Good Questions: How to Decorate with Uninspiring Carpet?

Evan sent in a good question: I'm about to move into my own place here in the Midwest. It'll be my first very own apartment, so I've been getting pretty geared up to make it look nice. Recently I've been reading AT and I quite like what I see! Here's the trouble: every AT photo features a room with hardwood floors, and even though I've searched, it turns out you can't get those here...
(Note: Include a pic of your problem and your question gets posted first. Email questions and pics with QUESTIONS in subject line to: chicago(at)apartmenttherapy(dot)com)
This is a town that knows little else but suburban sprawl, McMansions, and vast plots of identical beige houses - thus every rental available comes in that uninspiring gray/beige wall-to-wall carpet. Now while I see some pretty sweet arrangements on AT, I just imagine them sitting on some gray, fuzzy floor, and it sucks all the life right out of them. It's a lot harder to look good starting with this stuff!

So, what's a man to do with carpet? Any design patterns to make it look good, or any to avoid? Any prior art or success stories I can take a look at?

We love hardwood floors and we agree - they do seem to make it easier to achieve looks that are currently in vogue. BUT, we think wall to wall is starting to make a comeback as a design choice and have seen some examples that make the most of that beige wall to wall, like the one shown above the jump. It is from this Recipe for Style post, and we think it just wouldn't be as elegant or sophisticated WITHOUT the carpet.

Let's hear what the readers have to say - please chime in with suggestions, ideas and inspirations for Evan in the comments below...

Photo: Recipe for Style: Chic Living Room by James Rixner/House Beautiful

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