Carpet and rugs, for which the color combinations, patterns and styles are many, are wonderful for camouflaging a well-worn floor, for sound and shock absorption and also offer maximum insulation for those times when bare feet need warmth.
Remember, though, that any kind of fabric flooring will be a disastrous choice in areas of high moisture. Plus, improper dying can cause color transfer, backing can separate from the fiber and more. Finally, lack of maintenance and dirt build up will abrade the fibers, crushing and matting them, and cause staining too.
A few of the more popular textures include:
– Cut & loop, a mix of both straight and looped fibers which provide surface texture
– Shag, in which loops are cut to create nice “cush” underfoot (also known as cut pile)
– Frieze (free-zay), a tightly curled cut pile that masks vacuum cleaner marks and footprints
– Level loop, level uncut loops of the same height and size; very suitable for high traffic areas
– Multi-level loop, which offers two to three loop heights to create patterning
– Plush, a velvety cut pile that offers a smooth surface, but will show every imprint; and finally
– Saxony, a cut pile with an extra twist in the yarn to create a dense, sophisticated look
One more thing: it’s important to know that there are two categories of carpet fiber: natural and man-made. Natural fibers include wool, silk, coir, jute, sisal and flax. Man-made types include nylon, polyester, acrylic, etc.
If you are interested in “green” carpet, there is plenty to choose from. Most “green” carpeting is made from 100% post-consumer recycled food and drink containers. By purchasing one square yard of recycled carpeting, for example, you will be keeping approximately 40 plastic containers out of our landfills.
As for rugs, their most compelling aspect is that they can be picked up and moved with little effort, so rugs of all kinds are perfect for those who lease their homes or those who like to change out their decor frequently. Cleaning is also a breeze, as a rug can be rolled up and transported easily.
There are many rugs styles available, but some of the most popular include:
– Aubusson, a tapestry-style rug featuring floral and architectural motifs
– Braided, a casual, circular rug which is usually reversible
– Brocade, an embossed or engraved rug using heavily twisted yarn
– Dhurrie, a thin, flatwoven rug constructed of cotton or wool
– Flokati, an elegant hand-woven wool rug, soft to the touch, originating in Greece
– Fur, such as alpaca or sheepskin, which is sheared from the animal and then woven onto a backing; or hide (such as cowhide or bear skin)
– Gabbeh, a coarse rug recognized more for its artistic value than its comfort
– Kilim, a reversible flatwoven rug with a smooth surface
– Mahal, a medium weave rug with a soft hand, beautiful design and soft color combination
– Needlepoint, a hand-made rug that is created using a pattern-stenciled canvas
– Oriental, a rug native to the Middle or Far East that is known for its many patterns and colorations
– Persian, a rich, beautiful wool or silk rug with graceful floral designs and delicate colorations
– Rag, a casual hand-tied rug made from colorful cotton scraps, often seen in kitchens
– Savonnerie, a hand-knotted rug typically made in pastel tones with floral medallions; and finally
– Tibetan, a hand-knotted wool rug made with a special technique of knotting.
Like carpet, a rug is affected by the type of material used in its construction. Also, consider that many people want a rug not just for its insulating properties but also because many rugs can be considered works of art.
Remember that some handmade rugs are akin to furniture in that there are degrees of quality and beauty to be upheld. Manufactured rugs will inevitably be less expensive because the cost to produce them is so much lower. Know that weaving and dye techniques will factor into the cost, too.
Above all else, buy the best-crafted carpet you can afford. You will be rewarded with years of great looks and performance.