If you do NOT have cats, you can get a permethrin-based spray to use on the carpets and furniture. If you do have cats, I would avoid permethrin--it can cause muscle tremors and seizures if they are exposed to it before it is fully dry. Dogs are not affected. If you have pets, you should definitely get 3-5 months' worth of Frontline Plus, Advantage, Revolution, or Promeris and apply it to your pets faithfully each month--make sure you follow the directions exactly. Next, if you can't or don't want to use a spray, vacuuming the entire house frequently (especially under furniture, behind doors, etc) and throwing out the bag each time will help a ton. Wash your pets' bedding frequently as well. Please note that if you bathe your pet before applying any of the topical products, you need to give them a few days to regenerate their natural skin oils. These are essential for the products to spread evenly over your pet's skin and be effective.
The flea lifecycle is as follows: An adult flea lays eggs on a pet, which fall off of the pet in their bed (or yours) or wherever they spend most of their time. The eggs hatch in a few days, and larvae crawl around in carpet fibers, snacking on skin flakes and adult flea feces (flea dirt). They must ingest some of the adult flea feces to survive--it contains nutrients from digested blood from your pet. The larvae tend to hang out in dark, secluded areas, such as under and behind furniture, along walls, etc. They then pupate (like a caterpillar) to develop into their adult form. When they are fully developed, they will emerge from the pupa when they feel vibrations from the floor. Vibrations = host availability. They can stay in the pupa for weeks to months, until there is a ready food source available. Once emerged, they are the adult flea as we know it.
Therefore: to rid your house of fleas, you need to break the life cycle. Permethrin-based sprays should kill larvae and pupae. Products like Frontline Plus contain 2 chemicals: one kills adult fleas that contact your pets' treated fur (even shed fur in their bed, supposedly), and another that prevents chitin synthesis. This chitin is what makes up the adult flea's exoskeleton, as well as the "egg tooth" on larvae, which is required for them to be able to escape from the egg. This second type of chemical is also found in the heartworm preventative Sentinel, as well as Program (note that these two products do not kill adult fleas). Vacuuming reduces the sheer number of the flea eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults. Vacuuming does not kill any stage, however; hence the disposal of the bag after vacuuming--every time.
Once your pets are protected, even without the other steps I described, the life cycle should be broken over a couple months, and your house should become flea free. Note that applying any of the topical flea products incorrectly will decrease their efficacy, which is why I emphasized following the directions on the packaging. It takes a few months for all of the eggs, larvae, and pupae to progress to adulthood, then jump on your pet, be exposed to the chemical, and die. Note that even once your house is flea free, they are still outside in the environment and can make it indoors on our shoes and clothes, and on our pets when they go out to potty. This is when products that contain Insect Growth Regulators (such as methoprene, lufenuron, etc) are especially handy, because even though the odd flea may make it inside, they shouldn't be able to lay eggs that will hatch. Therefore, you shouldn't get an infestation. However, the flea that makes it into the house will be able to keep snacking on your dog or cat until it dies of old age. This is why I love Frontline Plus--it kills fleas and prevents any eggs from being laid that will later hatch. No, I do not work for this company, nor any other for that matter. I just grew up in a household with 7 dogs, and my mom was a nut about fleas. We had to give everyone flea baths every 1-2 weeks, and she was constantly spraying the house. I LOVE the convenience and efficacy of the topical products!
I prefer to avoid over the counter products because: products that contain methoprene will prevent the chitin formation described above, but do not kill adult fleas already present. Products that contain permethrin for dogs may work, but are often irritating to dogs' skin. Products for cats that contain permethrin or similar chemicals ARE SOLD and ARE DANGEROUS. Be careful with your kitties!