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Area Carpets: Something Underfoot.


When it comes to interior design, most clients focus on what goes into a room first, then they think about the finishes like colours, textures and styles for the walls, windows and furnishings. Usually the last thing that is considered is the floor. I like to think of it as the fifth wall and the finishes you choose for the floor are just as important as the rest of the décor.

Start with a Neutral

Whether you prefer wood flooring, wall-to-wall broadloom or tile throughout your rooms it will provide a great neutral background for an area rug. Add one on top of almost any surface (with care) to provide another layer of colour, texture, comfort and style. It can tie a room together or separate out different zones in one space. It’s one of the most versatile design elements in a room.

Size Matters

Usually I’m a fair and reasonable person who likes to work with people and their design ideas but there is one thing that makes me put my foot down –area carpets that are too small! This is one design feature where bigger is always better. A puny area carpet makes a whole room look small especially if it’s not connected to any furnishings. Don’t settle for a 4 X 6 ft. rug when you need 7 X 10 ft. or bigger. Furniture should be on top of the carpet or at least the front legs of chairs, sofas, etc. should be on it.

Where you shop is as important as what you purchase. Local building centers offer area carpets, but in limited sizes and styles. Consider visiting a local carpet retailer or specialty store where you can see and feel the choices, ask questions and customize your selection for your space.

Style Matters

If your room already has lots of pattern and you want to add a calming element underfoot, consider broadloom. It’s generally a long run of one pattern, texture and colour created on a broad loom in wide widths and used for wall-to-wall applications. But because of its versatility, such as choice of colours, textures and patterns it can be custom cut to fit your space and the edges bound to prevent fraying. The binding can also be custom selected to go with your personal décor.

When you want to make a statement with your area carpet, the choices are virtually endless. Today you can go into many carpet stores and work with a textile specialist to have a one-of-a-kind piece made especially for your space.

Companies that specialize in carpet design offer a full range of services and selections and will lead you through the process to create your statement piece. You (or your designer) bring in the room measurements, paint and fabric samples, and the creative work begins.

As design technology advances, so do your choices, especially with area carpets. Along with a vast array of beautiful floor coverings, companies like WStudio have introduced a new line of innovative, colourful printed carpets that take creativity to the next level.

Quality Matters

With area carpets you will always get what you pay for. Man-made synthetic carpets like Polyester, Nylon and Olefin (also called Polypropylene) are less expensive choices but may only last up to five years. Although the colours will last, the fibres may not feel as soft to the touch, will show wear quickly and may not hold up well to foot traffic.

Natural fibres like hand-knotted wool and silk from the east set the standard for carpets throughout the centuries. The search for new, renewable fibres continues as companies like Elte recently introduced organic, natural fibres like banana and bamboo silk into their carpet collections.

Wool can seem like expensive choice but it is practical because it’s a renewable, natural resource, it’s environmentally friendly, absorbs sound, is water repellent and retains its appearance for years. Companies like Stanton Carpet Stanton Carpet have developed a hardwearing wool carpet that is offered at a terrific value.

Whether it’s a long-term investment, an artistic statement or a temporary solution to your decorating scheme, remember to add an area carpet to define your style and add a touch of comfort underfoot.

About the Author: Jane Lockhart is the Founder & Principal Designer at Jane Lockhart Interior Design

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