Carpet is magic, says Rachel Simhon
Article defending carpets. It is not actually certain that carpets are as much a bad idea as some people think. They are certainly not very fashionable.
The article recommends getting family members to remove their shoes, but maintains that it is rude to ask guests to take their shoes off. Who says? Modern manners are in a state of flux. Nobody is quite certain what is polite and what is not any more. Most people feel comfortable with shoes-off and are aware that shoes-off is practiced in some cultures.