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The number of residential carpet styles available on the market today can make choosing the best option for your particular needs seem overwhelming. Fortunately, most of these residential carpet styles can fit into 4 main categories. Understanding the pros and cons of each category can make choosing wall-to-wall carpet much easier and a more informed decision as well.


All carpeting begins as looped. To make certain carpet styles, the tops of the loops are sheared off to make a cut pile. A combination of cut and loop can be used to produce a sculpted or carved look or an abstract or geometric patterned carpet.


The  durability of a carpet can be influenced greatly by the particular style but it is important to remember it can also be influenced by the following factors:

Face Weight

The face weight of a carpet is the weight of the carpet pile measured in ounces per square yard of carpet. This is important but should not be the only quality measurement of a carpet and it is not always the best way to determine durability.

Carpet Density

How close together the fibers are stitched into the carpet backing determines the carpet density. If 2 carpets are of the same fiber type and style, the one with the higher density would be a more durable carpet.

Fiber Twist

This is one of the best indicators of carpet durability and quality. The fiber twist is the number of times the strands of fiber are twisted together in a one-inch length of fiber. The formula is called the carpet’s twist number or turns per inch (TPI).

Type of Fiber

The different carpet styles come in many different types of fibers, all having different characteristics. The most common are Nylon, Olefin, Polyester, Triexta, and Wool. Some work better in certain situations than others. Please see our article on purchasing new carpet here.

Manufacturers' Warranties

All carpets come with manufacturers' warranties. Some carpet styles come with better warranty terms than others. These terms can often be confusing or difficult to understand.

Make sure to work with a professional carpet retailer to thoroughly understand the length of a warranty and exactly what it covers.


They are:

  • Saxony - a cut pile available in straight or textured appearance producing fibers that stand straight up and are cut into even lengths.
  • Frieze – a cut pile with long fibers that have a high twist
  • Berber – a looped pile.
  • Cut and Loop – these have some cut and some looped fibers that are combined to make a pattern in the carpet.


Saxony style is a cut pile of medium height. There are 2 types:

Straight Saxony

In this type, all the fibers are going in the same direction producing a uniform color, similar in appearance to velvet. If a hand is brushed across the surface, a difference in color in the opposite direction will be noticed because light is reflected in a different way. It is beautiful and luxurious but will show every footprint and every vacuum stroke.

Saxony Straight Plush Residential Carpet StyleSaxony Straight Plush Residential Carpet Style

Textured Saxony

In this type of Saxony the fibers are twisted in different directions, reflecting the light differently. Brushing a hand across the surface will not produce much of a difference in color. Therefore the textured Saxonies  are more popular for busy households since they help to hide footprints and vacuum marks.

Saxony residential carpet styles come in many grades of quality, from the lowest to the highest and are also available in just about every type of carpet fiber including nylon, triexta, polyester, and wool. The density, the twist of the fiber, and the type of fiber are all important in choosing a durable Saxony carpet. Select a quality appropriate to your particular conditions. For ex., in higher traffic areas, Saxonies with a high density and high twist would do exceptionally well.

Saxony Textured Residential Carpet StyleSaxony Textured Residential Carpet Style


Frieze Residential Carpet StyleFrieze Residential Carpet Style
Frieze Residential Carpet StyleFrieze Residential Carpet Style
Frieze Residential Carpet StyleFrieze Residential Carpet Style
Frieze Residential Carpet StyleFrieze Residential Carpet Style

Frieze carpet styles have evolved from the shag carpets of yesterday but the fiber strands are much thinner than traditional shag carpet. They are sometimes called California shags. They feature long fibers that have been tightly twisted. They are very durable due to the high twist of the fibers. The fibers are usually longer than those in a Saxony style but not as high in density as most Saxonies.

Advantages of Frieze Residential Carpet Styles

  • The high durability of the frieze carpet style is its biggest advantage. This can be explained by the fact that a strand of carpet is strongest on its side, rather than on the end of the strand. Walking on a fiber that is standing straight up and down will eventually crush the carpet and can even contribute to blooming where the fibers begin to untwist at the tips. With the frieze style, the impact happens on the side of the fiber which has the maximum strength so there is no danger of crushing or blooming.
  • The frieze style is very compatible with a casual décor.
  • It is durable enough to withstand high-traffic areas such as halls and stairs.  The long fibers of a frieze hide seams well. On stairs they hide the staples well.
  • Busy households love the frieze style because the fibers are great for hiding dirt and help to minimize footprints and vacuum marks.
  • The fibers of this style are usually soft and comfortable to walk on.
  • The frieze style make great area rugs as well.

Disadvantages of Frieze Residential Carpet Styles

  • Because the fibers do not stand up straight, they can produce somewhat of a messy look with the fibers laying in every direction. Because of this, they don’t work well for formal settings.
  • They can be difficult to clean because of the long and loose fiber where spills can run everywhere. Always look for comprehensive stain and soil warranties on frieze carpets styles. Also choose a solution-dyed fiber. This means the color is added at the time of the manufacturing process forcing the color go entirely through the fiber and giving it high stain resistance.


Berber Residential Carpet StyleBerber Residential Carpet Style
Berber Residential Carpet StyleBerber Residential Carpet Style

A Berber carpet used to be what was referred to as a flecked carpet or a white or off-white carpet with a fleck of dark brown or grey. This was similar to the style of weaving done by the Berber tribes of North Africa.

The early Berbers were usually used in home offices and basement rec rooms, rather than those rooms used for entertaining because they were usually multi-colored and resembled commercial carpet styles.

When looking for the Berbers of today, we will often find a looped carpet ranging from small, tight loops to large, chunky ones. Solid-color Berber styles can also be found in soft fiber carpets (ex. Mohawk SmartStrand) that look more sophisticated than the older multi-colored styles and are softer to walk on.

Advantages of Berber Residential Carpet Styles

  • Berbers have a reputation of being less costly and more durable and easier to clean spills and spots than other styles of carpet. This may be because many Berbers are made from olefin fiber, which is a much less costly fiber than other fibers, such as nylon or wool, and is naturally stain resistant.
  • Berber style looped fibers are also less expensive to manufacture than cut pile styles since all carpet starts as looped pile. With Berbers, the cutting procedure is eliminated. Also, fibers are generally stronger in looped form than in cut form.

Disadvantages of Berber Residential Carpet Style

  • Berber style does have the disadvantage of the possibility of snagging or running. In a loop construction, things can get caught in the loop and pull it out, even though it would require a lot of force to actually pull just one loop out of a Berber and unlikely to pull out a whole row of loops.
  • Berber styles will not coexist well will cats that love to sharpen their claws and may find the Berber texture appealing for that reason.
  • When vacuuming a Berber style of carpet, if there is already a snag in the carpet, it is possible that the power head or beater bar of a vacuum could possibly get hold of the loose strand and cause it to unravel.


Cut and Loop Residential Carpet StyleCut and Loop Residential Carpet Style
Cut and Loop Residential Carpet StyleCut and Loop Residential Carpet Style
Cut and Loop Residential Carpet StyleCut and Loop Residential Carpet Style

These carpet styles are just as they sound. Some fibers are cut, others remain looped. The cut fibers and looped fibers can be combined to make a geometric or abstract pattern in the carpet.

The cut and loop styles of the 70s and 80s were available in sculptured or carved designs. Today, they have moved away from the sculptured look into more geometric designs, such as small square-or diamond-shaped patterns, as well as abstract styles in wave patterns.

Advantages of Cut and Loop Residential Carpet Styles

  • Cut and Loop styles come in a wide variety of designs and textures. They work well in the home and can also be well suited to modern or industrial style décor.
  • Cut and loop styles provide a nice texture and visual interest to a carpet. They fit very well with contemporary décor.
  • They can make very beautiful area rugs.

Disadvantages of Cut and Loop Residential Carpet Styles

  • One big disadvantage to this style is that it can look worn out early. That is because the longer cut fibers bend and untwist or bloom over the top of the shorter looped fibers, thus hiding the looped fibers.
  • Avoid a cut and loop in high-traffic areas such as stairs and hallways due to the worn out appearance. This will be even more noticeable with heavy traffic. Best suited to areas with low to moderate amounts of traffic such as bedrooms and dens.
  • Cut and loop styles are more expensive than the other types due to the added intricacy of creating the patterns.


Our staff at ABC is here to help you with questions about all phases of carpet purchase and carpet cleaning and treatments. Please feel free to call or text our office at 607-272-1566. You can also email us at

Our hours are 8 to 5 Monday through Thursday, closing on Fridays at 4:30. We are also here every Saturday from 10 to 1.

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130 Cecil Malone Drive Ithaca, NY 14850


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