Broadly speaking, the world is divided into three types of people: carpet people, wood people and tile people. Over the past few years, carpet people have been losing ground to tiles and wood as the favoured flooring option. Carpets were seen as old fashion (so 1970s) and high maintenance. But the tide is turning and carpet is making a comeback.
Carpets have some well documented cons, but they have plenty of pros, too.
- Carpets are warm. Not only do they make rooms feel warm but they are actually, physically warmer than tiles and wood. They provide insulation in winter and you don’t have to worry about icy feet if you have to get out of bed in the middle of the night.
- Carpets feel nice. They’re soft on your feet and, depending on the pile, they can make you feel as though you’re walking on clouds.
- Carpets are pretty. Yes, there are vile carpets around, but you don’t have to have them in your home. Carpets can give character to a room or provide a neutral platform for arresting décor or wall colours. If you have neutral furniture and walls, a patterned carpet can spice things up a little.
- Carpets soften sound. Tiles and wood make noises sound sharper than they actually are but carpets deaden noise, giving you a quieter, more peaceful home.
- Carpets are higher maintenance than wood and tiles, especially tiles. They need to be vacuumed regularly and shampooed semi-regularly. Spilt food and drink need to be cleaned immediately before it stains. Unfortunately, carpets are dirt magnets. Just ask people with small children and pets, whose dirty feet and food leave tell-tale trails throughout the house.
- The tendency to collect dirt aggravates allergies and asthma.
- Carpets look great when they’re new and when they’ve just been cleaned, but nothing looks older than tired old carpet. You can extend the life of your carpet with regular revival sessions (shampoos) but that adds to the maintenance.
Choosing a carpet
- Pick a colour.
Light, neutral colours make small rooms seem larger but they can make large rooms feel sparse and cold; dark colours can make large rooms seem cosier but they can make small rooms feel cramped. Neutral colours will go with almost any décor you choose, which is ideal if you’re constantly mixing things up. Your décor options are more limited if you have bold colours or patterns.
Bring dogs and kids into the picture again. Kids and pets tramping in and out will leave their mark, which will be difficult to eradicate in light carpets, whereas dark carpets can hide a multitude of sins.
- Pick a style.
There are heaps and heaps of styles to choose from. There are velvet carpets, frieze carpets, shag carpets, Berber carpets, wool carpets, sisal carpets, nylon carpets, tufted carpets, woven carpets, and carpet tiles. If you find it all overwhelming, decide if you want it short and functional or plush and luxurious and talk to the chap at the store.
One point to remember, though, is that if a room has a lot of traffic, long and plush carpets are a bad idea because they’ll collect dirt and will get trampled flat. So, stick to shorter, easier to clean carpets in your lounge and the kids’ bedrooms.
There are a lot of eco-friendly carpets on the market, these days. They have been made with recycled or sustainable material and their manufacturing processes are cleaner. Ask your store about its eco-options.
Written by Sandy Cosser on behalf of Skilled Migrant Jobs, a niche job portal that helps immigrants to New Zealand find sponsorship jobs.