Carpet Vs Hard Flooring

Hello fellow OzBers,

My partner and I will be moving into our first home we purchased together next month and have decided to do some renos on the flooring and paint the walls prior to furnishing. The property is about 20 years old, still in good condition and is half carpet half laminate.

Carpeted areas include the stairs themselves, entire upstairs (4 BR) and study and lounge area downstairs whilst the entrance/hallway and kitchen/dining all have floating laminate over tiles which previous owner installed.

My preference (which I assume was her also) was the standard upstairs/bedrooms and low traffic areas carpet to reduce noise and warm carpet in toes comfortable feeling etc and non-carpet areas in the usual high traffic foot areas and water prone areas.

I have made the mistake of assuming and have come to realise the missus hates carpet with a passion. Her main argument is mainly focused on hygiene benefits i.e. dust and debris will get stuck in carpet and ease of cleaning. She mentioned that her family has lived in rentals previously with some real bad carpet with mould rough stains etc… where as I have always lived in a house with half floorboard/bedroom carpet where we professionally steam cleaned the carpet after moving in and generally kept it in good condition.

While I do like the look of the man-made hard flooring options these days, carpet is generally cheaper. I would rather spend money on a nicer TV and soundbar set up when the right EOFY deal comes along or allocating to furniture.
Some other factors: This is both our first house and we intend to live in it for a while, we do not own much pre-existing furniture and we do not expect any kids in 5+ years.

My initial compromise was to change the study/lounge area downstairs from carpet to some form of hard flooring (something that won’t completely drain my bank account like engineered timber, laminate or vinyl…) and re carpet the whole upstairs. However, after extensively researching pros and cons of each and going back and form we are still not in complete agreeance.

Has anyone been through this scenario, particularly having hard flooring upstairs? Or should I just bite the bullet and follow the happy wife = happy life way of living.

Thanks for reading and looking forward to any insight :)

Poll Options

  • 44
    Carpet upstairs
  • 37
    No carpet upstairs
  • 5
    I never had a chocie


  • Hard floors all the way.

    So much easier to clean.

    We have been lucky to keep our old carpet whilst the kids were young (falling on their backsides, heads etc), carpet probably saved a few trips to the doctor.

    But other than that carpet is on its way out as soon as possible.

  • You can put extra rugs/kid foam mats on hard floor (and change them when they are worn) if you want to keep your feet warm, but you can't do it the other way around.

  • how much time do you spend upstairs in the bedrooms?

    • Hmm… I spend quite a bit of time on the PC / my partner has a desk job and WFHs often (particularly during these times). The rooms upstairs would be used as a 'home office' until kids way down the line. Only would go downstairs if we have guests over, cook/eat food or watch TV.

  • we have hardwood floors in the living areas, and carpet in the bedrooms. I have 2 kids under 7 and man, when they walk around on the hardwood floors, you would think they're wearing weights in their feet.. they stomp around like t-rexes

  • Having lived in a house completely carpeted to now completely floorboards, I wouldn’t go back. So much easier to clean and I never realised how much dust accumulates under the bed.

  • New carpet is nice for the first few years, so put that in if you're 100% certain you won't be living there after that.

    Without question, I'd put in hard floors, make her happy too. Win/win.

  • Hard floors for life!

  • Dust from breaking down carpet over the years is health concern.

  • Old advice from parents, that I agree with.

    "Live in a house for 12 months before making significant changes."

    Things that you think might irritate you, often fade away in that time and things that you never thought of, become major 'things'.

    In your case, changing from carpets to hard floors upstairs is going to be a relatively easy thing, even if you are in the house.

    Get the carpets properly cleaned before you move in, couple of hundred well spent. See what really sh1ts you during your first year, then change that.


    • Hi oscargamer,

      Thanks for your insight! I 100% agree, I mentioned to her if it were solely up to me I would inspect everything post settlement (bee a while since the house inspections, but nothing stool out/the carpet wasn't terrible) and most likely get it professionally cleaned to use until end of life.

      But the counter argument that my partner put forward (which I can agree with), would be it's allot easier/less hassle to do now it once before the furniture goes in? We both currently live at home so in no rush (i.e. won't be homeless) if we don't move in straight away.

      Mind you we have close to no/minimal experience in any DIY or renovations… so we are just going off research, what friends have told us and what we expect

      • … would be it's allot easier/less hassle to do now it once before the furniture goes in?

        No kids, 4 bedrooms, not much existing furniture - I would expect moving the upstairs furniture would be relatively easy even after a year?

      • The counterargument that "it will be more convenient to implement the changes which you are not sure you will want after living there for one year" sounds like a weak one to me.

        Happy wife happy life is perhaps the ugliest thing said in modern marriage.

        Make a decision like two cooperating adults. But don't be capitulate due to fear of future nagging, or risk a hell of your own making.

  • I find dirt much more visible on hard floors so it requires cleaning more often.

    • Hmmm.. Any other factors other than the dust being more visible?

      I wouldn't consider this a big issue as I work in healthcare, I'm fairly OCD/clean by nature and both my partner and I actually enjoy cleaning (weird?). I also have OZb most favourite hand held vacuum (Dreame V9) have bought a Xiaomi Air purifier recently and will eventually get a robo vacuum when the right deal comes ;)

      • Dust is only visible on dark shaded boards. Get birch or something else in light colour and the dust will be invisible. I grew up on beautiful persian carpets, but I prefer my cheapo engineered floorboards now. My relatives paid about $70 for real wood floor boards, I’d recommend this if you have the cash. They last forever and are warm and pleasant to walk on. They look stunning too. Avoid carpet if you plan to get pets. Kids too.

      • Depending on your build, hard floors may let a lot more sound through to downstairs through the ceiling - not just footsteps but any sound.

        A more expensive option but a covering like sisal gives a midway. A good sisal (as in real sisal, the plant) is super rugged and easy to clean.

        • How do you clean sisal? It can only be dry vacuumed - it cannot get wet so steam cleaning is out of the question - what happens if you spill something on it or your dog pees on it? You can soak up spills but coloured stains will remain and so does pet urine and odour as they soak into the weave.

          • @BGcarpetcleaning: I have many times wet my sisal to clean it and soaked it up with a towel. In the lounge room I spill stuff (most often water) more regularly than I should. Dries and looks great. I've cleaned coloured stains (paints, texta) with a rough wet rub. Never had to deal with pee on sisal (but have on timer and carpet - maybe sisal is less attractive for peeing?) A lot of milage will probably depend on the finish - if it's a "clean" or light sisal it's going to be harder to look after than something darker or with a busier pattern.

            • @afoveht: I like the natural fibres like sisal, but from experience they are very hard to clean hygienically - a little bit of water is ok but you can't "wash" them to remove bacteria and germs - spot clean ups are ok but I guess my concern would be what is left behind in the fibres and under the carpet as there is no extraction process like there is in steam cleaning. Otherwise I love the look of Sisal - I just cannot get past the cleaning issues - especially with kids and pets! I am glad to hear you have not had any issues.

              • @BGcarpetcleaning: I only discovered it after refusing to buy wool carpet and finding other carpet variants unsuitable. I have found it hardier than good quality carpet (traffic areas barely look used, not even close to starting to look worn, after around 10 years), easy to vacuum, easy to mop up spills, warm to the touch like carpet but without the "fabric-y" feel. The kids and cats don't look after it but it survives well. And the textures and colours are earthy and natural in a way so different to carpet.

                TBH I've never even considered washing it - I might have to ask the suppliers what they recommend if it gets to that.

                Sisal's expensive but I'm pretty convinced I'll never get carpet in the home again.

      • Hard floors need to be cleaned very regularly or the dust is very noticable and dust particles are redistributed into the air every time there is movement in a room, but cleaning is inexpensive - and you can do it yourself, just takes a lot of time. Whereas carpet can filter the air and you can get away with cleaning it less often but it is more expensive to steam clean and you cannot do it yourself. There will be wear and tear on hard floors and over time they will need re sanding and polishing, which is expensive and messy and you usually have to move out for a few days while they apply layers. Carpet also wears out over time but good quality carpet which has been maintained will last for many years. If you need to replace it, it can usually be done in a day and you do not have to move out.

  • A decent compromise might be to use laminate, while it isn't actual wood, it will definitely save a lot of money compared to actual wood. Although as there is already wood downstairs, this may be a bit weird, but you can always get a laminate that looks very similar to the pre-existing flooring.
    Also congrats on the new home.

  • Dont for the underlay for either hardfloor or carpert. Invest in a good one to reduce the transmission of acoustic sound and impact sound

  • Hard floors. Buy a floor rug. Best of both worlds. Oh and happy wife. Nice side benefit :P

  • I have made the mistake of assuming and have come to realise the missus hates carpet with a passion.


    Enjoy your hard flooring life! Maybe buy some slippers.

  • I have to say straight up that I am biased as I own a carpet cleaning company! Of course I am going to recommend carpet!! Business aside, personally I do love hardwood floors - especially in living/dining areas - throw down a few nice rugs for warmth and colour - having carpet upstairs will definitely help with noise - hardwood floors are noisy and once you have kids it will sound like a herd of elephants! I wrote this article about allergies/asthma and flooring choices - it might be helpful to you?

    I would recommend you get the carpets professionally cleaned (make sure you use a professional IICRC certified company) before you move in, live in the place for awhile and then decide. You really do need to live in a place for a while before you make big decisions like this.

  • I like the feel of carpet under my feet in a bedroom, every where else hard floors personally

  • Why not have the best of both worlds. Cork. Warm, nice to walk on, quiet, the same price/if not cheaper than engineered flooring, ecologically sustainable.

    The only downside is you have to be careful with sharp furniture, heels etc.

  • Do what the misses says, better for your life in the long run

    If it were me I’d go carpet, I’d even have it in the dunny if acceptable over here

  • Hey, Im a carpet cleaner. Pretty much what BG says. Ill recommend you do yourself a favour and just have it in the bedrooms only. If 2 storey house there is no need for any capet downstairs. Hard floor and rugs are so much easier. Big thing with carpet is people don't get it cleaned often enough. If want carpet to last look better get it cleaned ie steam cleaned (truck mount preferable)..NOT Chemical Dry clean (no such way as all carpet cleaners have to put some sort of shampoo on it). Best time is after winter Sept/Oct each year. Simple. Hope helps.

  • Hard floors always. The whole concept of carpets is filthy and I never understood the appeal. Maybe coz I've renovated way too many properties and seen what lies beneath everytime a carpet is ripped up. Always disgusting.
    Hard floors are much hygienic. You can use extra large rugs in the bedrooms for warmth that can be cleaned properly and put out in the sun every few months. Cheers!

    • There is a lot that appeals with carpet - it is warm and cosy and a good insulator. Carpets are great filters for air quality - they trap all the dirt and dust and stop it from flying around in the air. They are "disgusting" when they are not cleaned correctly. A thorough dry vacuum with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter - at least once a week and professional (truck mounted) steam cleaning at least twice a year will keep them clean and hygienic. The problem is not with the carpet but the people who do not clean it and maintain it as they should. Hard floors are usually cleaned more regularly as it just needs a good wet mop, but they are not as good for air quality as those dust bunnies fly around and up into the air every time there is movement. So there are pros and cons for both carpet and hard floors - but ultimately it si up to the owner to maintain the floors regardless of the type of floor coverings. We have seen plenty of "disgusting" hard floors too!

  • I have hard floors throughout, including upstairs. I have a dust allergy so keen to avoid carpet where I can. Our place has tiles and floor boards. Easy to clean. Floorboards have never really felt cold to me (and I feel the cold), tiles do. We do have some hall runners etc. to help with noise and for the 'look'. I vacuum mine and then wash with soap flakes and hot water.


    Carpet is fine in bedrooms, as suggested get it cleaned if it’s not too far gone and see how you like it (IICRC accredited). Could also depend on your climate too, in the tropics I would go hard flooring, however down south carpet would be better.

    Personally, I prefer hardwood floors followed by a vinyl plank system. Pets and kids make carpet difficult to maintain as opposed to hard flooring. For a decent product in a larger house it will cost more so definitely something to think about.

    Most importantly with your wife, would you rather be happy or be right?

  • We have carpet in the bedrooms, hard floors elsewhere (with a large rug in the lounge). Hard floors are loud, not just while you're walking but also for toys and general ambient noise is a lot louder.

    I have lived with both hardwood and carpeted stairs and would go with carpet every time. Hard stairs are lethal with socks on.

  • We were in a similar situation 15 years ago. We bought a 20yo house with carpet all over. We decide to replace the carpet with wooden floor before we moved in, and we never regretted that decision. The tip above about waiting 12 months before making changes in the house is good, but we probably would never install wooden floorboards if we waited. If you get pre-fabricated boards, it still will take a day or two to install, which means you'll need to take all furniture out and live in a hotel. If it's fresh wood - they need to place it in your house (as I remember, I could be wrong) for a week or two before installing it, i.e. you'll live in a house half filled with timber before moving out to hotel for a few days. I guarantee that your wife won't appreciate either of those options.

    The only downside of wooden floor is the sound, which can be addressed by rugs. We do have rugs in a few areas, and I can always throw them away if we spill too much of your wine and pizza on it (guilty, done that a couple of times already).

    In your case, another downside would be stairs cost: wooden stairs won't be cheap. But once done, they won't look anywhere cheap either!

  • hard floors and put rugs where you want something softer.

  • Check your stairs. Putting a veneer of timber and treads on stairs is not easy and liable to high wear. This is often why 2 storey places had carpeted stairs, and then it made sense to continue the carpet to main upstairs rooms.
    If there is a straightforward way around this I would go timber floors all the way.
    I think that the wait 12 months advice is good and worked for us. Even the disruption of renovation after you are in is worth it IMO if you end up with what really suits you.

  • Bare stained floors are sooo 70's.

    Carpet is too over the top.

    Nice tiles are the go. Clean, modern, and you have the option to place rugs if you like.

    • I find tiles a tad cold underfoot and if you drop something it’s gone. However, they might work quite well if combined with a slab, underfloor heating and rugs. I’ve got some cushioned Kitchen mats I use in the kitchen to combat the cold and make it less tiring in the legs. If you have tiles, in your kitchen, you might want to consider these. If you are a Costco member they are having a special, at the moment.

  • I have no carpet in my new house and don't miss carpet at all. It is just so much cleaner and less dusty

  • We have a warehouse we renovated 25 years ago. We have Jarrah hardwood floors downstairs and they still look fantastic. The carpets in the bedrooms are awful. Holes chewed by moths, streaks where various cats have thrown up, etc. These were expensive wool carpets. If I had my time over, again, I would’ve put hardwood throughout and rugs in walking corridors in the bedrooms. When the rugs get tatty I can replace them. Yes, the floorboards were, horrifically, expensive, but they won’t need replacing in my lifetime. The carpets should’ve been replaced 10 years ago, to be honest.

  • +1 vote

    One of my mates went with laminate flooring from this place and I was agreeably surprised when I saw it. He said they were affordable and knowledgeable. Might be worth checking them out if you're in the area.

    Edit: To answer your question , my wife has a dust allergy. So, I never had a choice. Our house also had beautiful original floorboards hidden under ugly , brownish-green carpet when we bought it. It took a lot of time and effort to bring the hardwood back to its former glory. It would have been a shame to hide it under carpet again. We have big rugs under the beds and in the hallway and it works just fine.

  • We have carpet upstairs (including the stairs) and tiles downstairs - except the lounge room which is carpeted. During extended renovations we didn’t have much carpet upstairs and it seemed noisier and not as warm.

    For carpet the biggest consideration for me is the noise from upstairs. Carpetted floors upstairs reduce the footstep noise a lot. Important when you’ve got kids playing upstairs and you want to watch TV. Friends with hardfloors upstairs house is a lot noisier.

    Hard floors in the main living area for certain.