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Pile Styles

Anyone who has ever shopped for new carpeting knows that there are a lot of options. This is certainly true when you are teaming up with Poulin Design Center in Albuquerque where we work with Shaw, Armstrong, Mohawk, and others to offer you a huge selection. No matter where you are in the design process, this guide should help you keep track of your style options.

Carpet Pile

A carpet’s pile is the visible surface of the carpet made up of strands of yarn that are connected to a backing material. There are two main categories of carpet pile – loop and cut. Loop pile is as it sounds. The yarn strands are connected to the backing material in a series of loops. Cut pile starts out as loop pile, but the loops are cut, which leaves one end of the yarn strands extending out from the backing material. Each category has a variety of styles.

Cut Pile Types


Saxony is probably what you think of when you picture carpet in your mind. It has become the “classic” carpet style. It has a uniform pile length and is sometimes reserved for more formal areas of the home. It is dense, soft, and comfy, but it does tend to show footprints and vacuum tracks.

Textured Saxony

Textured saxony is similar to regular saxony, except that it may have a bit more pile height and its strands are twisted and set so that they do not stand up uniformly. This helps textured saxony hide footprints and other tracks. It is considered a bit more casual than standard saxony.


Depending on who you ask, plush can be considered a type of saxony. You may also hear it referred to as “velvet.” Plush is a cut loop pile carpet with a shorter pile height that offers a refined, elegant, and formal look. Like regular saxony, it too will show footprints and vacuum tracks.


With more of a twist than textured saxony, frieze carpet is made so that the strands fall over to create an intentionally non-uniform look. This makes frieze a “trackless” carpet style that will hide usage marks. It is also a durable style of carpet that hides wear, as well as dirt.


What you once may have called “shag” would now be referred to as “cable.” This carpet style uses a thicker, longer yarn with a heavy twist. It offers a luxurious feel, but is still often considered a bit less formal than saxony varieties. If you are looking for an option that does well to hide tracks, this is a good choice.

Loop Pile Types


The most common type of loop pile carpet is berber. This is the dense, low loop pile carpet that you commonly find in commercial settings like hotels and business offices. But don’t let that dissuade you from using it at home. Berber offers great style and excellent durability. It’s become one of the most popular styles of carpet available for these reasons.

Patterned Loop

A patterned loop carpet uses loops of varying heights to create a visible pattern on the surface of the carpeting. The end result is a bit more casual in style, but it is also more intriguing for the eye and still provides the high level of durability that loop pile carpet is prized for.


There are also mixed varieties of carpeting that incorporate both loop and cut pile. These are also patterned carpets that offer a bit more visual diversity and so draw the eye downward. They are sometimes referred to as “sculptured” carpets, and they have the benefit of looking great and hiding signs of traffic and use.

Free Design Consultation

Hopefully this breakdown of the different types of carpet pile will help you in your selection process. And don’t forget, the Poulin Design Center flooring experts are here to help as well. When you schedule your free, no-obligation consultation in the Albuquerque area, we will actually bring our mobile showroom to you and discuss all of your options in detail.

Photo Credit: severija