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A Simple Guide to Carpet Styles

09 August 2018

a 5-minute read

Here at Donnelly Watson, we’re cuckoo about carpets. Whether we’re going bonkers for Berber or loopy for Loop Pile, we understand the style, process and story behind every carpet we sell.

We also know the importance of provenance to customers. Ultimately, you want to know where something is from and how it’s been made, ensuring you make the best choice for your home or business. To help you reach a decision, here’s our simple and essential guide to carpet styles.

Cut Pile

One of the most classic and luxurious styles available, a cut pile carpet is created by punching yarn through a backing material and then back round again to make a loop. After this process has been repeated to make an entire carpet, the tops of the loops are sheared off, exposing the ends of the carpet fibre and leaving upright tufts that feel sumptuously plush underfoot. Cut pile carpets can come in all sorts of lengths and thicknesses but are generally thought to be one of the softest carpets you can buy.

What types can I choose from?

  • Plush – A standard shear that leaves the carpet fibres standing directly upright, plush cut pile carpets are sometimes also known as ‘velvet’ cut pile carpets for their luxuriously soft and even finish. A great option for cosy living rooms.
  • Twist – Cut pile carpet loops can be twisted before they are sheared, resulting in multidirectional fibres that are more resistant to marking and crushing. The tighter this twist is, the more durable and hard-wearing the carpet will be. A great option for areas of flooring with higher traffic, such as hallways and stairs.
  • Frieze – Frieze cut pile carpets feature a longer pile than other types, with wavy, multidirectional fibres that give a shaggy, natural finish. Durable due to their thick, resilient textures, frieze styles are great for keeping bare toes warm in the bedroom.

Loop Pile

A loop pile carpet is a cut pile carpet without the cutting! Leaving the carpet’s loops intact results in a much more hard-wearing finish that is resistant to fraying and holds its form under heavy footfall or furniture – perfect for high traffic areas. The loop pile carpet is also super stylish and sought after for its smooth finish and rugged natural textures – a great fit for a minimalist, Scandi-inspired home.

What types can I choose from?

  • Level – The simplest and smoothest type of loop pile carpet, a level loop pile features loops of equal height throughout the weave. This type is especially resistant to marking, crushing or matting.
  • High-low – Also known as a multi-level loop pile, high-low designs feature loops of varying heights that can be used to create all sorts of different textures. Whether you like the natural textures of randomly sized loops or the interesting patterns that can be created using loop sequences, multi-level loop pile carpets are great if you’re looking for something a bit more eye-catching.
  • Sisal – Similar to high-low designs, sisal loop pile carpets feature loops of different heights. In sisal carpets, however, these are arranged in straight rows, resulting in a natural and smooth textured finish.


The traditional way of crafting carpets, weaving is a centuries-old process that involves the interlacing of face and backing yarns on a loom. This method creates a finished carpet that requires no extra backing material, although you might find some woven carpets have a latex backing applied to increase durability.

Due to their more labour-intensive process, woven carpets are often priced higher than their tufted cousins, but they do allow for the creation of intricate patterns and designs, as well as offering a hard-wearing and classic finish. This makes them the perfect option for a traditional home or to add a focal point to a minimalist room.

What types can I choose from?

  • Axminster – Woven carpets are usually named after the type of loom they’ve been created on. Axminster is one of the oldest and most well-known types of woven carpet and uses cut pile techniques to shear the carpet fibres after weaving. Axminsters are therefore usually characterised by a velvety soft finish with beautiful patterning.
  • Wilton – A more affordable yet still high-quality variety of woven carpet, Wilton weaves can feature up to five different colours and make use of different yarns to create different textures.
  • Berber – A traditional weaving technique that was practised by the Berber people of North Africa, Berbers makes use of loop pile techniques to craft an extremely durable and hard-wearing carpet that can still feature intricate patterns and designs.

Types of Fibre

Carpets can be crafted from all sorts of different fibres, each of which will give your flooring a different texture, look and feel:

  • Nylon – A popular choice for its strong resistance to staining and wear, nylon fibre is a great low-maintenance option that’s perfectly suited to family homes or workplaces.
  • Polyester – Often made from recycled plastic bottles, polyester fibre is an eco-friendly choice that is renowned for its ability to hold vibrant colour. Less resistant to marking than other fibres, polyester is best used to add beauty to low-traffic areas in the home.
  • Polypropylene – With it’s wool-like fibres, polypropylene is often favoured as a lower-cost, synthetic alternative to natural wool. Often found in Berber-style loop pile carpets, polypropylene is more stain-resistant but slightly less durable than nylon.
  • Wool – The softest fibre available, natural wool is a traditional and luxurious choice. While higher-grade wools might come with a matching price tag, they are longer lasting and more resilient than lower grade types, so are worth saving up for if you’re set on a wool carpet.

Hopefully that’s carpets all cleared up for you! If you’re still unsure or just want some personalised advice, our knowledgeable carpet experts will be happy to oblige; we can even create a bespoke design tailored to your needs. To arrange a free consultation, get in touch today.

Contact us today!