Things to Consider When Buying a Classroom Carpet

Carpets and rugs are the foundation of early learning environments. They establish dedicated play areas such as circle time, block play and story time while guiding the classroom flow and movement. They help classrooms stay clean and organized, and soften the loud acoustics and hard surfaces in a classroom. With so many options available, it can be challenging to know where to start shopping for the perfect carpet in your space. 

For more than 50 years, Kaplan has helped early educators choose the right carpets and rugs for their classrooms, along with the furniture and toys that go along with them. When it comes to making the best choices for your environment, we crafted 4 considerations when buying a new carpet.

Size matters with classroom carpets

The first thing to consider when selecting a preschool carpet is the size of the room. Where will your learning centers or activity areas be set up? How about lockers or storage areas? How do you want children to enter the room and make a smooth transition from home to school? Carpets and furniture work together to define these spaces and enhance the independence and natural movements of young children.

If the carpet you choose is too small, you might run into challenging behaviors as children bump into each other’s personal space. Conversely, if it is too large, you may be wasting space that could be used for another activity.

As a general rule for carpet size, you should allow for at least 24 inches of space per child. This way, children have space to wiggle without disturbing their neighbors.

For more tips on classroom design, read here.

Wooden kitchen furniture in a dramatic play center filled with toys, sits on a large, rectangular, tan, brown, green and blue, geometric rug.

Carpet materials determine durability

Preschool carpets get a lot of wear and tear. Nylon carpets are the most popular because they are the most durable, stain-resistant and easy to clean, standing up to years of use as small bodies trample them every day. 

More natural materials, such as wool or cotton, are soft and offer a cozy eco-friendly option. However, the natural materials do not have the durability and stamina of the synthetic materials. For a natural fiber rug, you can expect 1-3 years of use from them. 

Our Kaplan exclusive carpets are woven with stain-resistant nylon and come with non-skid backing, so you won’t need an extra mat underneath. The carpets are also treated to guard against odor, mildew, mold, stains, and static shock, all of which may sound like small details, but become extremely important when we’re talking about little bodies and immune systems. 

A circle time carpet with red and yellow squares on a blue background, and the alphabet with illustrations around the edge, is folded back at the corner to reveal its rubber backing.

Be intentional with carpet designs

Believe it or not, we see a lot of carpets that clash or are inappropriate for their space: Busy, colorful carpets in the calm-down area, math-themed carpets in the block area, and seating carpets in entryways. When incorrectly used, these carpets create disharmony of the classroom environment, which means distracted children and challenging behaviors.

We recommend that you only place themed carpets where they add to the learning activities designed for those areas.  Literacy carpets are great for reinforcing letter recognition and phonological awareness. STEM themed rugs and mats help reinforce scientific explorations. A rug depicting a city scape would be great in the block center or engineering area.

Our product designers think of carpets as the foundational canvas upon which the color of  playtime will occur: let the children bring the color and activity to the space instead of the floor coverings overwhelming them with patterns and bright primary hues. 

The growing trend in carpet design is neutral and nature-inspired shades and shapes. Building off of research showing the positive impact of nature-based learning, our open-ended carpets are soothing to the eye and do not distract children during class time. More neutral carpets are also more versatile, allowing you to move them to different areas as you switch up your classroom organization.

Read more about why nature-based classroom design matters here.

A teacher and two toddler students play in a white and natural wooden kitchen set that is sitting a light blue, oval shaped rug, in a natured based classroom.

Safety considerations with preschool carpets

Don’t let your carpet become a tripping hazard or source for germ cultivation!

Look for carpets with no-skid backing to keep them in place, or use carpet tape to keep smaller carpets and rugs from sliding around. If you put a carpet on top of another carpet, beware that they may bubble up and create a tripping hazard. 

Ensure the carpet is treated to resist stains and grime, and make sure it is made to be easily and regularly cleaned (just don’t run the vacuum over the serge, or else it will unravel!). Generally speaking, carpets should be washed with a carpet cleaning machine every six months, but this can vary depending on your state licensing requirements. 

Before you buy, check that the carpets passed the Class I Flammability Rating and Indoor Air Quality certifications from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Our carpets all pass flammability ratings and indoor air quality certifications, so they are safe for little learners to walk, crawl and lay on.

Want a little extra cushioning with your carpet? For infants and toddlers, we recommend play mats for floor activities. These make little messes a lot easier to clean up, too!

An infant lays on a green play mat with plush birds hanging from the arches, that is placed on top of a woven pastel rug in an infant classroom.

Selecting the best classroom carpet requires careful consideration to the size, materials, design, and safety of the carpets. Working with a trusted carpet vendor can help you create a space that supports healthy habits and enhanced learning. Want to see how a Kaplan carpet will look in your space? Try our free room design tool, the myKaplan FloorPlanner. You can even export your designs and turn them into shopping lists!

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