Interior Design

Design expert reveals the surprising carpet color guaranteed to transform a small room – and the pattern to avoid

The secret to a successful small space is found in the right hues – and knowing what not to do

Patterned carpet in living room by Brintons
(Image credit: Brintons)

The best color for a small room is a continuous discussion point amongst interiors enthusiasts – and not just when it comes to walls. While we may carefully curate living room paint ideas to accentuate our spaces, carpet colors are just as impactful for creating the illusion of space and highlighting the best room's features. 

However, while one carpet color is particularly celebrated for its ability to add depth and intimacy to a room, there's a particular design that experts urge us to avoid. 

‘Similarly to how dark walls can transform a small room, or a patterned wallpaper can bring interest to an otherwise dull space, a patterned carpet is an inspired way to make a feature of a smaller room, adding interest and character. 

'However, it is important to choose the right patterned carpet depending on the size of the room,’ says residential designer at Brintons, Jodie Hatton. 

What is the best carpet color to have?

According to Brintons, deep purple carpets are the secret to transforming your room, as it creates a ‘whole world of drama and impact’ throughout the space. 

‘The color creates an energetic, cheerful atmosphere, making it ideal for lively, social spaces. The addition of dark flooring can add depth to a large space and make it feel more intimate,’ Jodie adds.

While dark and decadent carpets may be associated with dated room schemes, Jodie reassures us that contemporary purples ooze an eclectic combination of elegance and sophistication that will only complement your space.  

Purple carpet in a living room with a large seat and house plant

(Image credit: Future)

Homes & Gardens' Editor in Chief Lucy Searle adds a word of caution, though: 'Purple is quite a defining color – and once you have committed to a carpet, you are equally committed to the limited number of colors you can use to complement it. And, if you add pattern to the mix, you are limiting yourself further. 

'When it comes to choosing a purple carpet, especially for a living space, I would advise choosing one that's much nearer to grey than classic purple, which will be easier to coordinate and redecorate around.'

The carpet patterns to avoid in small spaces

While purple carpets will elevate your small room, Jodie also reveals which carpet we should avoid in a small space. ‘Patterns with a wider repeat don’t always work in smaller spaces, as you don’t get the full effect of the motif,’ she says. If the motif is incomplete, the room could feel smaller.

However, if you still want to know how to mix patterns in a room, the best alternative is to invest in a dark patterned carpet that exhibits ‘tighter floral repeats and tartans. In larger spaces, up-scaled, blowsy florals or sprawling abstract designs are most impactful,’ Jodie adds. 

Patterned carpet in living room by Brintons

(Image credit: Brintons)

As for pattern, Lucy Searle adds: 'If you are having carpet in a living space, choosing one with a pattern is a good idea because it will hide the debris that inevitably clings to it, meaning that you won't have to vacuum every day. But again, I'd urge caution in choosing the pattern, picking one that's incredibly subtle so that your decorative scheme isn't too limited by it for the life of the carpet.'

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.