Modern carpet can be both practical and fashionable, offering an enormous choice of colour, pattern and texture.
Why choose carpet?
Carpet is soft and comfortable underfoot, absorbs sound, is non-slip and forgiving if you have a fall, and is insulating against heat loss and draughts; however, it may stain and wear. Regular vacuuming is the only maintenance carpet needs, but accidental spills can be hard to deal with, and it’s unlikely to last longer than stone, tiles or wood.
Choosing a carpet
As a general rule, the deeper the pile and the more luxurious the finish, the greater care the carpet will need, while the shorter and denser the pile, the better it is likely to wear, meaning there is a trade-off between softness and comfort against durability and resilience. Standard carpet descriptions are for light, moderate, general, heavy and extra heavy domestic use, which gives a good indication of suitability. So a hallway carpet should be very tough and classified for heavy domestic use, while a living room (general domestic) probably requires a luxury look combined with robust performance, and a spare bedroom could be more delicate. If you choose a carpet suitable for general use, you can lay it throughout to create a seamless look that pulls a decorating scheme together. Carpets are inadvisable in kitchens and bathrooms.
Ask your retailer for samples and take them home where you can see them in your own environment and light. If redecorating from floor to ceiling, choose the carpet first and ensure that the rest of the scheme co-ordinates – the floor is the largest visible area in a room, so it’s important to get it right. Don’t forget the cost of underlay and fitting and get your room professionally measured, and when replacing a carpet, always buy new underlay. This ensures your new carpet sits properly and wears evenly and can prolong its life by up to 40 per cent.