With wood or laminate floors being in vogue lately, it's easy to overlook carpets. However, I don't think they seem so outdated, especially when I can put carpet in bedrooms where I'm not putting my bare feet on a cold floor. They do have their advantages in certain settings and applications.
Can insulate floors: A lot of people don't think about the ways that heat can escape their homes. The floor is one of them, especially when the ground is frozen during the winter months. A carpet can slow down the rate at which heat escapes through your floor.
Absorbs and dampens sound: This is especially valuable if people in other rooms complain that you've got the TV too loud. While there is a limit to the number of decibels that carpets can absorb, having a carpet can reduce these complaints.
Reduces the chance of slipping: If you have people in your household who are unsteady on their feet, a carpet can help give them some traction so that they are less likely to slip on a slick surface and possibly hurt them selves.
Easy to vacuum: If you have vacuuming, I recommend getting a Romba that can handle carpets as easily as hardwood floors. Keeping a carpet vacuumed is exactly that easy and you can choose options that make it easy to clean up pet fur if you wish.
Comes in a wide variety of styles: If your sick of the idea of a floor that is some shade of brown or red-brown, a carpet can change things up for you. You could even choose eco-friendly fibers in cheerful colors if this suits you.
Cheaper than hardwood floors: The price tends to be attractive to people who want a new floor option but don't want to spend a lot of money.
Difficult to clean up spills and accidents: Speaking from personal experience, it's tough to keep a carpet clean if you have a pet who suffers from a health problem that leads to frequent wetting in an area other than the litter box. This makes things hard on your carpet when there is a limit on how often you want to rent one of those professional grade carpet cleaners.
May develop mold and mildew in a humid environment: While this may also be true of some hardwood floors, carpet tends to pose a risk of harmful mold and mildew unless you're willing to run a dehumidifier or you live in a dry climate.
My be prone to collecting dust, pet dandruff and other allergens if you don't clean properly: Next time you buy a vacuum cleaner, look for one that is designed to contain dust and dandruff. Make sure it's not going to just blow them back into the air when you vacuum.
May need to be changed more often: Carpet is pretty cheap, but it also tends to wear out more quickly than hardwood floors. On the upside, you could use this as an excuse to change the look of your floor more often.
Sweep often: Depending on the level of activity in your home, an average of once or twice a week should suffice.
Try not to spill liquids: If you do, clean them up as quickly as possible so that they won't stain or damage your carpet.
Pay attention to spots that have developed mildew or mold: This can be tricky because mold and mildew can hide until they become serious problems or reside under furniture. Look for any spots on your carpet that have become discolored. This is a sign that your carpet may need replaced or lifted up to inspect the floor underneath for water damage.
Hire a professional cleaning service once a year: Some carpet warranties require this because your carpet will last longer if it is professionally cleaned on a regular basis. You could also try saving money by renting a professional carpet cleaning machine like the Rug Doctor.
Carpet is a good option for people (like myself) who sometimes have trouble deciding on the overall look they want for their home. It's versatile, cheap, easy to vacuum, and can easily be replaced without too much expense if it becomes fouled or damaged beyond repair or if you want a new look.