Deep Pile Rugs from Alternative Flooring

Just before Christmas, as some of you may know from my constant complaining at the time, I was ill with some hideous cold virus that really knocked me for six. One day as I was lying – Victorian heroine-like on the chaise longue – the phone rang. It was a young man called Alistair or Sebastian, I forget which, and he asked if I would go on the BBC the following day to talk about whether carpet was in or out of fashion.

ashtanga silk deep pile carpet in hero from alternative flooring
ashtanga silk deep pile carpet in hero from alternative flooring

Now I’ve done Radio 4 You and Yours a couple of times, as well as several local radio interviews, so I wasn’t particularly phased by this. Alistian or Sebastair, I forget which, seemed to think my croaking voice was perfectly up to the job and we agreed that 2.30 the following afternoon would be perfect.

“Do you want to ring me on the landline at that time or shall I ring you?” I asked as we were wrapping up the details.

barefoot ashtanga in asana deep pile carpet from alternative flooring
barefoot ashtanga in asana deep pile carpet from alternative flooring

“Oh, said Sebali or Aliseb, I forget which, “it’s BBC News 24 – television – didn’t I mention that?” And off he rang.

Well he probably did but I had apparently taken more medication than was strictly necessary and wasn’t paying proper attention. I decided that with 24 hours to recover it would all be fine. What’s three minutes of telly after all? Until the next morning when I couldn’t get out of bed, never mind fill my face with make up, put on a dress (that wasn’t black) and travel to the studio in the centre of town.

barefoot ashtanga silk rug from alternative flooring
barefoot ashtanga silk rug from alternative flooring

I had to cancel. And that is the story of my television debut that wasn’t. Anyway, I had already done some research by that point and it threw up a few interesting facts relevant to today’s post which is about a new collection of deep pile carpets from Alternative Flooring.

The first thing I discovered was that 57 per cent of all floorcovering sold in the UK is carpet. Which surprised me. But was more interesting was why is carpet so boring? Why is it all variations on an oatmeal twist that is just so practical (and dull)? This, it turns out, is one of those vicious circles that happens in design every now and then. Carpet is expensive to make. So if you get it wrong it’s an expensive mistake. So the manufacturers play it safe with beige. Then, because it’s safe, everyone starts making it and there’s a price war. So it’s cheap. So everyone buys it. So the manufacturers make more. And so on.

barefoot marble in morward deep pile carpet from alternative flooring
barefoot marble in morward deep pile carpet from alternative flooring

However, some manufacturers are now breaking out of this circle and collaborating with designers to create more innovative designs using pattern and colour. In addition to that, it’s also all about texture. And Yeah Baby deep pile is back.


Austin Powers aside, it’s not really shagpile as we remember it from the 1970s, but a luxurious deep pile that you can sink your toes into on a wintry morning. After all, carpet is still the most popular choice of flooring for bedrooms.

barefoot marble in morward deep pile carpet from alternative flooring
barefoot marble in morward deep pile carpet from alternative flooring

The Barefoot range from Alternative Flooring was launched last year and is selling so well they have just introduced a new version – Taj – which has a very on trend geometric pattern and a hint of gold or silver shimmer in it. Now remember, if you’re scared of fitted carpets, you can have everything made in a rug which means you can order a large piece that almost covers the whole floor but a) saves you the look of fitted carpet and b) you can take it with you if you move house.

The range, which includes Hatha, Ashtanga, Taj and Marble are all handwoven on traditional wooden looms and as such each one is slightly different. Basically the high yarn content makes it the carpet equivalent of a Frette sheet with its high thread count.

barefoot taj in darwaza from alternative flooring
barefoot taj in darwaza from alternative flooring

It has been shown that in times of economic hardship the old adage Don’t Move Improve comes into force and, in addition, when we are forced to spend more time in our houses we work harder to bring a sense of luxury and make comfortable nests of them. This is the perfect flooring to kick your shoes off and sink your feet into while you shut out the world outside.

I have had bare floorboards in my bedroom for the last 15 years. Now that the bedroom is finally redecorated we have started to discuss getting a rug. Initially we were thinking about a small rug either side of the bed, but I am beginning to wonder if a large deep pile that covers most of the floor mightn’t be the answer. I’ll keep you posted.

detail of deep pile carpet from alternative flooring
detail of deep pile carpet from alternative flooring

Alternative Flooring has just launched its click and collect service so you can order online and have your rug delivered to your local stockist from where you can collect it at your own convenience. 


I have written about Alternative Flooring many times and after a few posts they approached me and asked me to work as a brand amabassador, something I was very happy to do. This post is part of our ongoing collaboration.

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. the preference for endless beige carpeting is caused by private landlords , who know if they use it you will never get your deposit back . And the carpet manufacturers rubbing their hands together in glee , knowing that if you have a family you will need to replace it over and over again . Pale carpets only look good in design magazines

  2. Ohh, sorry you had to cancel your TV debut! But what a nice thing to be asked, hey?

    Interesting to hear that it’s the cost of manufcaturing it that makes the choices so blah… I hadn’t thought of that!

    Personally I like carpet well enough, but I love the practicality of hard floors. That, and the fact I’ve grown up in a house with no carpet (except for on the stairs) and love feeling of cold, bare feet…especially on tiles. Bit strange, hey!?

    I do like the idea of gigantic oversized rugs, though.I suspect my boyfriend will insist on carpet in our bedroom when we buy our first house this year (!), and I’ll concede to that… but perhaps he’ll consider a massive rug instead…


  3. Really good post. Not sure if it’s an age thing but having enjoyed stripped wooden floors for 20+ years suddenly I also felt the need for something softer underfoot. I could bare to commit to carpet but bought large rugs for our rooms – you can buy them really plain rugs and have edges whipped in a different colour. It makes such a difference to warmth and just getting out of bed onto a warm rug feels luxurious.

  4. i fell in love with that Taj carpet a few weeks ago when I was selecting carpets for a client. it is so so squishy and lovely I have to say I suddenly became a high pile convert!
    sadly client didn’t go for it but i’ve still got the sample and will endeavour to encourage use on another project!

  5. Fab rugs and a great alternative to fitted carpets – thanks for the idea. Love Enid cat’s starring role in the company’s demo video – and yours too, of course!

  6. These carpets are all beautiful, silk carpets sound divine. I have visited Istanbul and been into a rug shop and had the hardish sell of elegant wool and silk rugs. Very tempting it was. Personally I prefer carpets as I suppose that’s what I grew up with. In the modern house that I live now sadly there are no floorboards so carpet it still is. It feels great under your feet, the dogs love to roll their backs on it (!) and it is warm.

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