Friday, February 15, 2008

The Latest in Carpet Style Trends

While at Surfaces 2008 I experienced firsthand the carpet style trends that I've been reading about in the flooring trade press.

Trends such as "Beyond berber: Patterned carpet offers high fashion choices" by Janet Herlihy in the 10/1-8/2007 issue of Floor Covering Weekly or "Consumers influence design demands in 2008" by Amy Joyce Rush from the 01/21-28/2008 issue of Floor Covering Weekly or even Mohawk adds ‘stars’ to its 2008 lineup: Innovative styles ... [from the 01/18/2008 issue of Floor Covering News].

All exciting trends because they emphasize the stylish possibilities of carpet, and do so in the context of a consumer's home where hard surfaces will absolutely co-exist with soft surfaces. The combined end result can now be show-stoppingly glamourous, sophisticated and very comfortable.

[These two photos are of Horizon's Flamboyant. I love the textural quality of the product - both visually and to the touch. It's casual yet very stylish.]
Let me share some of the specifics from the articles...
The first article "Beyond berber..." discusses life beyond looped berber flecked carpet. That's the carpet that became so very popular across North American homes some years back. Usually made of olefin fiber, the loop construction and flecks of color forgave a whole slew of sins.

Unfortunately, it also 'uglied out' rather quickly - olefin, with its lower melting point, mats down, quickly losing its new crisp look and generally not performing as well as a comparable nylon product would.

The second article asserts that consumers are calling the design shots, and flooring suppliers are responding with "more diversity, luxury and color." Enter into a world where we as consumers are savvy about design, color and patterns, love the ideas available through HGTV, and want to bring greater sophistication and beauty to our homes as we express a greater sense of style.

No surprise, those berber loop styles just don't cut it anymore!

[And, by the way, berber refers not to the loop construction, but rather to the flecks of color in the carpet.]

[This photo below represents Gulistan's Craftwork. I love the pattern created by alternating a tight loop with a velvety cut pile texture.]
Add to that the many, beautiful hard surface options - from granite, marble, and travertine to exotic tiles from Italy and hand-scraped wood floors and everything else in between - and you realize that it's high time that we have the opportunity to be tantalized with deliciously comparable carpet choices that exude as much fashion as our other options do....

Don't you agree? Our carpet selections can be as sassy as we want to be in one room, or as sophisticated as we need to be in another. The options are there! It's all up to us!

[This photo captures WundaWeve's Sisal Chic. Every time I look at and touch this carpet style, I'm reminded of a favorite handknit sweater - knubby, classy, comfortable and totally uplifting. I want to wear it.]

That boring ubiquitous berber loop can finally be ditched in favor of a fun, fresh-looking and better performing cut-pile construction. Not only does it have the berber flecks of color, but also unusual effects in how the carpet yarns get combined.

Patterned carpet now captures subtle designs that emulate hard surface swirls, patterns and striations. The pattern can come from combining loops and textures, or using different tones of similar color, or combining yarns of different thickness in one carpet, or even different luster levels in a same carpet. The end result is quite magical and definitely sensual: you can't help but feel it with your hands to better understand what your eyes tell you.

Did you read Marianne's post about Fabrica's Silk Weave and The Elegance of Dupioni Silk? I love that carpet can capture the look and feel of luxurious silk! Check out this post by Daily Danny titled Floored by Carpets in which he includes terrific photos of carpets that similarly convey both stylishness and exotic sensibilities.

Imagine having a swirly granite floor in a foyer area paired with a dreamy counterpoint swirl in carpet for the living room space off that foyer... It works for me.

From a practical design perspective, if you want to combine hard and soft surface in an open space, consider using inlays of carpet in the hard surface - as Vickie Gilstrap explains in the article - or even bind the broadloom carpet and create an area rug.

[This swirly pattern from WundaWeve's Shining Allure comes alive when you look at the carpet from the ground. I consider it more formal than Sisal Chic, but it belongs to the same classy, comforting family.]

If you are considering combining different carpet patterns and textures in a space, consider an inlay of pattern in a less exuberant carpet, one that carries through the whole space. That will help to unify the whole look as Thom Filicia explains.

Have you noticed, too, the richness of color that the new hard surface options offer? What I love about that is that it forces going beyond beige [yeah for color!], and says that it's absolutely okay to mix and match surface types, patterns, colors and looks throughout the house, customizing for each room. All rooms don't have to be hard. Some can and should be soft and comfortable, while still expressing a sense of uniquely individual style!
That, to me, is the ultimate luxury.

NOTE: All of the products shown above - except for the room scene of my hotel room - feature new introductions from Surfaces made with Wear-Dated and Wear-Dated Natural Nylon carpet fiber.

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