Soft touch carpeting or tough-stuff floors? The beauty of today’s home is that it will accommodate both. While hard floor surfaces, such as concrete, tiles and timber, offer a clean, modern finish to interiors, the comfort, warmth and simplicity offered by carpet guarantees its enduring popularity.

There’s nothing quite like the tactile sensation of tossing off your shoes and sinking your toes into a luxurious woollen pile or the look of beautifully designed carpet complementing furnishings. And if you choose a quality product and look after it properly, it will perform well for years.

Where you decide to lay your carpet will determine the style, colour and texture you choose – taking into consideration the area’s use, your budget and your home’s furnishings. Advances intechnology and creative design now mean there is a carpet to suit, whether you’re looking for an understated neutral or want to make a bold statement with contemporary patterning.

 

*Check out our carpet gallery*

 

Trend: colour

Neutrals will always be safe, but a small dash of vivid carpet can have a big impact

  • High-traffic areas, such as hallways and stairs, require a strong, durable carpet in a forgiving shade, such as a level loop pile in a moderately dark or striped colourway.
  • Sisal and coir are ideal for busy spots, too. Michael Dowe, of The Natural Floorcovering Centres, says, “Natural flooring is moving towards longer loops – big, chunky spun yarns, and deeper tones, such as charcoal and chocolate browns.”
  • Rustic styling has had an infl uence on colours. “In neutrals, think creams and both warm and cool tones of grey,” says Bree Leech, of Godfrey Hirst. “On the flip side, there are reds, blues, plums and lilacs.”
  • Colour is coming through in new ways, such as super-sized cut piles that reveal a contrasting tone in the centre (such as Cavalier Bremworth’s ‘Picotage’), painterly designs and woven stripes from Brintons, and stippling, where different colours and textures are woven together in a single yarn.
  • The hallway and other small areas are the places to play with colour. You can have fun without it being too overwhelming. M.I.D. Carpets, available from Whitecliffe Imports, produces a great range of ‘look at me’ wool carpets.

Trend: comfort

From bespoke styles to brand-new blends, the comfort factor has never been so high.

  • Bedrooms don’t experience the heavy traffic of a hallway, so this is the spot to indulge in that plush velvet pile, deep textured frieze or shag pile, such as Cavalier Bremworth’s ‘Elysium’ or Godfrey Hirst’s ‘Nuovo’.
  • “We’re seeing a return to cocooning in interiors – products with a handcrafted, bespoke feel,” says Michelle Parker, of Cavalier Bremworth. “Twist piles, for example, are getting tighter, crunchier and more textured.”
  • Luxurious new styles include high, dense twists, chunky felts and oversized loop piles. The latest blends combine wool with everything from silk, linen and cotton to paper. These luxurious fi bres tend to be woven into the designs as separate, highlight features, resulting in multi-layered carpets.
  • “Two big buzzwords are ‘vintage’ and ‘nostalgia’ – carpets that are tactile and comforting, sometimes with an aged patina,” says Melissa Jenkins, of Brintons.
  • If you prefer natural flooring, but worry about the ‘scratch factor’, consider a sisal-wool mix that feels softer underfoot (visit Floorspace and The Natural Floorcovering Centres).

Trend: texture

Wool is an all-time favourite, but the new technologies are well worth considering

  • Living areas experience a moderate-to-high amount of traffic. Opt for a design that is both soft and durable.
  • Key looks include chunky carpets with a variable pile height, and mixed cut-and-loop piles. Tailored geometrics, such as Godfrey Hirst’s ‘Metropolis’, give the appearance of a patterned carpet in a single colourway, and textured high-low loop piles, such as Hycraft’s ‘Ravine’, are soft but won’t lose their structure under moderate footfall. Thick, felted designs, such as Cavalier Bremworth’s ‘Tussore’, have a handwoven feel.
  • “Art has moved from the walls, and you can now have a painting on the floor,” says Melissa Jenkins, of Brintons’ Handpainted Sketches collection. The range features botanical designs inspired by Brintons’ archive collection, as well as more contemporary, painterly designs. It’s hard to beat the beauty and strength of wool. “It’s the ultimate sustainable fibre,” says Selwyn Mackay, of WoolSet. “Wool is soft, stain-repellent and incredibly durable.”
  • Man-made fibres are affordable, durable and easy to clean, so if budget is important, turn your attention to synthetics.

Like this? Try our other guides too:

* Buyer’s guide to carpet
* Buyer’s guide to curtains and blinds
* Buyer’s guide to flooring

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