Among the many ways of covering a floor in a house, carpets are by far one of the most popular, as well as the most sensuous. There’s nothing like sinking your toes into a soft, deep rug or carpet. But what do you need to know before deciding where to put carpet in your home and what sort to choose?
Deciding Whether to Have Carpeted Floors
First of all, you need to decide whether you want carpets. Carpets do offer many advantages. They add a lot of warmth to the house (especially to the feet). They also make the house much more family-friendly: children can lie down to play much more comfortably on carpet than on boards, and toddlers learning to walk will find carpet a much softer landing during the inevitable tumbles that are part of learning to walk. Carpets reduce the amount of dust in the air (and landing on surfaces that need dusting), as the fibres trap dust inside them (yes, you will need to vacuum the carpets, but this writer finds this easier than dusting). They’re also safer – you don’t have the risk of slips and falls that lower friction surfaces tend to have.
On the disadvantage side, carpets are harder to clean: spills are harder to clean up, mud can’t just be mopped off, and soft, squishy stuff can get trodden into the fibres. It looks carpet cleaning is an important point to consider when planning the floor coverings around your home. Some are easier to clean, others look breathtakingly amazing but are a bugger to remove stains from.
Carpet Construction is Important
Take care when choosing your carpets. Consider the fibres – synthetics are cheaper but can feel a bit nasty; natural fibres are less durable but give a much nicer “feel”. Synthetic fibres are very easy to maintain but tend to look a bit plain. Natural materials (wool, sisal, coir, seagrass) look and feel great but steam cleaning (also known as hot water extraction) is not always an option due to the greater risk of damage. If you are not sure what you are doing hiring a professional carpet spot and stain removal service is always the best bet.
A blend of natural and synthetic is best. Thick shag pile is very cushy, but is harder to vacuum (and things have a tendency to get caught in the longer pile – high heels can be tricky to wear) – again, a shag rug is probably better than wall-to-wall shag pile.
Pick Your Colour
Consider the colours, too. While white carpets may be raved about by some interior decorators, they are best avoided by real people with real lives – it gets filthy very quickly! The same goes for any solid light-coloured carpet, e.g. beige, tan or grey – they will show every bit of dirt and grime. However, solid dark colours (black, navy, deep red) also look untidy very quickly – every bit of light-coloured dirt (hairs, fluff, miniscule bits of paper) will show up. The best colour choice for a carpet is something with a flecked pattern – although the exact colour is up to you!
Spending Extra Time Planning Saves Headaches in the Future
However, you shouldn’t go and carpet the whole house. Generally speaking, wet areas of the house, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundries and toilets, should not be carpeted. Carpet is a lot harder to dry off when a spill happens, and it will start to deteriorate and/or smell bad.
In the kitchen, what gets spilt is often something that stains (e.g. coffee), so your carpet will be ruined very quickly. And you don’t really want me to describe in detail what happens to carpet in toilets, do you (ewww!)? It can also pay to have a carpet-free area near doorways so people can remove muddy shoes and stand dripping umbrellas in somewhere that is easier to clean up. If you absolutely have to have carpet in these areas (e.g. in front of the toilet on a cold morning), then choose a loose fitting one that is easy to pick up, shake out and wash – synthetic fibres or an old-fashioned rag rug will do.
To make your carpets last longer and to keep them in good condition for longer, get into the habit of removing your outdoor shoes when you come in – maybe even keep a pair of “indoor shoes” or slippers by entrances and exits if you don’t fancy walking around in bare feet. This is the custom in many homes (particularly Asian homes) and you can really see the difference! Regular care and maintenance of your soft floor coverings pays off in the long run.