Choosing a Carpet for the Basement

November 24th, 2009

We have been working on finishing our basement.

It has been a very slow moving project.

We had the basement sheet-rocked in the spring by Mike the ‘morel mushroom guy‘.

We believed we would paint the basement ourselves, but for some reason…

We could not seem to get it done.

So a month ago, we hired a painter….

And now we are ready for the next step.

Which involves using metal folding chairs, blue plumbers tape, an old desk and planks of plywood to determine if we have enough room to put a small bar in the T.V. room.

The blue tape outlines where a narrow back counter would go against the wall with some shelving above it.  The desk indicates a bar.  The X’s on the floor are actually bar-stools and the planks of plywood represent a sectional couch.    As you can see, it is all pretty tight.  It would be nice to have a bar, but I am not sure there is really room.

In the mean time, the Country Doctor has been putting down slate tile in the basement bathroom and we liked the look of it so much that we decided to put the same tile in the ‘proposed bar area’.

Even if we don’t have room for a bar, we still intend to put a counter along the back wall with a small sink and some upper shelving, so the tile will go down in that area.  Not only will it serve to keep some spills off the carpet, but it will also break up the ocean of carpet that will cover the rest of the basement floor.

And that brings us to the current dilemma of choosing a basement carpet.

Here were the initial round of contenders.  We were leaning towards a dark carpet for the obvious reasons… four boys…. orange soda…. potato chips… slumber parties…. show cats…. etc, etc, etc.  We also wanted a very soft carpet for the wrestling matches that always seem to accompany the orange soda/slumber party/show-cat/potato chip/four boys madness that goes on around here!

The boys decided that the best way to choose the carpet was to have a tournament.  Each carpet square got paired up for the first round, except for the carpet square on the end which received a ‘bye’ – yes – ‘a bye’…  a carpet sample received a bye….

I live in a very strange world.

The boys voted by placing a domino on their favorite choice in each pair.

The winning sample in each pair moved ahead to the next round.  Look at how serious they are!  Sometimes I feel very alone in this house.

These two squares fought it out for the championship.  I guess that dark sample won for my family, but not for me.  I was not satisfied at all, and went out and got some different samples.  This time, there was not a carpet tournament bracket, because I brought in a champion with an unfair advantage.

My mom.

We laid out the new samples in the bathroom that has the slate tile down already and also has the same color on the wall as in the living area.

We were looking for a sample that worked with both elements.

We narrowed it down to these four choices.

And then to these two final choices.

Although, I liked the dark carpet because it covers up a multitude of errors, I was a little worried about making the basement space too dreary.

So we decided on the lighter choice.  It has enough ‘specks’ in it to disguise a lot of orange soda and it will help to keep the space from becoming too dark which is always a problem in basements.

Now back to deciding if we really have enough space for that bar….


  • Martha in Kansas:

    Quite a project! I like the colors and agree that flooring that’s too dark will be cave-like. The tile is pretty. The photo of the doc in the bathroom is… interesting. My thought is, the men are not going to care what it looks like all that much, so go with what you’ll enjoy. Oh, and bar cabinets against the wall sound like it would work for storage. If you need a counter/table to sit up to, how about one that folds out?? do they make those? Looking forward to the final result pictures.

  • Great choices – it’s going to be wonderful. I love the look on the boy’s faces! We don’t have basements here. :(

  • Debra:

    Good choice! I know from experience that a dark carpet shows up every.single.crumb!

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    Ooooo! Our basements look the same! Except mine has a large pile of oak trim in it, which I’m guessing will wait until after the holidays.
    Bars are handy. We have a whole room-size area for ours, and I can’t wait to have cabinets there to store the overflow from my kitchen. From your space I’d say a bar “wall” would work best, with full-sized base cabinets.
    For carpet – I thought darker colors would close things up, so I went with a neutral shade a bit darker than my neutral walls in our living room. I also didn’t want to take away from the oak trim. And honestly, I can’t wait to put a dark, more colorful area rug in the middle. The room looks so bland, despite eggplant curtains and a kind of olive green sofa. But for now, the floor between the TV and the sofa looks like a big sea of neutral “blah.” A darker carpet that gives more contrast, like the one on the right in your final choices, might make it feel more “grounded,” no pun intended. I’ll try to email you a couple of pics of my too light and neutral blooper.

  • Rechelle, what is the name of the paint color? It is beautiful.

  • I believe I can answer Heidi’s question. We just recently painted our living room a VERY SIMILAR color and are looking through VERY SIMILAR carpet samples. Please choose for us both so I can move on with my life!

  • Ronda:

    It appears that you have picked the carpet we just put down earlier this year in our living room. So far, it’s working like a charm! May it serve you well, grasshopper.

  • Jennifer:

    Wow! It looks great. I only wish my basement looked that good (and I’m talking about when yours was just framing and insulation!). Sigh–I have a very old basement. Practically dirt floors.

  • Darla (McIntosh) Schmalzried:

    Love the tile and the wall color. You’ve made a good choice going with the lighter carpet. Dark carpet shows every little piece of lint!

  • Inga:

    Looks like things are progressing! Yea! You all will get so much use out of that area.

    I have that tile in our master bathroom, and we have a similar short shag with specs that you are looking at in our family room. We really like it.


  • CD:

    Looks like Brown v. Brown to me.

  • Try a Malibu bar that would match the shelves/cabinets you put in. They have wheels so you can move it out and open it up for bar time, then close it up and roll it back to it’s spot when done.

  • maybe google steamer bar? Overseas we have some more decorative ones but similar idea

  • Myra:

    I love and adore your slate in the bathroom!

  • Deb:

    Good choice. Dark carpet shows every little piece of lint etc. You’ll be happy you chose the lighter one.

  • Erin:

    We finished our basement after we moved in – and we used a bunch of slate tile like you’re using in the bathroom in our bar and fireplace areas. If you need any ideas and are in the area – swing by anytime! :-)

  • Susan:

    I once had chocolate brown carpeting in a room and I hated it. It may seem that it wont show anything, but any light colored material – paper, hair, etc. – seems to pop out.

    so glad you are choosing a lighter color – you will be so glad.

  • I was rooting for that carpet all along.
    Good choice!
    Dark carpeting actually shows more than light carpet.

    I adore your tile. The colors are so ‘me’…LOL
    Are you putting heating under the bathroom tiles?

    I hope you get your bar.
    I wish my basement had one….

  • Kristina:

    Instead of floating the bar out into the room you could build it along the back wall. Lighter colored carptet it the right choice!!!! Dark carpet shows every speck of whatever may fall!

  • Kristina:

    Sorry, didn’t finish what I had to say. Build a more substantial bar along the back wall and maybe make it into an L shape.

  • Sandee:

    We finished our basement for our two boys (now 24 and 21). I would advise you to keep as much of the space open as possible. Growing boys and their friends take up a lot of square footage. Image 5 football players over 6′ weighing 230lbs plus.

  • This has nothing to do with the basement. Did you ever consider installing a urinal in your home? I have two little boys and I am trying to convince my husband we need one in our new home.

  • Rechelle:

    Sandee – I am covering my ears to you and saying ‘la la la la’ so that I can’t hear what you are saying! I don’t want to imagine that… or trying to feed that!

    Laura – Yes, I considered it – never very seriously – but I do think it is a good idea.

  • Our basement is begging us to finish it. Yours is looking great!

    And your boys sure did come up with an ingenious way to pick out carpet, but I love how mom always wins :)

  • Dee from Tennessee:

    LOVE the slate tile!

  • joann in tx:

    that was my original pick from the 6 choices!
    good choice! i think your basement will look great when
    finished! i love the slate tiles!!!

  • Mary:

    We had chocolate brown carpet put in our house when we bought it new. I hated it. It would show every piece of white lint. So better to go a little lighter. We got rid of that carpet and went with a lighter blue but ten years later we went with laminate wood.

  • Your finished basement is going to be great! I also love the way your slate tile looks! We did a similar/the same slate tile in our snack room (future bar) and it looks really good!

  • Freth:

    The carpet tournament seems like it would have been a fun evening … could have even gone with someone playing a sports announcer, side bets, and refreshments for more entertainment!

    Not too dark, not too light, … kind of a medium color with variegated speckles to hide a multitude of sins (er .. spills and food droppings) … a little touch of color imitating red dirt wouldn’t hurt if you live in that kind of country … then you’d never know the difference — or at least wouldn’t have to worry about it so much. Love the tiles!