In recent years, we have seen all kinds of flooring trends (http://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/design-101/8-flooring-trends-to-try-pictures ) take hold of the interior design and DIY world. From flash in the pan fads like artificial grass and quirky cork, to unusual comebacks like parquet and mosaic, or even modern classics like laminate and reclaimed wood flooring. There is plenty of choice.
One flooring option that has never gone out of style though, standing the test of time in all of its many forms, is carpet. Yes, for centuries we have produced, evolved and utilised rugs, runners and rolls of the stuff.
With so many choices when it comes to carpet alone though, choosing the right one for your home – where each room and décor theme calls for something different – can seem like a big job. You need to consider the desired feel of the room, the traffic going through it, and how best to incorporate your flooring choice with other key elements in the room.
Carpets are best for full coverage
Ceramic tiles, polished concrete and hardwood floors are all stunning design ideas that look great and offer durable full coverage flooring. However, they can be high maintenance surfaces to care for, and they aren’t ideal if you prefer something a little softer (and warmer!) underfoot.
A professionally cut and installed carpet will offer the best full coverage for any room. You can create cosy and comfortable surroundings with a plush wool carpet, a robust but attractive room with neutral-hued natural carpet (http://rugsandcarpets.about.com/od/Carpet-Fibers/tp/Guide-to-Natural-Carpet-Fibers.htm ) like coir, jute and seagrass, or a bold statement with an on-trend patterned design.
Top Tip: The bolder your carpet choice, the less you want going on elsewhere in the room. For example, a bright and busy pattern all over the floor will need plain painted walls (white or accent colours), and simple furniture in block colours; it is best to work the room so it “frames” and enhances the carpet, rather than detracts from or clashes with it.
Rugs will bring the room together
If you have hardwood, reclaimed wood or even tiled floors you don’t want to completely cover up, a rug is the ideal choice. Not only will you be able to add interest to the room, without detracting from the flooring below, but you will have an opportunity to enhance and pull together the other elements in the room.
For example, a light wood floor and off-white walls offer a blank canvas. Adding in some unique pieces of painted furniture will give a bit more personality to the space, but to combine these elements you will need a rug that incorporates the different colours and reflects the feel you want.
Top Tip: Go floral for shabby chic, geometric for retro, and barcode stripes or polka dot for monochrome. All of a sudden you have one stunning accessory that tops the whole thing off and draws attention to all of the best bits in the room.
Patterned stair carpets make a statement
Runners are an invaluable and timeless flooring option. Traditionally used in long and narrow spaces like hallways, they provide protection for high traffic areas, as well as a pleasing aesthetic.
Another great use for runner style carpets in on stairways. We pay so much attention to practical and decorative flooring in every room of the house, but so many of us often overlook the stairway. As one of the highest-traffic areas in the home, this is somewhere to which attention needs to be paid.
Installing carpet on your stairs will certainly add an ornamental element which, done well, will pull together your downstairs hallway and upstairs landing too. It will also protect the wooden treads underneath, providing a better investment – not to mention, a much easier cleaning experience. On top of this, a stair runner will make use of the staircase more comfortable and safe, helping to add more grip and prevent slips.
Top Tip: Patterned stair carpets (http://www.alternativeflooring.com/collection/runners ) may seem like too bold a statement for your stairwell at first, but they are a fantastic solution for fans of the low-maintenance but fashion-forward lifestyle. Decorating hallway, landing and stairway walls is a challenge at best, which is why nice, clean, neutral colours that are easy to touch up work well. Patterned stair carpets stop this approach being plain, boring, cold and devoid of personality. You don’t have to go all out with a loud and busy design to make an impression; you can opt for timeless plaid, subtle stripes or fun polka dots instead.
Ultimately, your choice of carpet will depend on your personal tastes and specific needs. It is worth considering all the factors though; from practicality and longevity, to design and comfort. Different fibres, colours, patterns, and even styles can have a huge impact on the feel of a space. Most carpet designers and suppliers will offer guidance. So if you are new to interior design (or undecided), consider seeking a professional second opinion.