A few of you have been asking about carpet recently, so I thought it was time to take the plunge and investigate what’s out there so you don’t have to.
Carpet has suffered from a rather poor image in recent years but it’s coming back into favour now. After all it’s warm, natural and soft underfoot.
Now, if you are of a nervous disposition you had better sit down, because I am going to say something controversial. Ready? All right then, deep breath: patterned carpet is ok.
Obviously, you need to be careful with it, but the stairs are a great place to start.
This is because halls and landings can often be unremarkable spaces. There’s no room for furniture so you’re relying on pictures on the walls or your floors for a bit of impact. And, the other point to note is that, as no-one spends much time in these places, as they are just for passing through, you can afford to have a little bit of drama. After all, it’s not like you’re going to be there for hours on end as you might be in a sitting room or bedroom.
In my house, the one with the spotty carpet above, we finished runner under the nose of the top stair and left the landings bare. This wasn’t just a financial decision, but also because with such a dramatic pattern, we felt it might be a bit too much to have it all over the landing as well as up the stairs so it was a way of toning it down a little.
Another way of using pattern is to have a plain carpet downstairs and upstairs and link the two with something patterned in the middle. As long as there is a link with the colours, that will work. For example, and I don’t have a picture of this, you could have a dark grey hall carpet or in the downstairs rooms, take it up the stairs in pink and grey stripes and then have a paler grey in the upstairs rooms.
But if that sounds too scary, then how about having a plain, but dramatic colour on the stairs. A friend of mine has grey hall walls and a black and white tiled hall floor. This hot pink runner from Roger Oates would look fabulous running up her stairs.
If pink’s not your thing, how about orange?
When it comes to rooms, you will need to tone it down a bit. But the key point is that you don’t have to have the same carpet throughout the whole house. As I suggested above, you could start with a darker colour on the ground floor, where people might be wearing shoes, and take it gradually paler as you go up.
This is a very subtle way of doing pattern. It doesn’t actually have to look like a pub you know.
For heavy traffic areas, it’s a good idea to have a carpet that’s a mix of wool and nylon, usually 80/20. This means it won’t flatten as quickly as a pure wool carpet. However, it’s important to buy good quality underlay too.
Choose a twist for these heavy traffic areas as it’s flat and won’t flatten as easily.
If the pile has flattened from where you have had heavy furniture then hover a full steam iron over the affected area and tease it up again with a blunt darning needle. If the carpet has been broken by the weight of the furniture, rather than just crushed, this may not work. Try buying some castors for the feet of the item to sit on, this spreads the load.
Most carpets come in a standard 4m width so if your room is longer or wider than that you may be more restricted in your choice.
Now, I understand that most of you don’t want to buy carpet online but to see it and feel it. When it comes to the makes above, the best thing to do is often to go online to the maker’s website and find out where your nearest stockist is.
One good website to check out is Fun on the Floor , which has a list of shops and sites that can give you ideas. Otherwise there is, of course, the aforementioned Alternative Flooring , Crucial Trading or Online Carpets which has a large range of stock, including stripes, and will send out free samples.
Once you’re happy with your choice, then you should be able to find a local fitter. Don’t stint on the underlay and do ask for a reference. If you have a friendly builder, he (or she) may also be able to recommend a good local fitter. Ask who they use?
This is an old journalism trick of mine, when interviewing any expert on any subject, ask them: Where did they buy their carpet, dishwasher/sofa. After all if it’s good enough for them…