Carpets can serve a variety of purposes in a space. They can hide flaws in the floor, add insulation to the room, absorb sound and provide a cozy spot to sit.
When sized correctly, a carpet can serve to unify a room and make it feel larger. Floating carpets are not only distracting to the eye, they can be a serious trip hazard as well. How do you know if you’ve got a floating carpet? If you have a conversation area in your living room and the front legs of your sofa and chairs don’t sit on the carpet, (or barely sit on it) it’s too small. Ideally the carpet should run about halfway under the front and back legs of your furniture. To avoid purchasing a rug that’s comes up short, tape the required rug size out on the floor before you head out to the store.
Something to consider when choosing the size of your carpet is how much of the floor around the perimeter of the room should be exposed. This reveal can range from six to 16 inches. If your floors are in bad shape, stick with a smaller reveal but if you have a very large room, want to show off your floors, or if the colour of them references other furniture pieces in the room and helps to unify the overall design, opt for a larger reveal.
When measuring for carpets, make sure that you don’t cover any vents in the floor. This can have a negative effect on your home’s heating and cooling system and therefore your indoor air quality.
I will often cover most of the floor with a neutral carpet (wool and seagrass are a couple of my favourites) and then layer a smaller, patterned carpet on top to define a conversation area. This way the larger neutral carpet acts as a mat for the decorative carpet on top so together they look like art on the floor. When two carpets are layered, make sure that at least the front legs of all of the furnishings in the sitting area rest on the patterned carpet and again, that it stretches underneath the furniture about half way between and the front and back legs. You don’t want the legs to be too close to the front edge so a bit larger, is better.
If you do have a fantastic floor, roll up your carpets in the warm summer months and enjoy the look of your hardwood.
- Though wool carpets are more expensive than some other options, there are many good reasons to choose it for your home. Wool carpets are not only soft underfoot, they resist and release soil more easily than synthetic fibres. Also, tests show the insulating properties of wool can cut heat loss by 13%. It can also help keep you cool by its ability to absorb 30% its weight in humidity without feeling damp or wet.
- Sisal is also a good choice for carpet. Sisal is a natural fibre extracted from the leaves of a succulent plant called Agave Sisalana which grows in dry, desert climates. It is one of the toughest and hardest-wearing natural plant flibres for flooring. Though it may not be as comfortable as wool to sit on, it does provide a nice massage effect on the bottoms of bare feet. However, I wouldn’t recommend it for areas that are frequently wet because excessive moisture can damage the fibres and lead to the proliferation of mould and mildew. Sisal provides a natural sound insulation and is one of the better options for those prone to allergies and asthmatic reactions.