance flooring installed.

  • aktillery9

    I would go with a darker berber carper. That kind of carpet can look very nice.

    September · More Info

  • d_gw

    I have my own carpet cleaner but never use cleaning solution. I think it is too tough to suck it all out and when it dries it gets sticky and attracts more gunk. I spot clean and then use the carpet cleaner with hot water.

    My carpet has a very short nap and just a slightly lighter color than the carpet in the above picture. I use my cleaner every 6 weeks or so. I have it down to a system so it is not that big of a deal. Even so, carpet is gross.

  • jlc712

    I only have carpet in bedrooms, but it still shows wear and dirt eventually. I don't think you can truly keep wall to wall carpet clean unless you vacuum daily, don't wear shoes inside, don't have food/drinks on it, and don't have pets/kids.

    When I can replace my carpet, I'm considering Flor carpet tiles. Flor website

    I really like that you can take up individual tiles, wash them, or replace if necessary. There are lots of different styles, colors, and pile lengths. I also like that unlike carpet, you can take up the whole rug and clean the subfloor underneath periodically.

  • gramarows

    Even with a lot of hardwood flooring all over, my cats always always seemed to manage to get to the carpets when barfing. I don't know if anyone else has had this experience, but one day I discovered a totally dried out hurl hump on one carpet: I was surprised at how well it vacuumed up with a little effort - no trace left at all. When I try to clean up a fresh find, I seem to grind some into the fibers. So sometimes I just cover a discovery and let it dry out, depending on location, and just vacuum up the crusty pieces the next week. Sorry to be so gross. YRMV. Now with only one cat left, it doesn't happen often.

  • jab65

    I'm not a cat lover, so you can take this w/a grain of salt: I'd never have carpet w/cats. Being very smell sensitive, it's the smell more than the stain that gets to me. Probably have some type of allergy.

  • Annie Deighnaugh

    We limit carpet to a few area rugs and then put wtw in the bedrooms and exercise room. I settled for a stain release nylon in a couple of bedrooms. The rest is a commercial grade level loop in a tweed out of olefin. I thought it was impervious, but DH did put a droplight on it and it melted. That's the only drawback. Other wise, it's fade/stain resistant, and being made of milk cartons, the fibers don't absorb anything. It can be cleaned with dilute bleach or mineral spirits. The other thing with olefin is it will crush, so only get it if the yarns are tightly packed, looped or short. They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. We also have our own "sucker" machine so we can treat stains or clean the carpet as necessary.

  • Ariel A

    We are having our first home built and chose a carpet color called "butcher block" that is darker than the standard beige, in hopes of hiding the inevitable stains that will happen. We are planning on using the carpet for as long as it looks okay then replacing it with hardwood throughout the living room and dining room. My mom's house has a very light beige color that has been here since she bought the house (about 8 years ago, and the home was 4 years old at the time ) and it looks decent but all stains are so easily visible because of the color. We are hoping our butcher block color isn't too dark but provides coverage for stains

    I have no stains on my 18 yr old carpet. We are not hard on carpet at all. I have carpet in family room and bedrooms, hardwood everywhere else. I said when we moved in that I would be replacing the carpet with hardwood in family room when it wore out. No such luck so far :) I am pretty fastidious though on keeping it clean.
  • handmethathammer

    IME with carpet is it always looks lighter than I expected it to be after it is installed.

    As for cat puke, I buy cleaner with Oxy (sometimes called oxygenated). It seems to work really well on pet accidents. That and a little patience with the spraying, letting set, dabbing, over and over and over again.

  • Nothing Left to Say

    Jlc712, Fwiw, I just got rid of our flor tiles. They were used as an area rug in our living room and I found that I could not get them clean.

  • sableincal

    This recipe for cleaning kitty barf from carpets Always works for me. Have at hand:

    paper towels

    a small spray bottle


    white vinegar

    a Scrub Daddy, or a similarly tough sponge, but IMO a Scrub Daddy is best.


    Place two towels over the mess. Do NOT try to pick it up or remove it. Press the towels gently but firmly and let them soak up the wet. When they are wet, change them for fresh ones. Keep doing this until there is no liquid left to soak up. If there are bits of food, keep them covered and let them dry. This may be more of a challenge if there are children and dogs around, but for the two of us, with our two cats, it's not an issue. When the bits are dry they should simply peel off in the paper towel, nice and neat. The idea is to sop up the liquid through absorption and lift any dried food right up. There will only be a slight stain left. Fill the bottle with 3/4 water and 1/4 white vinegar. Spray the stain liberally. Then take the Scrub Daddy and scrub away; put a bit of muscle into it. The stain should disappear. It does for me. Then I use an old washcloth to dry the spot, and fluff the strands a bit as they dry.

  • linnea56 (zone 5b Chicago)

    Re; Cat barf stains: I had a huge problem with my previous
    chronically ill cat. I found out it was the artificial dyes in the dry food she
    ate. I switched to a natural food without dyes, and no more stains! She still
    threw up, but it cleaned right up with no difficulty.

    (the one I got is Cat
    Naturals, which is readily available and not an expensive premium food)

  • linnea56 (zone 5b Chicago)

    Kathy, that Capture product sounds interesting! I found some bad stains on our WTW under a throw rug; a watering can had leaked and now we have mildew and water rings on the carpet. I was reading up on Capture. Can you recommend what kind of brush to use to work it in? Reviews say that is the weak point in the system. Thanks!

  • sumac

    Spot Shot and follow the directions exactly. There is a commercial magic spray out there that I have seen used in big office bldgs but don't know its name or where to get it. Spot Shot is the closest I could find. that is for spots and nasty stains. Capture works very well on all the rest including high traffic areas.

  • roxanna

    gramarows ~ we once had five cats (stray mama and four from her two litters all born at home so I couldn't resist keeping them!) and I also found that undiscovered and totally dried "hurl humps" could be removed and vacuumed with NO residue at all. Every time I tried to deal with the fresh wet ones it resulted in staining. It's funny how cats seem to head for the carpet areas when they need to instead of the smooth floring that is easy to clean -- something to do with traction when they are dealing with hair balls, etc? Anyway, a wet mess on carpet may be gross, but letting it dry completely worked best for total cleanup for me!

  • laughablemoments

    You might want to check out the Mohawk Smartstrands videos on YouTube where they installed their carpeting in a zoo. Another option might be wood look tile or even luxury vinyl tile that's a wood look when you go to replace your carpeting. Either should be less stressful to have installed than site finished hardwoods.

  • gramarows

    roxanna - glad to hear someone else has made the same observation and has had similar results, although it certainly seems contrary to what one might think, to just leave a mess!! Works for me!

  • Linda Doherty

    I have 3 dogs, 2 that are over 13. They shed, and the older ones have had accidents. I put Smartstrand carpet in a house about 4 yrs ago, because of a client that told me about it, when they put white carpet in a home with 3 toddlers. I thought they were nuts. But they sold the home a year ago, and the carpet still looked new. When I sold my home after 2 yrs, (and having several dog accidents), the carpet still looked new, and I only had to vacuum before listing it. You couldn't see any stains where it had been cleaned. I swear by that carpet!!! You can spill bleach on it, and it won't stain. They also make a pad that won't absorb fluids. I get the frieze style.

    Whatever you do...do NOT get Berber carpet if you have dogs. It's a continuous loop so if they get a nail caught, it pulls the entire thread strand the length of the room.

  • Tmnca

    I also hate carpet but have sometimes had to live with it. I think the quality of the carpet matters - high quality low pile carpet cleans up well (and is probably treated with all kinds of chemicals to provide stain resistance) whereas old stuff that's been cleaned a million times (such as in rental apartments we lived in) and has stain resistance removed will of course stain easily.

    We had new beige carpet in a condo we bought and we used a Roomba running daily to keep it cleaner - it still looked new when we moved out 2 years later and we have 3 cats. Keeping the daily dirt cleaned up made carpet bearable.

    About the cat puke though - cats should not puke that often, even hairballs - it's usually diet related. Our cats had IBD, one of them had severe symptoms but the other just puked a lot, and we thought it was hairballs. We switched them to a minimal ingredient raw meat diet and pretty much never had puke again. Enough fats and oils in their diet helps move hair through the digestive tract without forming hairballs. Our cats lived to be 20 and 21 after switching to that diet at around 10 years old. Puke free for 10 years :) Check out catnutrition.org and catinfo.org for more info if you're interested.


    Linnea56, I got the brush with the first Capture kit I bought 18 years ago. I am not sure if it comes like that anymore. I screw the brush on a pole I have and just sprinkle it and brush in. They do have a pretreat spray also. I usually do a traffic area treatment every 3-4 months and it looks like new.


    Not sure if any of y'all have heard of yellow top brooms (they are awesome) but I use the pole from my yellow top broom and works well.

  • 3katz4me

    Lots of good info on what I should look for in carpet. Low pile nylon in a medium dark color seems like the way to go. I will also look into Smartstrands.

    The best thing I've found for stains is the Woolite carpet cleaner with oxyclean - works wonders as does this unlabeled solution from the carpet cleaners. I think my bigger concern with carpet is the general grungy look over time but much of that could probably be addressed with a darker color.

    One of the best preventives for my cat barf has been brushing them regularly to reduce the hair balls. I also give them each a tiny amount of coconut oil each day. Maybe just a coincidence but it seems to have improved after I started doing that as well. I think it also makes their coat very soft and my long haired black cat no longer seems to have dry flakes in the winter.

  • linnea56 (zone 5b Chicago)

    My year old cat is short haired, and so far no hairballs (knock on wood), unlike my previous 2 semi and longhaired cats. "Just in case," last summer, I tried a little coconut oil on her food, and she rejected it outright.

    My daughter's long haired cat was throwing up hairballs a lot last summer. Luckily she has mostly hardwood, but the cat aimed for her throw rugs, to the point where she had to put them away, except for machine washable ones. I told her about the coconut oil, to try a very tiny bit at first, and HER cat also rejected the food with it on!

    What is the secret? It was refined, unscented coconut oil.

  • linnea56 (zone 5b Chicago)

    Thanks, Kathy! That looks like a common scrub brush. If the kit no longer
    comes with one, I will buy a new clean one when I buy the kit. The handle would
    be good to have, though.

  • acadiafun1

    In my previous house I chose a darker, multi-colored frieze carpet. We took our shoes off in the house, but we had three medium sized dogs. Carpet looked new six years later when I sold it. The only downside was that it did not have those lovely vacuum marks after vacuuming.

  • razamatazzy

    I second what Delilah mentioned - Folex for spot cleaning. The only thing I could not remove with Folex is coffee stains.

  • gsciencechick

    My colleague who works in animal rescue said they like to dig their claws in when they vomit, so that's why they often go for the area rugs. Of course, someone always vomits a hairball after I have Stanley Steemer here.

    My friend has a dog and has berber. She had no hardwoods in her house and only a subfloor. The carpet was in good condition when she moved in, but it was mauve. So, for those of you who don't like beige, at least it's not mauve!

  • Tmnca

    Fish oil or krill oil is more appropriate for cats, I'm surprised any will eat food with coconut oil!

  • linnea56 (zone 5b Chicago)

    I tried it because it was recommended on a pet forum.

  • cupofkindnessgw

    Eleven years ago I replaced the cheap beige carpet in our house with beautiful Karastan wall-to-wall beige carpet. We have a lot of kids and back in 2004 we still had toddlers. I don't regret the carpets, at that point it was hard to know what type of hardwood to put down on a concrete slab, it seems that engineered hardwoods were an emerging product and solid hardwood planks were not recommended for slab foundations. There were moisture transfer issues that seemed to make hardwood floors a risky proposition back then.

    Our carpet looks exactly like the close-up sample that AuntJen posted. It looked to me like beautiful sand, the quality is excellent. We paid a fair sum of money for it in part because it did not off-gas, and we installed rubber padding (instead of the compressed foam) which helped prevent goat trails.

    Now we have a dog who occassionally barfs. So our carpet is stained. And worn out. Having a Dyson vacuum had made all the difference in keeping it looking good when we vacuumed daily, our carpet looked fabulous. Wish we had a Roomba.

    It's a frieze and I love it. I'd love hardwood floor more, but do not regret the carpeting. My kids played on the floor until five years ago, and the carpet kept the house a little quieter and allowed them to lay on the floor and play anywhere. I certainly miss those days.

  • patty_cakes42

    I think we all have various ways of dealing with kiity puke, but the first suggestion would be to get rid of dry food with a color additive. I've been feeding my two Beyond for a little over two years and neither cat ever throws up unless I have fresh flowers on the table and they're 'discovered'. When I used to have the occasional problem, I found covering the 'nastiness' with several layers of paper towels and allowing it to dry for several days was the easiest for removal. I would first pick up what I could with a paper towel, and then use a teflon spatula to scrape any liquid which had solidified~things are much easier to clean up in 'powder form'. I usually find two small pieces of cardboard to scoop up the majority of the 'powder', then vacumn. This process seemed to remove about 97% of any stain. For any staining left, i've always found Folex to be the best product, akthough someone on another forum recommended a product from BB&B, 'something' ONE.Good luck with ANY method you use cleaning up after your little furry critters! If we didn't love them so much we wouldn't tolerate their awful accidents

  • l pinkmountain

    This thread is very interesting to me because I'm going to be moving into a house where dad just put in light cream Berber carpet that seems to be a stain magnet. I don't have cats, but I'm wondering how to clean it. At my old house, I had worn out beige carpeting that I mostly covered with an oriental area rug. For the rest, it was weekly stain duty with a sponge and carpet cleaning solution. Now I'm wondering about this new carpet and the theory that carpet cleaning solutions tend to leave a sticky residue that attracts dirt. I'm wondering about getting a steam cleaner and just using it with hot distilled water? Or if some cleaners are more prone to leaving a residue than others? When I did my weekly spot cleaning on my old carpet, I used a sponge and a bucket of hot water to rinse and rinse the treated area to try and remove all of the cleaning product residue . . .

  • ILoveRed

    Carpet in bedrooms. Two boys, two dogs.

    House is ten yrs old and carpet has been replaced twice. It doesn't pay to invest in expensive carpet imho. Next house...no carpet.

    i also have this and use it often to spot clean. I have actually used it on my silhouette blinds as well.


  • linnea56 (zone 5b Chicago)

    Attention to Kathy: I don't want to hijack this thread. I am posting a new thread to ask more about Capture carpet cleaner.

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268