Carpet is one of the areas that you think will be quite simple until you start choosing it! There are so many different options and it can be very overwhelming. One of the most difficult points to consider is how to balance the look you want to achieve with practicality. If you live in the countryside you are facing a lot more mud and dirt than you would in a town. Throw dogs and children into the mix and you can often end up choosing something very practical you don’t like! Or something you like the look of but ends up getting very dirty! Here are my practical tips for choosing carpets that look great but also work for modern country living.
CONSIDER THE EFFECT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE
Generally, neutral carpets offer a blank canvas that allows other elements in the room to shine, whilst textured or patterned carpets add much more interest. From a practical perspective, neutral carpets are best for bedrooms and a soft pile feels much luxurious under bare feet. Whereas textured carpets with dense, low pile tuft work better in high traffic areas downstairs.
Even in bedrooms, neutral carpet can be an impractical choice, particularly if you have young children. Or if you aren’t prepared to take off your shoes! A good compromise is to move a few tones down from neutral. So a soft dove grey, for instance, can look great. Take this example from a country house scheme I’ve just developed. I’ve sourced a dove grey carpet for upstairs, which works with each of the bedroom schemes. I started by choosing the fabrics for the bedrooms and the stair runner. It makes choosing the colour for the carpet a much simpler task rather than picking it in isolation. If you try and pick a carpet without knowing what your wider decorative scheme is, you could make an expensive mistake.
ASSESS THE DURBABILITY – LOOK AT THE WEAR RATING
Assess the resilience of the carpet by pressing your thumb into the pile. The more it springs back and recovers, the denser and more resilient it will be. Generally, short dense fibre carpets are the most durable. Carpets with longer loops don’t bounce back as well but tend to be more attractive.
Carpets will have a label on the back that indicates if they are 1) light (avoid!) 2) moderate (be cautious), 3) general 4) heavy 5) extra heavy domestic use. Opt for options 5 and 6 for busy areas such as halls and staircases. If your living room is dealing with busy family life and dogs then also aim for one of the more durable options.
There is a lot of jargon out there on carpets but the main types are:
Cut pile carpets are made by cutting the yarn loops which produces an upright pile that has a more luxurious formal look. More traditional in style but very practical this carpet is most likely to retain its appearance after relentless use. They also feel soft underfoot.
With cut pile carpets the twisted nature of the yarns can vary. Go for more twisted options in high traffic areas such as halls as these are more durable. The smoother more velvety types show footprints or vacuum marks slightly more but are great options for bedrooms.
Loop pile carpets are left as loops and tend to come in more textured and patterned options. When selecting a loop pile, the tighter the loops are the more resistant to crushing it will be.
Loop piles tend to be more stylish with distinctive patterns creating by a combination of higher and lower loops. I love these carpets as they add texture and feel more modern. They are also very hardwearing. But choose wisely as the more combinations of up and down you have the more places dirt can gather and the more difficult they are to vacuum. So choose slightly darker tones with these carpets or a two tone carpet. This grey loop pile carpet rug by Crucial Trading is really practical as it doesn’t show the odd mark or two!
A flatweave is woven carpet but with a flat smooth surface. They are woven on a loom rather than knotted like the options above. Flatweaves come in a variety of colours and patterns, which means they often form the anchor of a room, in particular a hallway. For staircases a patterned wool runner can look fantastic and the colour is great for hiding marks.
I also like having rugs made from flatweaves as they are great for high traffic areas such as hallways. If you have a dog they are a good option as they hide dog hair well. The Roger Oates rug I have in my own living room is a flatweave and not only do I love the texture and pattern but it’s brilliant for not showing the hair from my two dogs. They are also easy to clean if you have any spillages.
THINK ABOUT TEXTURE AND WARMTH
Lastly, consider the material your carpet as made from as that will affect how it feels underfoot.
I love the feel of wool and personally don’t find it hard to maintain despite its reputation. It has a reputation for staining so the key is to choose slightly darker shades and high-quality wool. Wool is the most luxurious long-lasting material with the softest fibre you can find. To me, you can’t beat the softness wool brings.
Sisal is great for texture but it feels rather stiff underfoot. It can also stain very easily, even just from water. The advantage of sisal is that it’s extremely durable and if you have allergies it’s a great choice. Pick your texture wisely as the chunkier options can be harder to fit neatly around the side of a room and don’t bend very well as stair runners. And the chunkier the texture is the harder it is to clean
Sisool is a mix of sisal and wool. I really like these carpets as they offer the texture and durability of sisal but with more softness underfoot. Crucial Trading does some wonderful options and I particularly like these carpets made into carpet rugs onto wood flooring. As with sisal be careful about the texture you choose, as the chunkier versions are more difficult to clean.
Coir, Seagrass and Jute
These rugs are very durable and good for busy areas such as living rooms and hallways. Most of all they bring texture and interesting pattern, which add real interest to a room. I personally find them a little stiff but in the right room that can look great. They bring a sense of informality and easy living.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. If you would like help creating your modern country home do get in touch.