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Office Carpets: The Complete Guide To Office Carpeting

Table of contents 

Introduction to Office Carpets
Why Carpeting Is a Great Choice for Office Space Projects
How to Choose the Right Office Carpets
Commercial Carpet vs. Hard Flooring
Acoustic Benefits of Carpet
Office Carpet Design - What Are Your Options?
Why Choose Carpet Tiles?
Custom Design Carpets For Offices
What Is the Price of an Office Carpet?
Understanding Carpet Properties
Do You Have a Current Office Project You Want to Talk About? 

Introduction to Office Carpets

Office carpets are on top of the list for many businesses when choosing what kind of flooring the office should have. With brilliant design selections, great acoustic qualities and an abundance of other advantages that check all the right boxes, carpets for offices are always a solid choice for commercial flooring. Take it from us, however, that selecting the right office carpets for each of your projects may not be as easy as it appears. There are many fantastic options with so many factors to take into account. Therefore, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to take you through the entire process of choosing the best office carpets.

Download The Ultimate Guide to Carpets

Why Office Carpeting Is a Great Choice for Office Spaces

Allowing you more freedom and flexibility in creativity and design than any other flooring material, office carpeting is the perfect pick for any office design project. With new high-velocity dye-technologies, custom carpet manufacturers provide you with the tools to create virtually anything on high-quality material at an appropriate price. Flooring is such an important part of any design project, encompassing a massive percentage of an office space. Great office carpets enable you to use this space to your advantage by creating a design that defines the brand you are working for, and a carpet for office use is the most practical flooring choice for an everyday work environment due to its ability to absorb and improve sound in an open office layout.

Wall-to-wall-office-carpets-by-ege-in-copenhagen

How to Choose the Best Office Carpets

Designing an office space can be a long process, part of which includes picking the perfect carpeting for the office. Choosing the right carpet for your next office-project requires you to assess the workspace and consider the multiple factors that can affect commercial carpet types. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when picking a carpet for office use.

How long does the office carpet need to last?

First things first. Figure out what the office carpet’s life expectancy should be. A basic rule of thumb: the longer the lease, the higher quality of carpet required. 

A quality commercial carpet has a life expectancy of 10-30 years and will remain in tip-top shape as long as it is properly maintained.

How will the different spaces in the office be used?

Next, determine how much each office area will be used in terms of foot traffic and furniture movement. Private offices and conference rooms may require lower levels of carpet resilience due to moderate use, while corridors and common areas typically receive heavy use. These are important things to consider when choosing the best office carpet for your office. 

Read more for further details on performance attributes of different office carpets for different levels of usage.

What will this carpet look like in an actual office space?

Lighting can impact your office carpets in more ways than one, changing the look and feel of your design completely. Taking office carpet samples on-site allows you to view the carpet under the office lighting, as well as bring your vision to life in the space it will operate. Your client is putting faith in you to design something spectacular, so why not give them a taste of your creative talent by bringing some office carpet samples to show in person.

office-carpet-inspiration-by-ege

How well can a commercial office carpet handle stains such as coffee spills?  

It's essential to select different carpeting for different areas, such as cafeterias and corridors, which foster heavy foot traffic and coffee drinkers. When someone inevitably spills their cup of coffee or carries in dirt on their shoes, it’s best to have colour choices that fall in the medium range, which are able to mute out the daily build-up of soil and stains on the office carpets.

office-carpets-must-be-durable

How will this carpet perform in a workspace?

Cushion backing improves comfort and carpet performance, as it absorbs the impact of foot traffic, making carpet fibres look better and last longer in a workspace. Carpet backing for office use is not only comfortable on the feet, but also easy on the ears due to its ability to improve acoustics. Consult with your carpet supplier to be sure you specify the right carpet backing for each area in the office building.

carpet-backing-role-for-office-use

Should I create a flooring plan?

Preparing a detailed carpet placement plan can reduce costly mistakes and delays on carpet installations for large office environments. Have a supplier check over your flooring plan to ensure all components run smoothly.

How can I prepare for office carpet installation?

Before installing your new office carpet, confirm all details at hand with your carpet supplier and office carpet installer prior to delivery. Have a logistics plan in place and take into account possible delays such as the 24 hour wait time for broadloom carpet to settle flat before installation and whether the space will require airing for 48 hours or more after installation due to the type of adhesives used.

Costly mistakes are common at the installation stage unless careful preparations are made. You don’t want this happening with your project. Instead, you want to be able to admire the stunning results.

Office Carpets Pros & Cons

There’s no denying that options such as hardwood, polished concrete or tiles can be a great choice for many flooring spaces, so, when and why might office carpets be the ideal option for one of your office design projects? What are the benefits of office carpets vs hard flooring options? Let's take a look. 

In general, hard flooring options lack the variety of styles, designs, textures and construction types available with their carpets counterpart. When properly installed and fitted, a good quality carpet brings an abundance of advantages to a workspace that stretch further than just physical appearance.

Design versatility

“Each carpet is a work of art and had it not been for the design freedom we were allowed with custom designs, we would have missed an extraordinary dimension in the rooms.”

Mikkel Küster, Interior Designer MAKVäRK


office-carpet-design-with-carpet-tiles-and-plush-rugs

Working with a carpet manufacturer for commercial or domestic use provides you with the freedom to pinpoint exactly what you are looking for in your office carpet design. From vibrant colours, to custom ordered patterns, to luxurious fibre textures and classic neutral tones - the choice is yours.

See how this office space took advantage of carpet design versatility here.

Sustainable office carpets

Turn your office project into an eco-friendly one by selecting a carpet manufacturer that has devoted itself to creating sustainable  office carpets that do not cause negative impact to the environment. Some types of carpets for offices contain dangerous substances which not only cause harm to the ecosystem, but can also pose a threat to the health of workers. It is imperative to look into what materials manufacturers use. For example, many manufacturers use bitumen and PVC in carpet backing, which is bad for the environment. 

Sustainability and environmental impact may also be of great importance to your client who may only want to use sustainable office carpets. If so, choose a carpet provider that has implemented recycling systems and sustainable processes like Cradle to Cradle. Some carpet manufacturers, such as ege, even go as far as to use recycled fishing nets in their carpet yarns to remain eco-friendly.

If you aspire to work in an environmentally conscious way, but are unsure of what you need to make that happen, take a look at the 11 Things You Need to Look For When Talking Carpets and Sustainability.

Sustainable-carpet-tiles-for-office-and-universities

Durability of office carpets

Carpeting is generally thought of as the less durable choice when it comes to flooring but through regular housekeeping and maintenance, office carpets will perform for decades. In Europe, carpets should be rated in terms of durability and long-term appearance retention through EN 1307, the European standard of textile flooring (which we will thoroughly define further in this guide). Make certain that your carpet manufacturer uses proper testing equipment and holds their product to the utmost quality standard.

Download The Architect's Guide to Choosing The Right Carpet

No static shock

Static electricity is a phenomenon which can cause danger in indoor environments. By deciding on a carpet with permanently anti-static and conductive fibres, your shock problem is solved in your office environment. In most office spaces, this is merely a question of comfort. But in select cases, delicate electronic equipment or flammable substances might require a completely static-free environment. If you are in doubt, check with your client and report back to your carpet supplier to make certain the carpet you select lives up to the anti-static demands.

Thermal comfort and energy efficiency

Office carpets can significantly improve the thermal comfort of interior environments. The fibres that make up carpet act as natural insulators, meaning the floor feels warmer and does not draw heat away from feet as quickly as hard flooring options do.

Office carpeting could lower energy bills, as it is able to reduce room temperature by 2-3 degrees Celsius without the room feeling colder. Carpets offer the same effect in colder environments by trapping the heat, making it a balancing factor throughout the year.

A safer environment with carpets for offices

Office carpets provide a safe environment with a reduced risk of falls, slips and trips. Carpets act as an adhesive friction, lightly grabbing the soles of the feet and increasing stability, unlike smooth flooring types. If a fall should happen anyway, carpets offer softer surfaces to land on making the consequences of a fall far less serious. From an orthopaedic standpoint, commercial carpets provide soft and springy fibres that are easy on the feet and joints after a long workday.

Lower noise levels with office carpeting

Hard surfaces reflect sound, causing open office layouts to become noisy and bothersome. The acoustical benefits provided by office carpets are essential in a workspace, as the carpet is able to reduce noise through absorbing sound - creating a workspace with less distractions inhibiting its employees.

It is critical to consider the acoustics of a room when creating an interior design for an open office layout. In this next section, we will uncover the acoustic benefits that office carpets provide.

Acoustic Benefits of Office Carpets

Carpets are really the base of the whole space. It acts as the first building block of a room. It is not just a colour vehicle, it is a sound deadening vehicle, a comfort vehicle as well. It softens a space immensely in no other way than any bit of furnishing can.

Tom Dixon

To fully grasp the importance of acoustic control, take a moment to empathise with the employees that will actually work in your project space. Imagine yourself trying to finalise a design for an important client - you have a deadline approaching and need full focus. On the opposite end of the room a group of colleagues engage in conversation. You’re shocked that they can be so far away, yet sound as if they’re within arm’s length. On the the right side of you, a colleague answers a phone call, on the left side, you hear the grinding of coffee beans in the kitchen and the countless sound of footsteps entering the office throughout the day. All these disturbances can quickly turn a productive workspace into a noisy nightmare.

A study carried out by the Danish National Institute of Occupational Health indicates that more than half of all employees working in open space office environments are negatively affected by noise.

As an architect or a designer, a quality office carpet is your number one tool to improve the sound quality of an office space. The carpet itself absorbs sound as efficiently as acoustical materials and can further reduce, absorb and mute noise with the addition of a cushion backing.

How to achieve the best acoustic results with office carpets

You must consider each area of the office to determine how much noise canceling properties will be necessary in your final choice of office carpeting. Will this area a be a silent lounge or a loud and busy corridor? Are chairs going to be pulled back and forth? Will this be a space for telephone calls? After analysing your space and determining the required noise level in each area, you must select what kind of office carpet that should be installed to successfully improve the sounds of the room.

For the best results in acoustic quality it is imperative to consult with your carpet provider, but in general do note that:

  • The carpet backing you select for your office carpet has the greatest impact on the sound absorption of your carpet. 
  • A higher mass of fibres will also be more efficient at absorbing sound, with wool fibres being exceptional.
  • Some manufacturers even offer acoustic-optimised carpet backing.
  • According to the Carpet and Rug Institute the more permeable a carpet backing, the more sound energy can penetrate into the cushion resulting in a higher Noise Reduction Coefficient.

To gain a deeper understanding of the factors that make commercial carpeting the superior choice over hard surface flooring, see our guide on improving the sounds of a room. 

Office Carpet Design – What Are Your Options?

So, you've made the decision to install commercial carpeting in your next office project? It's time to dive into the premium office carpeting design choices available to you.

Important decisions as to what type of carpet is most suitable for your project, will further impact circumstances such as delivery time, cost, quality, durability and, finally, design options.

Should you choose broadloom or carpet tiles in your office?

Of course, a good carpet supplier will assist you along the way with expert advice, but the more you know yourself, the better you are able to understand and appreciate that advice and make informed decisions.

Without further ado, let's define carpet types and constructions:

Types of Office Carpets

Broadloom carpet (or wall-to-wall): Is manufactured in long, wide rolls and installed either directly to stick on the subfloor or laid on underfelt over the substrate flooring using tiny tacks. Broadloom carpets for offices present unlimited design options and a seamless canvas for custom designs. Despite the name, wall-to-wall carpet does not have to cover a whole room; the carpet can be easily installed in specific areas or integrated with another carpet or flooring type. Read our comprehensive guide on wall-to-wall carpet to learn more. 

Beautiful, white wall-to-wall carpet by ege at Broennums Hus Office in Copenhagen Denmark

Carpet tiles: Small squares of carpet that can be laid in many versatile ways. Often cheaper than broadloom, carpet tiles for offices are also faster and easier to lay, saving both time and money. Wall-to-wall carpet certainly trumps carpet tiles for high-end projects, but for more casual office spaces, carpet tiles can often be a good option. Find out more about when you should use carpet tiles here or check out our comprehensive guide on carpet tiles

Click here to browse through an impressive selection of carpet tiles with an abstract twist.

Creative carpet tiles by Tom Dixon at Brønnums Hus in Copenhagen, Denmark

Office Carpets Constructions

Tufted: 95 % of commercial carpets on the market are tufted. Tufted carpets are known for a quick and easy installation process and a low price point. Tufted carpets produce great results in most applications, however, there are times when the superior quality and durability of woven carpets may be preferable.

Woven: Weaving was the production process of choice in the 1950’s, but due to the carpet’s remarkable quality and acoustic benefits, most carpet suppliers carry woven carpets today. Woven carpets are made up of materials such as 100 % wool or wool blends. The quality and purity of the wool are important factors influencing the long-term appearance and durability of the carpet. The luxurious feel and elegant appearance of woven carpets make them an ideal selection for high-end projects.

A regal, nature inspired wall-to-wall carpet from the Atelier collection by Monsieur Christian Lacroix by ege


Needle punched:
Needle punched carpet is not recommended for general use as it lacks in design versatility and offers little in look and feel. However, this construction is an excellent choice for areas where moisture could be a problem, such as entryways.

office carpet tiles by ege in checkered grey

Wall-to-wall carpet or carpet tiles – what’s best option for an office carpet?

Broadloom, also known as wall-to-wall carpets, are essential for office projects where you wish to use large-scale patterning or are seeking a superior luxurious effect. The design versatility offered by wall-to-wall carpets is unmatched, as all results are breathtakingly seamless. Carpet tiles are equally good for most other office applications and offer a great alternative if the budget is tight, the timeline on your project is restrictive or regular maintenance and replacement is an issue. If you feel doubtful toward carpet tiles, read our next section, Why Choose Carpet Tiles, to understand their benefit in workspace settings.

Why Choose Carpet Tiles For Offices?

High quality tiles = high quality design options

Carpet tiles are growing in popularity among commercial use, including office use, and offer countless configurations to create different effects for your project design. With high quality carpet tiles now available in a swathe of different shapes and colours, just showing your client the multiple design possibilities could sway their thinking in no time.

If you feel like getting inspired, take a look at the incredible office carpet tile design cases from our E-book 10 Amazing Carpet Cases We Love.

Carpets tiles for office use reduce time and costs

Of course, the real clincher comes when the client wants a stunning flooring result, but is on a tight budget, tight deadline or both. If the fit-out is a renovation of an existing office space, downtime can be a real issue. 

Point out to your client that carpet tiles can be faster and easier to lay than most wall-to-wall carpets - and generate less waste in the process. Reduced time and little wastage serve to substantially reduce overall costs. In some instances, office carpet tiles can be laid with furniture in place. Not an ideal situation, perhaps, but it can be done if time and lack of disruption is a real deal breaker for the client.

It should be noted, if your client wants the time, cost and waste savings that carpet tiles offer, but prefers to work with wall-to-wall carpets, this can certainly be achieved by selecting a wall-to-wall carpet in a standard design, with standard specifications. 

pile of carpet tiles in different colours laying out on the floor and in a pile against a white chair

Practical advantages of office carpet tiles

Naturally, practical advantages can also sway a client’s flooring decision so be sure to point out that:

  • Individual tiles are easily replaceable in case of spot stains or excess wear – your client simply needs to order an extra box of the same dye lot to ensure replacements are seamless and match perfectly.
  • Carpet tiles for offices allow easy access to underfloor cabling for technicians if needed – a great advantage for conference rooms and agile workplaces that are constantly changing.
  • Office carpet tiles can be used to steer movement in offices and promote wayfinding, delineating specific uses for specific areas. 

By this stage of the discussion, you should have the client right on side and can move the conversation back to the overall design. Is your client interested in light, mid-tone or dark colours? Can they envision square, hexagon or plank shapes? Tiles that are plain, textured or heathered in design? While design versatility used to be lacking with regard to carpet tiles, this is not the case anymore. Manufacturers, such as ege, for example, offer carpet tiles in all sorts of shapes, colors and patterns. You can learn more in our comprehensive guide on carpet tiles.

piles of hexagon shaped carpet tiles in brown, white and blue

Custom Design Carpets for Offices

Tell a story through custom office carpet designs

Custom designed office carpets work as an advantage for designers and architects who want to think outside the box when telling a brand’s story. Creating a custom designed carpet for your workspace project empowers you to call all of the shots and work with limitless options in terms of colour, pattern, shape, sound and feel, creating a final product that will have your client in awe.

A carpet is a pen. A paintbrush. A notebook. A canvas. If you want your design to tell a story, carpets can help you tell it.  

 

Carpets are not just for floors. Take the design up the wall.

Large colourful wall tapestry, depicting how carpet isn't only for the floor, but can be taken up the wall

Use carpet tiles to mark off distinct areas within large office spaces.

Hexagon-shaped carpet tiles by ege in different shades of green and yellow used for wayfinding in an office

Turn carpet into a direct extension of the brand or product.

Fifa World Cup and Coca-Cola themed custom wall-to-wall carpet by ege


The flexibility provided by ege’s manufacturing process made it possible to create non repetitive designs which were fixed on the floor as well as on the walls and ceilings, creating a very peculiar office look as well as enhanced acoustic performances.

Lorenzo Zoli, Managing Director at M+N Architecture


Need some design inspiration? Download the full 10 Amazing Carpet Cases We Love Ebook to view everything from lavish, modern or eclectic office carpet designs.

Office carpet trends to watch in 2019

Minimalism has expired and with that comes a new set of office carpet trends full of extroverted designs and colours:

1. The new opulence: Highly decorative interior carpeting with exotic jewel-toned patterns, on top of more exquisite patterns.
2. Biophilic design: Patterns mimicking nature and a healthy environment.
3. Floor power: Bold colours and major design statements providing a powerful brand image.
4. Geometry lessons: Custom patterns through piecing together an endless variety of carpet tile shapes.
 

To get a better understanding of what these trends look like in real carpet project examples, see Chapter 7 of our E-book The Architects Guide to Choosing the Right Carpet.

Wall-to-wall carpet design being used to create optical illusions.

How much does Office Carpets cost?

The cost of office carpets depends on the exact specifications of quality type, installation, construction, etc. If you want to find out how much it would cost to install carpets in an office, you have to consider the following variables:

Carpet type and construction:

  • Wall-to-wall is generally more expensive than carpet tiles, with tufted being the cheaper option compared to woven. Therefore, choosing carpet tiles for your office project is likely to be the cheapest option. 
  • However, depending on the quality and design of a wall-to-wall carpet, prices can become quite similar. Ege, for example, offers a number wall-to-wall carpets that are actually less costly than carpet tiles. 

Type of fibre:

  • Prices in fibre, whether nylon or wool, fluctuate depending on pureness, dye, and type. In general, natural wool fibres cost more than nylon synthetics.
  • For wool, the pureness and average length of fibres will determine the price.
  • For nylon, prices depend on the use of bulk continuous filament (BCF) or staple fibres. Pre-dyed yarn can reduce the price of nylon. 
  • Polyester is often less expensive than Nylon, though different qualities can increase this price tag.
  • Polypropylene is generally the cheapest of the synthetics, but of poor quality. 

Standard or custom design:

  • A standard design carpet, or solid colour carpet, is typically predicted to cost less than a custom designed or custom coloured carpet.

Backing type:

  • For wall-to-wall carpet backing, your most expensive option is thick latex, followed by felt, thin latex and finally woven textile.
  • Many manufacturers around the world use bitumen and PVC in their carpet backing. This is cheaper but environmentally harmful. 

Guarantee yourself a satisfied client by making sure you ask them these 9 questions before choosing your carpet face or carpet backing.

Cost of office carpet installation:

  • Installation prices of office carpets differ depending on carpet type, as some may be more time consuming than others. Considering wall-to-wall carpet types often require a more extensive installation process, carpet tiles tend to be the cheaper installation choice.
  • Wall-to-wall carpets can also waste anywhere from 5-25 % of the product during cutting mishaps during installation. Though with proper planning, cost, time and waste can be kept to a minimum with wall-to-wall installation.
  • Installation on perimeter grippers is the most expensive carpet installation technique.

For a more extensive overview on how to estimate the price of a carpet project and how to keep costs and waste to a minimum, check out our guide, “How to Run a Profitable Carpet Project.

Understanding Carpet Properties

As discussed in the Commercial Carpets vs. Hard Surface Flooring section, there are many variables or properties that accompany a carpet next to physical appearance. With hundreds of properties to contemplate, it is up to you to consult with your client and decide which properties are most essential to include in their office environment.

Properties you need to consider when choosing an office carpet:

  • Underfoot comfort
  • Insulation properties
  • Wear resistance
  • Acoustics
  • Footstep suppression
  • Fire resistance
  • Soil resistance
  • Colour fastness
  • Light fastness
  • Light reflectance
  • Sustainability

Based on the properties most required in your project, look to certifications and classifications to narrow in on which carpet face and carpet backing will be the most appropriate choice.

EN 1307

As previously stated, EN 1307 is a standard test and classification that rates long-term appearance retention. For a carpet to become certified it must be tested to identify performance as well as identification characteristics. Test results categorise carpets in terms of domestic and commercial classifications.

EN 1307 commercial classifications:

Class 31: Moderate usage. Suited for storage rooms, as well as conference and meeting rooms. 

EN 1307 commercial carpet classifications: class-31 for moderate use

Class 32: Normal usage. Certified for commercial projects such as office spaces. 

EN 1307 commercial carpet classifications: class-32 for normal usage

Class 33: Heavy usage. Suited for areas with large amounts of traffic and spilling and soiling, like office entry areas. 

EN 1307 commercial carpet classifications: class-33 for heavy usage

Vettermann Drum test: ISO 10361

To qualify for ISO 10361, a carpet will undergo the Vettermann Drum test, which detects how much a carpet will change based on heavy foot traffic, making this test absolutely necessary for carpets in areas like entrances and walkways. The test provides results on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being a heavy change and 5 providing no change.

Other classifications and tests:

  • Fire classification – The slower a fire can spread, the higher the chance occupants have to make it to safety. Two fire and smoke tests are required under the European standard.
  • Colour fastness – Carpets that score a 5 on a 1-5 scale, test as the best in terms of a dye’s resistance to fading after undergoing wet and dry rubbing techniques.
  • Light Reflectance Value – Ability to reflect levels of light will impact the look of your final project. Note that light-coloured carpets reflect a greater portion of light and require more maintenance.
  • ISO 354 – Measuring a carpet’s acoustical absorption.

Note these important symbols upon carpet selection:

In most European countries, this symbol is required before a carpet can be used in an escape route. 

The European symbol indicating that a carpet is safe to use in an escape route

This symbol means a carpet has been permanently tested for castor chairs, which is often a key quality when choosing carpet for office settings. 

The symbol used to indicate that a carpet has been permanently tested for castor chairs

This carpet is suitable for stairs. 

The symbol indicating that a carpet is suitable for stairs

This carpet is permanently anti-static. 

The symbol indicating that a carpet is permanently anti-static

This carpet is suitable for heated floors. 

The symbol indicating that a carpet is suitable for heated floors

To view additional symbols, properties, classifications and tests click here to visit chapter 10 of an Architect’s Guide to the Right Carpet. 

Do You Have a Current Office Project You Want to Talk About?

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for assistance with your office project. From idea to unique carpet solution - no matter where you are in the process - we’d be delighted to help!

Download The Architect's Guide to Choosing The Right Carpet
Mette Frydensbjerg Jacobsen

Written by Mette Frydensbjerg Jacobsen: Mette is ege carpets' fashion savvy communications expert. Her keen eye for the sweet spot between beautiful carpets and great stories makes her our favourite pick for inspiring you with Project of the Month.