When thinking about soft flooring, clients’ first line of thought is carpet. Generally, wool or wool mix carpets are a lovely choice for areas where you want to add that extra feeling of warmth and comfort. The softness underfoot as well as dulling acoustics from rooms below make it a great choice for bedrooms, playrooms, cinema rooms and TV snugs.
Velvet pile carpets are known for their softness and smooth elegant cut pile finish. Seen as the luxurious carpet of choice they are often regarded as a lifetime’s investment.
80/20% ratio wool/nylon is the standard mix to keep the carpet fibres from being pulled out, although 100% wool is the more luxurious choice for most residential projects. More wool does mean more abrasion but also more luxurious feel, so there is a choice to be made within the composition of the carpet.
The colours come in beautiful neutrals through to luxuriously brights, however the downside of this up-market carpet is price. Stain resistant as well as light protection treatments are both advised for velvet carpets.
Twist Pile Carpets
Twist carpets are a more budget option in the carpet world. They are created from yarn, which has been tightly twisted together. The fibres often have a coarse finish, giving the carpet a rustic, textured appearance. Marks are less likely to show up as the carpet has a heathered texture, which combine yarns of complimentary shades to create a flecked, multicoloured effect, making them ideal for heavily used areas. A twist pile carpet is much cheaper than a velvet carpet as it does not have the luxuriousness of its velvet pile counterpart.
Cut Pile Carpets
Cut pile carpets are sheared exposing the ends of the carpet fibres. Available in different lengths and thicknesses, they main properties are softness underfoot. Best for bedrooms where comfort is key, if you want to wake up in the morning and sink your bare feet into a deep pile carpet. In contrast, it can show footprints and flatten more easily, so is not recommended for high traffic areas like hallways and stairs. It is important to look for the twist when purchasing a cut pile carpet, as the tighter the twist, the more durable your carpet will be resisting matting and crushing.
Loop Pile Carpets
Hardwearing and great for high traffic rooms, loop pile carpets are made with wider uncut loops of yarn creating an interesting textured surface finish. Made from a looped single strand, the carpet does not show footprints and indentations because of its tight weave. Loop pile is long lasting and easy to maintain. Often used in hallways, stairs and landings it can be a good budget alternative to hard flooring
Acrylic is a synthetic fibre and is often seen as a wool substitute, as it is closest to wool in appearance and feel. It is springy like wool, has a luxurious feel and also resists soiling, stains, static and mildew. Acrylic colours are also bright and resist fading in sunlight. Its biggest advantage is that it is not susceptible to moth damage and it is much more affordable than wool. Drawbacks are that is not as durable as wool, nor as resilient. It has a tendency to become fuzzy as fibres deteriorate and to pill like polyester.
Seagrass – woven from natural seagrass, the texture is flat and smooth underfoot. Due to its flat weave, the material is good if you have pets and less susceptible to staining unlike other natural carpets. Due to its natural material, seagrass is completely biodegradable which makes it a great material for the environment.
Jute is the softer natural material underfoot. Due to the natural material and absorption levels, stains can occur and therefore we advise it is not used in high traffic areas susceptible to soling. Jute has a thick weave making it a popular choice for bedrooms and areas where you want extra comfort, a feeling of cocooning and softness underfoot.
Sisal is a lot harder wearing than jute and therefore the best option for high traffic areas if you prefer a natural soft flooring here instead of hard flooring. However, the texture is the coarsest out of jute and seagrass. Stains, due to its natural material, are prevalent and therefore it is something to consider but like all-natural soft flooring options, the look is organic and natural adding a real softness and warmth to your scheme.
One of the most eco-friendly flooring options, bamboo is a fast-growing self-generating grass making it very sustainable to use as a flooring option. Bamboo rivals silk carpets with a look & feel that is just as luxurious as silk and prices that are approximately half. For allergy sufferers, bamboo is a great option, they are easy to clean as it’s hard for dust and pet hair to hide. Being a natural material, it is noted that stains can occur so always treat your bamboo carpet.
Flat Weave Carpets
Flat weave carpets are made on a loom rather than being knotted, meaning they don’t have a tufted pile. Inherently matt, flat and without a pile, flat weaves can be made from different materials, but mostly they are made from natural fibres; wool, linen, silk, or even cotton. This low pile carpet has short fibres that look and feel flat and dense.
They are easy to clean and durable and do not catch much dirt as it can stand up to high foot traffic without losing its initial appearance. Another advantage is that flatweaves are usually much lower in price than a high-pile rugs, however they do not have the plushness that most associate with rugs.
Vinyl is not a material we think fondly of, historically it looked unnatural. However, Bolon has produced an innovative product made from entirely recycled materials. Woven vinyl textile is bonded to a soft high-performance latex backing, entirely free from any hazardous chemicals, as well as a longevity of 10 to 15 years. This is a good environmental solution to soft flooring and a great choice for childrens’ rooms, gyms and messy areas.
Although carpets are lovely underfoot, their hygiene levels, durability and anti-moth properties are much lower than hard flooring, therefore more clients drift towards wood and stone instead. Softness does not need to be compromised however, adding a large accent rug brings that extra dimension, warmth and texture into the room. In addition, rugs can be cleaned easily and removed when no longer wanted. Rugs can be patterned or plain and the variety to choose from is vast. How the rug has been woven also changes the texture and the finish of the rug, handloom, hand-tuft, flat-weave, flat-knot, are just some of the plethora of choice to choose from.
Placing a stair runner on your stairs is hugely popular, to soften the foot fall, making it cosier underfoot and adding texture, colour or pattern to your hallways. Borders in contrasting or harmonious colours can be added to add definition to the runner. Having a stair runner run from the ground floor of your property all the way to the top, will create flow & continuity between all the floors in your home.