Should You Go With Dark or Light Carpets? Here’s How to Make the Best Choice

Jenna Jonaitis
Written by Jenna Jonaitis
Updated December 15, 2021
living room with light carpeting
Photo: pics721 / Adobe Stock


  • Dark carpet hides stains and dirt better than light colors, but cleaning dark carpet can leave more noticeable spots if you use harsh cleaners.

  • A darker color offers a cozy vibe, making it great for living rooms and bedrooms, especially in colder climates.

  • Light-colored carpet brightens a room, makes it feel larger, and is often easier to coordinate with your furniture. 

  • Light colors don’t hide stains and outdoor foot traffic as well, so avoid them for entryways.

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Your carpet color lays the groundwork for your entire room's appearance and feel. Whether it’s the living room or nursery, there's not one color that's a clear winner—it depends on your space and priorities for that room. If you’re torn between choosing a dark or light color carpet, we’ll help you weigh your options with confidence. 

Dark Carpet Colors Pros and Cons ​

home with dark carpeted stairs
Photo: MATTHIAS BUEHNER / Adobe Stock

Dark carpet can help hide stains and add coziness to a room, but be mindful of how it can show dust, lint, and light-colored pet hair.


  • Hides dirt and stains: The best carpet colors to hide stains are deep browns and grays because they camouflage spills of wine, pasta sauce, and other dark liquids. Dark colors also hide dirt and mud well (to a point!).

  • Offers a cozy vibe: Dark carpet tends to make a room feel warmer and cozier. If you live in a cooler climate, dark carpet fosters an extra comfy vibe in a living room or bedroom. 

  • Hides carpet seams: Even with the expertise of a local carpet installer, a seam or two may be visible, but darker colors tend to mask these seams better.

  • Makes a statement: Many consider bold, darker carpets to be more eye-catching than light, neutral colors.

  • Great for foot traffic coming from the outside: Deep tones are a top choice for entryways because dark carpet conceals dirt and mud. 

  • Less prone to fading: Darker colors absorb more light and contain more carpet dye, making them less likely to fade over time. 


  • Can make the room feel smaller: Darker colors tend to make the room feel smaller, while lighter carpets help the room feel expansive. 

  • Shows dust, lint, and light-colored pet hair more easily: Light-colored debris, including pet hair and lint, are more noticeable with dark carpet. You’ll need to vacuum regularly to keep your carpet looking clean.

  • Makes it more difficult to remove a stain: While stains are less visible in dark carpet, oxidizing and stain-removal products may lighten the carpet's color and give your carpet obvious patches.  

  • Can show wear and tear more: Heavy indoor traffic areas, such as stairs or favorite spots in a living room, become obviously worn against other parts of dark carpets. 

Light Carpet Colors Pros and Cons​

master bedroom with beige carpeting
Photo: pics721 / Adobe Stock

A light-colored carpet often makes the room feel larger and more open. It can hide some dirt, too, especially if it’s a textured design. But light-colored carpet shows spills easier and can fade over time.  


  • Makes the room feel larger: Lighter-colored tones tend to make the room feel bigger because they don't absorb as much light. Colors such as cream, beige, or light gray can make the room look spacious.

  • Hides dirt, lint, and light-colored pet hair: Lighter carpets conceal lint, dirt, and pet hair, especially with a textured or speckled design.

  • Brightens the space: Lighter tones reflect more sunlight, offering a more airy feeling.

  • Easy to coordinate with furniture: Many feel that light carpet colors complement more furniture and accessory colors and styles. If you’re planning on neutral tones for your decor, a lighter color carpet can offer more versatility.  


  • Doesn’t hide stains well: If a guest spills red wine or cranberry juice on a light-colored carpet, it’ll be tough to conceal. 

  • Shows dirt and mud: Debris from pets, kids, food, and shoes show up easily on a light-colored carpet, so avoid these tones in entryways and dining rooms.  

  • Harder to hide dark-colored pet hair: If you have a cat or dog with black or dark brown hair, it'll show up easier on a light-colored carpet.

  • May be too bright for rooms with direct sunlight: If your room gets plenty of sunlight, a very light-colored carpet might feel excessively bright.

Dark Carpet Colors vs. Light Carpet Colors

Choosing between light and dark color carpet isn’t always a clear-cut decision. Check out these key factors to determine your carpet color based on who lives in your house and your style.


Both dark and light carpets can be stunning in the right room, from pale beige textured carpets to deep browns. Lighter carpet colors tend to make a room feel larger, while dark colors make the room feel smaller yet cozy. 

Best appearance: Lighter-colored carpets make a room feel more spacious and bright, but if you want a cozy or moody vibe, dark carpet is the way to go. 

Durability​ and Longevity

If you vacuum regularly and clean up spills when they happen, both dark and light carpet colors can last up to 15 years. Darker colors tend to be more durable near entryways and dining rooms, where food spills happen more frequently. 

Cleaning stains immediately out of light-colored carpet is crucial to them looking good long-term. If you fear many spills in your future, you may want to choose a mid-color or darker carpet. 

Most durable: Both are durable, but dark wins when it comes to entryway and dining room carpet.


Carpet costs range from $1 to $20 or more per square foot. You can find excellent quality carpet for a reasonable price in any hue. Get at least three quotes from local carpet installers before agreeing to a cost.

Least expensive: Carpet is one of the most inexpensive flooring options, no matter the color.


To keep your carpets looking clean, you should vacuum a few times a week, especially if you have kids or pets. You should also shampoo or hire a local carpet cleaner twice a year. Professional carpet cleaning costs between $120 to $230 based on square footage.

Easiest to maintain: Regular cleaning is critical to any carpet color, especially if you have pets or kids at home. 

Stain-Hiding Capability 

Darker carpets hide stains best, as there’s more dye and deeper hues to conceal spills. But be careful cleaning stains from dark carpets, as harsh chemicals can alter the color, leaving a noticeable spot. While you can clean stains from lighter carpets, there can be remnants of obvious color. 

Hides stains best: Darker carpets, hands down.

Decor Coordination 

If you envision neutral-colored furniture and decor, then light-colored carpet pairs well with many of those options. You can coordinate a space with a dark carpet too, but a neutral dark color is easier, such as dark gray instead of dark red or green. 

Easiest to coordinate with furniture: Light-colored neutrals are often the easiest to pair with furniture and accessories. 

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