Carpet is insulating, comfortable and comes in a range of colours and designs – it can even be completely eco-friendly – find out more here.
Carpet is a great choice for any home
Carpet has always been a common flooring type but in recent years many people have opted for hard flooring options instead, however: “Carpets are now coming back in fashion after all the wood and laminate,” says Craig Marshall from BU Interiors in Surrey. So if you’re thinking of installing new flooring, why not go for carpet?
Benefits of carpet
Comfort – carpet is warming and feels nice underfoot, bringing a cosy feel to your home. This makes it ideal for relaxing areas like the bedroom and living room and especially comfortable for kids and pets.
Energy efficiency – installing carpet is a great way to add extra insulation to your home, the fibres trap heat, saving you money on your fuel bills and helping the environment.
Sound proofing – a layer of carpet can reduce noise in your home, not only does it mask footsteps, it also absorbs sound in rooms and between floors.
Safety – “People with kids like carpet, it’s very safe for babies to crawl on,” says Craig. As well as providing a softer landing if you trip, carpet is non-slip so it can help to prevent a fall in the first place.
Variety – there are a range of colours, materials and textures of carpet available, meaning there is something to suit any property.
Synthetic carpet materials – most carpets are made of manmade materials such as nylon, polyester or olefin. Of these materials nylon looks and feels nicer but is more expensive while polyester is a cheap alternative and olefin a stain resistant option. Since these types of carpets are manmade they are not as good for the environment, although as Craig points out: “The underlays on most carpets are now normally made of eco-friendly materials.”
Synthetic carpets usually come with built-in stain protection and are woven or tufted – most commonly tufted. Different variations of carpet texture are available such as twist, velvet, loop or shag piles, depending on your preference. The texture of your carpet can really add to your home decor, as interior designer Julia Kendell points out: “Pattern and texture can bring character to a room; it can be used to draw the eye to a particular area.”
Natural carpet materials such as sisal
are now available
Natural carpet materials – David Morley, from Authentic Natural Floors in Stockport says: “People are moving towards a more natural way of life and once they’ve had natural flooring they don’t go back. It’s easier to maintain and doesn’t retain smells like synthetic carpet would.” Natural carpet materials may cost around five or ten percent more than synthetics but are kind to the environment, hard wearing and attractive. The main types of natural carpet materials are:
Seagrass and coir – formed when salt water floods the paddy fields of places like China or Japan, seagrass is durable and impenetrable so doesn’t stain but also cannot be dyed. It’s available in natural shades of beige, green and brown and lasts up to ten years. Coir, made of the natural fibre in coconut shells, has similar properties. “Both seagrass and coir are the cheaper natural flooring options,” explains David.
Sisal – this is made from natural fibres extracted from the leaves of the agave sisal plant which grows in hot countries like Africa. It has natural health benefits and is low maintenance. David says: “Sisal is our biggest seller; it’s the hardest wearing natural fibre and lasts 15-30 years.”
While eco-flooring comes in natural colours like beige and variations of brown and gold: “You can add more colour if you like using rugs,” suggests David. Obviously there are more colour options available for synthetic carpets so choose carefully, considering the rest of your decor as well as practicality – light colours stain easily and are more likely be damaged in high traffic areas like hallways. “Now that we have synthetic dyes in all different colours people are afraid to use them,” Julia comments, “Colours represent feelings so it’s important to choose one that makes you feel good.”
Installing carpet is often easier and less costly then installing other flooring types like wood or laminate. However, carpet can still be ruined if incorrectly installed, so it may be best to hire a professional to fit your carpet, especially when it comes to eco-carpet. David explains: “Natural flooring needs to be installed properly. Natural fibres move and shrink according to humidity, so flooring fitters need to go back and adjust the work, which is a service we provide.” Always check references, qualifications and insurance credentials when you hire someone to fit your carpet and get at least three quotes for the work.
Carpet cleaning and maintenance
All carpets tend to retain some degree of dust so need regular vacuuming. Synthetic carpets may also need chemical/industrial cleaning once or twice a year. “Obviously if you spill red wine you will need to deal with it quickly,” says Craig, “But when it comes to maintenance you should also check the manufacturers cleaning guides, you may need to use specific products.”