Friday, December 18, 2009

Spiders Create Magic Carpet Tapestry

Spider Created Magic Carpet Tapestry

Spider Silk Tapestry Brings Magic Carpet To Life

Madagascar Tradition Creates One-of-a-Kind Carpet Textile Marvel

No. I'm not spinning a yarn and telling tales.

A spider is, though. Or rather, a million female golden orb [aka Nephila madagascariensis] spiders have, creating a museum carpet artifact that brings back to life "an indigenous tradition on the island of Madagascar."

I learned about this from a 10/29/09 article titled "Creepy, Crawly, Crafty: A Tapestry Woven by Eight-Legged Artists."

Given how immersed I've been lately with thoughts of creativity, innovation and inspiration [see BRITE 09: Innovating During Downturns & Surviving the Worst, Flooring eNewsletter #1 From Simple Marketing Now and Sources of Flooring Inspiration & Innovation], I was quite taken with the magnificent creativity that this spider-woven tapestry captured.

The richness of the saffron gold color [the reason behind the name 'golden orb'] and intricacy of design truly stop you in your tracks. I found it so beautiful, that I was reminded of how carpets were originally used: as tapestries. According to Wikipedia, the word 'carpet' originally referred to table linens and wall coverings. Not until the 18th century were carpets used on floors. Even then, they were rich in design and color [see Brussels Flower Carpet 2008 for perspective on patterns].

What's amazing from a visual perspective with this spider-created magic carpet is the opulence of the pattern and design, despite the monochromatic palette.

Furthermore, from a scientific perspective, this spider silk seems to be remarkably strong and filled with possibilities. Perhaps someday we'll have spider-silk textiles readily available around us as well as underfoot. Although, to put this magic carpet tapestry into perspective, it took four years and 60+ handlers to extract the spider silk and weave it into the exquisite patterns we see here.

This unique spider-silk textile is on display at the American Museum of Natural History which includes fascinating details of how the tapestry was created....

If there's a chance you're in NYC for the holidays, perhaps you'll visit the display. There's also a special exhibit titled Traveling The Silk Road [which includes a fun interactive website]. If you do go, would you share with us your impressions?

Related Post:
Magic Flying Carpets

Monday, November 30, 2009

Celebrating Carpet: UK's Fun On The Floor With Style

Fun on the Floor's Steve Elliott

Fun on the Floor with Carpet.

Fun on the Floor is a UK campaign sponsored by several carpet manufacturers [and not the Carpet Foundation and its member manufacturers which are not connected with Fun on the Floor - edited 1/19/10]. I first heard about it in 2008 in Is carpet about to make a comeback? A bit later, I was delighted to come across Carpet is back in style which offered delicious carpet style trends and details about Fun on the Floor.

A few weeks ago, I exchanged emails with Patrick Finn from Fun on the Floor, who graciously made possible the interview below with Steve Elliott, managing director of Associated Weavers in the UK and part of the Fun on the Floor panel of home experts offering free consumer design advice. He has worked in the carpet industry for over twenty years, has a varied and experienced background within the industry regularly dealing with manufacturers and suppliers. Steve is particularly knowledgeable about product development, the link between carpet and fashion and the changing colour trends that emerge. With an excellent understanding of the UK and world carpet market and also what consumers want from a carpet he is perfectly placed to comment on all carpet related issues.

Steve, what is the purpose of Fun on the Floor?

In 2008 a collective of carpet manufacturers, distributors and retailers joined forces to create a major generic marketing campaign under the banner of ‘Fun on the Floor’. The campaign aims to get the nation embracing the attributes of carpet.

The website is an interactive resource for anyone interested in learning more about the transformation that carpet can bring to a room – whether home owners, home improvers, retailers or media.

What objectives does Fun on the Floor want to achieve?

Fun on the Floor (FOTF) has four main objectives, to make carpet seen to be:

Practical & fashionable

How did the members of FOTF get together?

All the UK’s major carpet manufacturers and retailers were invited to become part of FOTF, with Carpetright and Headlam spearheading the campaign. A total of 13 companies now make up the FOTF group.

What was done in the first year of Fun on the Floor?

In the first year Fun on the Floor ran a national campaign highlighting carpet as a flooring choice by bringing to life its versatility, practicality, affordability, and ability to transform a home!

The first phase of the campaign launched July 31st 2008 with the opening of a unique house in central London designed and curated by Interior Designer and Sunday Times Style Columnist Danielle Proud [mentioned in the article above].

The Fun on the Floor house acted as a showroom through a medley of creatively designed rooms featuring carpet in stunning, creative and fun ways based on current interior trends and popular carpet choices. The house was visited by trade, national, consumer, regional journalists as well as key influencers such as interior designers, production companies for a free shoot location and celebrities.

Following the launch of the Fun on the Floor House, an eye-catching press and outdoor advertising campaign launched in the Autumn that covered billboards and vans nationwide.

Supporting all the activity and creating a consumer hub to the campaign, an interactive website launched to coincide with the house opening (, helping consumers understand carpet and offering advice and tips from Danielle.

What about the second year?

In the second year Fun on the Floor continued with a national advertising campaign and developed the website further through the provision of an expert panel. created a unique panel of home experts to offer consumers free advice on home improvement offering expert knowledge of interior flooring trends, carpets, colour and crafts. The panel consists of modern craft expert Danielle Proud, Interior Design expert Andrea Maflin, colour expert Victoria Redshaw and carpet industry brain Steve Elliott head of AWE carpets. Each member of the panel had been carefully selected for their individual areas of expertise.

In addition to the expert panel Fun on the Floor worked with leading trend forecasters Scarlet Opus to produce an interiors bible featuring all you need to know about forthcoming interiors trends with an emphasis on the most popular flooring choice – carpet. The report acts as an informative yet stylish guide with exclusive photography, quotes from the FOTF experts and a ‘get the look’ section.

Who are the experts on the FOTF panel and what do they specialize in?

Andrea Maflin – Interior Design Expert

Andrea Maflin is an interior design expert with many television appearances including Home Front and Real Rooms, both for the BBC, and Renovation Street for Carlton. She was the resident interiors expert on Channel 5's Britain’s Worst DIY-er as well as presenting on UKTV Style's Our House (Series 1 and 2). She has also designed a house for GMTV and appeared in regular design slots on Sky interactive and This Morning. A contributor to numerous interiors magazines Andrea currently has a regular, weekly slot in The Sunday Times.

Victoria Redshaw – Colour and trend forecaster expert

Victoria Redshaw is one of the trend forecasting industries brightest new stars and founded leading trend forecast agency Scarlet Opus. Quite visionary in her proven ability to read world events and social change and translate these into consumer trends with total accuracy for any business concerned with products &/or Services for the home.

Steve Elliott – Carpet industry expert

I am the managing director of Associated Weavers and have worked in the carpet industry for over twenty years. I have a varied background and am very active within the industry regularly dealing with manufacturers and suppliers. With a specific interest in product development I pride myself on being knowledgeable about the link between carpet and fashion and the changing colour trends that emerge. I follow the UK and world carpet market closely and also what consumers really want from a carpet so I can help make sure we create products people want to purchase.

Danielle Proud – Interiors and craft expert

Danielle launched the Fun on the Floor campaign last year with the stunning Fun on the Floor house. Described by the Sunday Times Style Magazine as "The sexy blonde Nigella of homemaking" Danielle Proud is the new face of modern craft. Danielle runs House Proud Craft, an umbrella company through which she sells her own design craft kits. In 2006 she moved into craft and home-making for UKstyle and a series of daily appearances on GMTV. In 2007 Danielle presented the highly original interior design format ‘All in the Best Possible Taste’ for BBC2, which paired her with husband Alex Proud. She is also developing an exclusive craft range to be sold throughout the UK and had a regular column in the Sunday Times Style Magazine.

What trends can we expect to see develop in 2010?

King and Country

This October Chanel hosted the most elaborate fashion show of the year as models took to the catwalk surrounded by an enormous barn and piles of hay. Rural colours dominated, with deep greens, sand and wheat colours making ‘country chic’ truly the hottest look of the show. This trend is destined to start filtering its way from the catwalks of Europe to the home as funonthefloor interiors FOTF colour expert Victoria Redshaw predicts the King & Country look will be big in interiors next spring.

The King and Country trend it is not about severe austerity, but rather cheerfulness in the trend’s styling that reflects the spirit of 1940’s wartime Britain. An abundance of simple patterns inspired by the reworking and recolouring of classic men’s suiting fabrics [e.g. tweed, herringbone and plaids] to create fantastic carpets, upholstered furniture that has patches of appliqué, cushions, throws, lampshades and even wallpaper!

Eastern Odyssey

An emerging influence, Eastern Odyssey is a huge trend that will bring much needed colour and pattern to a darker season such as Autumn/Winter. In addition to the bright sari shades the colour palette is updated by the addition of rich spice and dark maroon tones inspired by monsoon rain and mists. Maroon is a key colour development in this trend e.g. its inclusion in décor schemes through one step of laying a new carpet will help to refresh rooms and deliver a contemporary look. A visual opulence is reinforced by the use of an orange toned gold as well as burnished copper and brass.

The hustle and bustle of Indian city streets with their jostling crowds, decorative tuck-tucks, billboards and market stalls inspire mash-up patterns and colour mixes that reflect the vibrancy of life. This trend is not about co-ordinating, it is about lively mixes of different patterns on upholstered seating, wallpaper & oversized wall decal motifs, curtains and carpets. The abundance of pattern is balanced by areas of strong, plain colour blocks, with the introduction of bold carpets which can stop room schemes from looking chaotic. The juxtaposing patterns enrich and add character whilst the plain areas add depth and provide a calming foundation.

Magic Garden

This trend’s look can be achieved by the playful use of scale. Much of the Alice in Wonderland story involves manipulating scale and this is an important feature of furniture design and interior design relating to this trend and other home trends in 2010. Carpet's essential role in this trend is to provide a neutral or vivid base, either of which works well to enhance the magic garden look. Another important feature of this trend is storybook illustrations. They inspire surface pattern designs with a doodled, naive styling or narrative layouts that appear to tell a story and have a logical progression -- e.g. around the edge of a plate, up wallpaper or around a tabletop.

These placement patterns are much more interesting than conventional pattern layouts. The tangled foliage and colourful blooms of magical, fairytale gardens are an integral part of this trend. Vibrant mixes of large scale floral prints that appear to grow up wallpaper and wall decals create indoor English country garden scenes. Floral wallpapers can be used to decorate fitted wardrobe doors and bedside tabletops. Carpet with tiny, scattered flowers also helps to bring the outside, inside. For a bolder look select small scale gingham patterned carpet or for a plainer look invest in a pale blue or pale pink cut pile carpet.

For more on what are going to be the top trends in the home next year go to and ask the Fun on the Floor experts.

Is the trend report available on the FOTF website?

FOTF is constantly updating with new images and new content such as the expert panel to keep consumers interested and returning to the site. The full FOTF trend report is due to go live on the site by the end of 2009, giving consumers exclusive access to what is going to be hot in the interiors world next year.

What advantages do you think carpet has over other flooring choices?

Well for a start there are now a seemingly uncountable range of colours, styles and designs available on the market now. Carpet is also great for giving a house a cosy feel and can save consumers up to £100 [approx. $165] a year on their energy costs due to its insulating qualities. Carpet is also very affordable, an average sized room can be carpeted for as little as £200 [approx. $330]. Another great advantage of carpet is it’s noise canceling properties, many hard floors carry sound all over the house and therefore can be a very noisy flooring choice.

Finally, what does have planned for the future?

We will be continuing to innovate and produce great content on the site for consumers, trade and the media. Carpet has a great heritage in the UK and our aim is to continue the nation’s love of carpet and showcase it in as many compelling and visually appealing ways as possible. With regard to what we have planned coming up specifically I cannot say too much other than – keep checking the site!

Steve, many thanks for all of this wonderful, fun and style-filled carpet information! I look forward to learning more as Fun on the Floor continues.

The Fun on the Floor website is worth exploring. It includes details on the House that designer Danielle Proud re-imagined [definitely take the 6.42minute video tour], helpful and useful advice about carpet, inspiration for living on carpet, and responses to Ask the Experts questions. From my U.S. perspective, I particularly enjoy seeing the range of rich carpet style patterns, textures and colors.

And, I LOVE the carpet creativity that Danielle shares. She has truly brought new dimension to carpet, furniture and the 5th wall!

What do you think? What are your reactions?

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Design Your Bathroom Around Your Rug!

Bathroom Rug MosaicIn preparing for the 4th annual Bathroom Blogfest, I came across a tweet [i.e., a Twitter post] from @PassionForRugs with a link to an article titled Bathroom Rug Mosaic, which delighted me! It showcased a bathroom that had been redesigned around a patterned rug [pictured here].

Don't you find the effect brilliant? What a marvelous way to make the 5th wall in a room the visual anchor for design!

The design premise had me thinking about Thom Filicia and Designing From The Floor Up.

It also reinforced what NKBA New Zealand described in summing up what it had observed from the entries to the 2009 NKBA Awards: "a return to clean and simple lines, kitchen and bathrooms that are minimalist in style but with a bold feature or texture."
Bathroom Blogfest 09
At around the same time, I came across a link [thanks to @TLSbyDesign] to NKBA's Top Ten Kitchen & Bath Design Trends for 2009. The trends include:

1. Steel counters
2. Glass elements
3. Stone hearths
4. Black & White kitchens
5. The return of chrome
6. Shoji screens
7. Tin ceilings
8. Floating cabinets
9. Mirrors away from the walls
10. Resin panels

Given these trends, and the wonderful potential that designing your bathroom - or any other room for that matter! - around your rug holds, how would you go about redesigning and coordinating for as marvelous an effect as the bathroom referred to above?

Happy Bathroom Blogfest 09!

For more information, and links to all of the 2009 Bathroom Blogfest posts, visit

Photo credit: Attic Mag, Bathroom Rug Mosaic

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Strange Carpet Store Names: What's Your Favorite?

strange store namesI recently rediscovered an article titled "Strange carpet store names can floor you - Giant Don, Big Bob, Jungle Jim -- it seems size matters" by Julia O'Malley from the 05/09/09 Anchorage Daily News that had me giggling and reminiscing.

Giggling because I could picture the owners of Giant Don, Big Bob's and Jungle Jim -- and Kash's Carpet, Signs Carpet and Chubby Chicken's Cheap Cheap Carpet or Dirt's Cheap Carpet -- as they described the profound logic behind their choices of names.

Now, to be fair I have spoken with Big Bob David Elyachar and, even over the phone, he comes across as bigger than life and hugely passionate about his business. [Here is the story of how he got started.] His name is also the tamest... although some of his commercials are beyond description [I couldn't find the Bohemian Rhapsody commercial, but do check out these two Big Bob's classics.]

The more extreme and strange names had me reminiscing about my Wear-Dated upholstery fabric days and more specifically a series of conversations leading to a presentation with John Case, formerly president of La-Z-Boy and CEO and president of Elecrolux, about the types of sales events that furniture retailers would put on. Like "Big-Ass" Sales with graphic images that - unlike Apartment Therapy's promotion of one - go against any kind of association with design or style or interior inspiration.

Because after all isn't that what a carpet or furniture or other home interior item is supposed to be a part of? A beautiful, stylish, elegant, inspiring and comfortable home?

Which explains why a name like Floorcraft or Town and Country - as the article mentions - sounds a lot more appealing than, although perhaps not as memorable as, Dirt's Cheap Carpet.

Do you agree?

So, now I'm curious. What are the strangest carpet store names you've come across? And, what about unusual sale event names? Which are your favorites?

If you need further inspiration, check out check out Roadside Art Online: Grog N Groc Hall of Fame. As the tagline reads "Great names, normal places, we do not make these up." It's guaranteed to generate giggles, guffaws and a few dropped jaws.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

The Latest Carpet Style Trends 2009

Chile Fashion Week grafica originally uploaded by kevinkobek.
Chile Fashion Week graficaHurray! After being on the lookout for several months, I've just come across information on the latest carpet style trends...

This from the August 31/September 7, 2009 issue of Floor Covering News in an article titled "Mills roll out new products for fall, discuss trends, looks." [Subscription required for full article.]

The latest news is primarily about color although Emily Morrow, Shaw's director of color, style and design states that "Hand-touched visuals are achieved in carpet through the use of striated yarns, creating the sun-faded, hand-knotted and time-worn visuals of the hand-knotted heirloom rugs from middle-eastern origins."

My interpretation: texture comes from visual effects.

Not too different from the kinds of effects that Robbie Schuette described in A Foot's Perspective About Fabrica's Silk Weave Carpet.

Specifically on the color front, Vickie Gilstrap, vice president of residential color and design with Mohawk, shared five key trends that new carpet styles will reflect:
  • Neutrals will bring security in a bold way.
  • Nature is a natural source for optimism.
  • Buying "American" takes on a new meaning.
  • Think royal.
  • In addition to local, there's more global.
Fun to think how those trends affect us right now... I'm totally into purple, and I'd say we're all more aware and appreciative of the uniqueness that local and global offer in counteracting the sea of sameness.

Emily Morrow says "the world of color, style and design has taken a turn toward 'comfortable, sensible sophistication' for 2009... Today's palette doesn't vary far from the 'natural neutrals' to 'dark, rich neutrals' with a few exceptions."

Furthermore, "gray, dark brown, tans, black and white are what we find most prevalent.... These are the most basic yet classic and elegant neutrals from which to choose as a beginning. The newest carpet styles are using these rich neutral colors, considered no-brainers but appropriately supported with a cast of other vibrant colors from the fashion/interior world, offering the consumer the choice of using 'color as pop' or 'color as canvas.'"

For more of Emily Morrow's thoughts about color, read this Floor Focus article on 2009 Color Trends that she and Kaye Gosline contributed to.

I'm eager to discover how all of this translates into actual carpet styles. I'll be attending [and presenting at] the upcoming Surfaces 2010 and hope to have specifics to share with you then.

In the meantime, how do you see these trends affecting you and your flooring decisions?

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Carpetology Blog Reinvents Itself

Yes, it has been a while for The Carpetology Blog. It's not that I haven't been thinking about it. It's more that I haven't been sure how best to proceed at reinventing it given the various changes that have taken place...

Chief amongst those changes is that I am no longer associated with Wear-Dated. Instead, I am chief simplifier of Simple Marketing Now, and have started a new associated blog, Simple Marketing Blog.

Flooring The Consumer, though, continues strong! And, I still have a foot in the flooring world; I'm still a consumer of flooring and carpet, and I still believe that there's opportunity to demystify and simplify carpet related information. Most important, I believe strongly that flooring is fashion!

So, here's what I have in mind for this space....

I will share design inspiration. Although flooring is fashion, it's fashion within a space - home, hotel, office, store... - and needs to interact and interrelate with that greater space. So, the design inspiration I share may reflect that greater space.

I will expose you to carpet related stories that strike my fancy...

And, I'll dig through my files and see if there aren't any gems about carpet care and maintenance that haven't yet made it to the blog.

In the meantime, I do recommend to you the Carpet and Rug Institute Blog, which I've had a finger in, as an excellent resource for information about carpet care, carpet allergy and allergies myths, the benefits of carpet in learning environments, and carpet recycling information.

Thank you for your support and please do feel free to contact me at cbwhittemore[at]gmail[dot]com if you have ideas and suggestions for other topics to consider on The Carpetology Blog.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Design Reviews From The Floor Up ~ Silver Screen Surroundings

March's Design Reviews From The Floor Up introduces you to ::Silver Screen Surroundings::, another inspiring site from interior decorator Linda Merrill, owner of Chameleon Interiors in Massachusetts.

[Her company was included in a Washington Post article titled eDecorating - Web-Based Designers Click With Budget-Conscious Clients Who Want to Tackle Rooms Fast.]

Linda's background encompasses both visual and performing arts, something I learned when I profiled her original ::Surrondings:: site in Design Reviews From The Floor Up ~ Surroundings. That's when I discovered ::Silver Screen Surroundings:: which focuses on "Movie set decor, set decorators, and how to "Get that Look"." What a fabulous concept!

And, given the recent Academy Awards Red Carpet events, this seemed like the perfect site to share with you.

Linda asks: "Have you or has someone you know taken inspiration from a movie set for your own home decor? Would you like to share your images? Or, do you have a suggestion for a movie you'd like to see covered? Drop me a line at: linda.m.merrill (at)"

What I love is how Linda dissects the onscreen decorator looks, demonstrating how to achieve them in ::Silver Screen Surroundings::. From Coco Chanel, to Benjamin Button to Marie Antoinette, and everything in between. Plus, she includes visuals that make my heart sing!

[I also love that Linda includes a Tutorial: Screen grabs when you need them! Thank you!]

Be sure to check out ::Silver Screen Surroundings:: and let me know which movie set decor inspires you the most. While you're there, explore the ::Movie Decor Cool Links::...

For previous sites included in this series, click on Design Reviews from the Floor Up. Or, visit our sidebar also titled 'Design Reviews from the Floor Up.'

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Carpet, Allergens & Energy - Myths Debunked

With spring allergy season right around the corner, I'm prepared for the worst. Not in terms of physical symptoms - that's all taken care of with prescriptions and plenty of Kleenexes. Rather, in terms of the onslaught of terrible myths surrounding carpet and its relationship to allergies.

You see, there's misinformation - and lots of it - in the hands of influencers - like doctors - claiming that carpet contributes to allergies, when it doesn't. Quite the opposite.

Don't believe me? Then read Carpet Alleviates Allergies where I share links to real studies debunking the carpet myth. There's more in Beware of Autumn Allergens… Advice for Carpet, a post from Paul Friederichsen.

Through's Flooring News, I came across another story on the subject titled Shaw Educates on Allergens & Energy.

Visit the website and you'll notice an article titled Carpet can help you breathe easier which concludes with "In a recent paper, "Carpet, Asthma and Allergies - Myth or Realty," Dr. Mitchell Sauerhoff, Ph.D., DABT, examined numerous scientific studies and other research contradicting some long-held beliefs on carpet's alleged negative characteristics.

Sauerhoff concluded, "...based on the available science, carpet does not cause asthma or allergies and does not increase the incidence or severity of asthma or allergies symptoms. In fact, with respect to asthma and allergies, multiple studies have reported fewer allergy and asthma symptoms associated with carpet."

Other carpet myths worth debunking:

+ carpet is difficult to maintain. Personally, I consider it a lot easier to regularly vacuum my carpet than to have to lasso and corral pesky dust bunnies.

+ carpet is outdated and boring. Wrong! Totally wrong! Check out all of our stories on carpet style to realize how wrong that one is.

+ carpet emits harmful chemicals that cause health problems. The Carpet & Rug Institute's Green Label Plus program sets high indoor air quality standards for carpet.

+ carpet is bad for the environment. A great deal of effort is going into CARE - Carpet America Recovery Effort - with a focus on Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. At the same time, carpet plays a significant role in cushioning our lives and protecting us from injury, and helps insulate your home, thereby contributing to decreased energy consumption.

So, are you willing to reconsider these carpet myths?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

10 Carpet Decorating Tips From The Floor Up

home-decorating originally uploaded
I thought you might enjoy these 10 Carpet Decorating Tips from Karastan who shared them in a decorating workbook during the Thom Filicia Decorating From The Floor Up national tour.

1. Should your floor set or steal the stage? If you have created emphasis above ground, you may want to keep your flooring neutral. If the room decor is neutral, spice things up with a vibrant colored carpet or a vivacious patterned rug.

2. There are four styles of carpet: plushes, textures, patterns and berbers. Deciding first if you want your carpeting to be soft, sensible or hard will help you figure out which type of carpet is best for you. Note: Carpet depth is not necessarily an indicator of quality. A shallow pile with uncut loops is actually best if strength and durability are of utmost importance to you.

3. If you plan to use carpet in an area where you regularly entertain, you might want to consider a stain-resistant patterned carpet or one that has cut and loops for this space.

4. The family room of an active household will get heavy use by kids, friends and pets, so a woven carpet with uncut pile would be the most practical choice for this space.

5. In choosing a rug size for the dining area, a good formula is to add 30 inches to each side of the table dimensions for chairs with arms, and at least 24 inches for chair without arms. This way, everyone will have plenty of room to push their chairs back without moving off the rug.

6. When it comes to room and hallway transitions, if you are switching colors, continue the predominant color strain in a lighter or darker shade. If you are switching materials, a more radical color switch works better than something that nearly matches but varies slightly. For instance, do not try to match carpet to the adjacent tiles.

7. Create balance: all of the features in a room have visual weight [windows, fireplace, columns, etc.] that engage the eye. Be sure to take these into account when arranging rugs and furniture so that there is a sense of equilibrium throughout the room.

8. If your room isn't perfectly square, you might consider subdividing it into one or more "inner rooms." You can use the edges of your furniture and rugs to form the appearance of these inner rooms.

9. Even sight lines are very important when arranging furniture. If your sofa and chair backs are not matching, try raising the height of the lower one with higher back pillows. If you end table seems too low visually, try stacking books or magazines.

10. To make a room feel warm and welcoming, try colors such as orange, red and yellow. Cool colors, such as violets and blues, make objects, walls and ceilings feel farther away, and can help make a room feel larger. To make a cavernous room feel smaller, use a warm dark, matte color.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Ultron Color Trends - Designer Insights Summary

And, now, a summary of the insights we observed from the four designer workshops conducted in 2008 around the country in Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago and New York.

Eight to 12 designers were invited to each event and asked to bring inspiring color chips, samples, magazine articles, photos and swatches. Ann Hurley acted as facilitator and guide for the sessions.

[For background on these fascinating designer events, read Ultron Color Trends - Designer Workshops. You see, Ultron carpet fiber brought together seasoned designers in a first-ever series of four workshops to discuss color trends.]

We felt we got a true vision of “globalization” on a national basis—we were surprised how few regional variations were noted. This has been accelerated by the Internet. Now, anyone can immediately view the newest fashions that walk across the runway, creating a much more trend savvy customer as well as consumer. 

Companies like the corporate IBMs or retailers such as Nordstrom strive to achieve a consistent brand image and corporate identity, whether it’s coast to coast or on a global scope.

Overall Seattle had the more muted, earthier colors with Chicago and New York having cleaner, richer accents colors.

Yellow and red were consistent colors from all areas as well as chocolate brown and variations of the blue-greens.

Designers in both LA and NYC mentioned the importance and “lack of” good blue/grey and navy color ways in carpets. This color family is often not what the designer might select, but a client driven decision due to corporate branding directives.

Greys, especially charcoal, was mentioned in every market location as a good neutral to add a distinctive look, yet not as hard edged as black.

The designers also mentioned the need for carpets that coordinate with fabrics and the mixing or layering of fabrics with the textures.

They mentioned they liked a somewhat safe or neutral color way with a bright accent thread running through the carpet, like a bright red or yellow. 

It’s all about color, textures and mixes—and unusual color combinations with just the right accent!

For the detailed findings from the previous Ultron Color Trends events:
+ Los Angeles Workshop
+ Seattle Workshop
+ Chicago Workshop
+ New York Workshop

What do you think? Are you inspired to develop your own take on Neutrals, Blues-Greens, and Orange-Red-Yellows?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ultron Color Trends - New York Designer Event Insights

In this post, brace yourself for fascinating insights from designers in New York, the last stop in this series about color and color inspiration...

“Dress in black but don’t design with black.”

For background on these insightful designer events, read Ultron Color Trends - Designer Workshops. You see, Ultron carpet fiber brought together seasoned designers in a first-ever series of four workshops to discuss color trends. The events took place in 2008 over an eight week period in four cities around the country: Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago and New York.

Eight to 12 designers were invited to each event and asked to bring inspiring color chips, samples, magazine articles, photos and swatches. Ann Hurley acted as facilitator and guide for the sessions.

Here follow color family details and insights from the New York session:


Cream/Ivory is a crisp, classic color that adds elegance and sophistication to any space.

Use charcoal instead of black.

Lavender & golds lend a sense of sophistication; a bit of throwback to classic palettes of the past with a modern twist.

Chocolate brown has been popular with the emerging earth colors due to “green” design. It is a safe accent to the standard “beige” design which occurs in many corporate offices. Ties to beige and grey.

Bold patterns emerging everywhere – bold patterns are better with high contrast. Improved technology in materials allows white to be used more. Saw black and white carpet for the first time recently.

Chocolate brown/taupe is sophisticated, timeless, and elegant. It can be punched up with bright colors. Works well with metallics.

This charcoal is a great saturated neutral grey that makes for a wonderful backdrop for various colors.

Browns as neutrals warms things up and creates a rich, more homey atmosphere – less stark.

Chocolate is an enduring range that is classic with orange, purple, gray, & charcoal.

Regarding the color “burnished,” every palette needs a darker or medium value neutral to mix with colors. Warmth is always important.

Earth Tones – popular because they all go well with green. Also because they ground us with nature, as we gain awareness of our planet.

There is a whole range of gray tones that support and magnify other colors and accents extremely well. These colors are also beautiful, however, in their own right. Different grays often contain subtle infusions of color that harmonize themselves very well with a supporting palette and therefore are a staple.


The inclusion of bright, energetic colors will continue to grow worldwide….both in interior and exterior environments. It is the use of color as a statement that provides a sharp contrast to the more stark and rigid spaces we often find ourselves in. Also a growing force in product design.

Very aquatic in its tone, this teal reflects a trend toward water and depth. It is another base tone which works well against accent colors and has a subtlety of color which can be diaphanous under different lights.

Green is a playful color, bold and stands out. This particular bright color would work well in a children’s facility; it would also look fantastic used as an accent in furniture pieces. This color is fresher than the moss green we have seen in past years.

Green is a favorite color and even though being “green” doesn’t mean you have to use green - clients are choosing it. It tends to be more of a juicy “green” – even emerald. Still a “clear” color and not diluted.

Companies like blue…. this blue is more neutral and less “regal”. Sort of sky blue - less reds on it - less navy. The color selected was based on branding.

Ice Blue is fresh, crisp, serene, and clear. Contemporary and genderless.

Optimistic, playful, fresh, crisp. Can be dressed up or down. Works with light wood and dark brown. Punch it up with white/ivory.

More clients are requesting blue lately – Navy being mixed with Black & White - Intense color use with bolder patterns – influenced by fashion.

Bolder fabrics. Heavy blue influence due to corporate branding.

Provides richness and a sense of newness and freshness. New take on an old color.

Teal Blue will always be a classic favorite among designers. It is a calm, soothing color that makes people feel comfortable in their surroundings.

Yellow- Orange- Red

Ruby Red is a color that evokes a sense of passion and richness. It is a bold color that certainly makes a statement in any space.

Taking our cue from Fashion- Fall 2008 – sumptuous fabrics, opulence has returned - jewel toned accents combined with “warm grey” interiors.

Purple is the new orange, and red before it. It grew popular last year, and will see a boom in the retail and hospitality markets.

Yellow was under utilized last year. It gives pop and brings life to areas which may need a little energy. A fashion forward color.

Yellow is everywhere in fashion; cooler woods maybe because of “green” resources – yellow works better with less red woods - Furniture manufacturers are changing veneers and using less stain.

Cultural – Global Movement

It’s a “clear” but saturated orange. Very warm but not oppressive. Most orange in carpet is muddy.

Purple, a complex color (neutral). Purple with camel, caramel or tobacco, purple with orange or yellow.

Red and cream seem a fresh approach for using both these colors – classic.

Plum is a very powerful color; it’s clean and sophisticated. Dark plum, in particular, appeals for its heaviness. It can make a large statement. Dark plum is very rich and has always maintained formality and richness. There is a noble quality to it. Off-sets accent colors very well. A strong base tone.

For the findings from the previous Ultron Color Trends events:

The next and last post in this series will recap and summarize the findings of this fascinating 4-city designer insight event.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Ultron Color Trends - Chicago Designer Event Insights

In this post, brace yourself for fascinating insights from designers in Chicago about color and color inspiration...

“Color can’t be in isolation.”

For background on these fascinating designer events, read Ultron Color Trends - Designer Workshops. You see, Ultron carpet fiber brought together seasoned designers in a first-ever series of four workshops to discuss color trends. The events took place in 2008 over an eight week period in four cities around the country: Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago and New York.

Eight to 12 designers were invited to each event and asked to bring inspiring color chips, samples, magazine articles, photos and swatches. Ann Hurley acted as facilitator and guide for the sessions.

Here follow color family details and insights from the Chicago session:

Neutrals -
This brown, a neutral, nature inspired color, is versatile and sophisticated. Various shades of this color will work as a strong neutral base for any palette and can be used on large surfaces – floors, walls.

It’s clean and simple, and when used with stronger neutrals, the look is rich and sophisticated. It could be used on large areas – walls as well as upholstery, and window treatments.

What could be more attractive than the color of Earth itself? We’re always looking for that perfect dark brown: not too red, not too dull….. The smooth warm tone of this brown is a perfect compliment to any blue or red or neutral.

Warm neutrals with texture help evoke a feeling of hospitality or home; they bring warmth to a space. These colors can be used as a base or provide an accent when used with lighter colors.

Fashion influenced this color direction for the brown family. Warm neutral greys are used with a splash of bright color (e.g., gold) creating an interesting balance of light and dark. Warm neutrals set a back drop or create the environment/surroundings to allow other elements to come through and be the focus.

Tortoise Shell. Coco Bean/Rich soil/bronze.

White will remain “hot” as a major influence of room color and product materials, but will be warmer to avoid the stark retail look of the past few years.

“Graphite” is the new "Chocolate.” It will be used as an accent and blends well with the retro-grey washed woods that are becoming popular.

With 80s retro becoming popular, a cool grey mid-tone will come back as a complement to white dove, graphite and currant red palette that was popular in the 80s but warmed up for the ‘08s.

Layer of neutrals-tone on tone variations (underlying palette in most schemes).

Blue- Green

Water colors. The color of froth at the end of a wave - effervescent - fresh & clean.

Aqua in glass accents, where the intensity varies by region and is influenced by water.

This yellow green color is a nature inspired neutral color. It would work well as an accent on upholstery, window treatments or accent walls (also an accent end in carpet).

This nature inspired neutral could be an alternative to rich greens, but can also be used with rich browns and burnt oranges. Sophisticated and universally appealing, it’s clean and simple, and when used with stronger neutrals, the look is rich. It could be used on large areas such as walls, as well as upholstery and window treatments.

Fashion has often led the way for the color and texture of interiors. It's certainly setting the stage with this vibrant yellow – green midst dusky hues of the forest trail. These colors are also seen in the whimsical art-nouveau T-strap shoes, again painting with the vibrant colors of nature.

Biomimicry – Nature influences design and color choices. This vibrant green color adds a pop of color or accent to any space. Green signifies growth, renewal, health and environment. It could be used in combination with almost any neutral color.

Yellow- Orange- Red

These red colors are intense, and enhanced by the richer wood colors. They would work as a strong accent color in conjunction with rich browns for upholstery, window treatments or small accent walls.

With eco-friendly fervor spreading across the nation in every market sector, everyone is finally getting on the sustainability band wagon. People are realizing that they are going to have to step-up and join in the green movement or they are going to be left behind. It’s affecting our decisions daily. This red color is based on nature’s vibrancy; a bright and natural color that has energy and confidence. The bright orange-red color of a blood orange relating to the color of the hibiscus in the background is the new eco-red and it’s “sustainably stylish”.

Red is always popular but will move away from the orange hues and into berry tones.

A trend from fashion is a dark navy and dark plum with a black tint.
Next, the findings from the New York workshop.

For the findings from the previous Ultron Color Trends events:
+ Seattle Designer Event Insights

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ultron Color Trends - Seattle Designer Event Insights

In this post, brace yourself for fascinating insights from designers in Seattle about color and color inspiration...

“Don’t go for fashion; create a space for people to work.”

Ultron Color Trends - Designer Workshops gives you background on these designer insights. In short, Ultron carpet fiber brought together seasoned designers in a first-ever series of four workshops to discuss color trends. The events took place in 2008 over an eight week period in four cities around the country: Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago and New York. Eight to 12 designers were invited to each event and asked to bring inspiring color chips, samples, magazine articles, photos and swatches.

Ann Hurley acted as facilitator and guide for the sessions.

Here follows color family details and insights from the Seattle session:


Charcoal is an incredible neutral that can be used in place of black all the time. It has richness to it, without the starkness of black. Very sophisticated – can go with cool or warm.

This linen is a refreshing alternative to the ubiquitous “warm white” and an easy choice for a field color on interior walls – goes great with hot oranges & orange-reds, as well as dark browns.

Clients love beige, and that will never change. Safe, versatile, available -- it’s classic. Luckily beige also has lots of texture and pattern options.
Warm grays are the happy alternative to black. Warm grey is edgy but still safe.

This dark charcoal color works well to bring drama and intensity to a space. It is severe in depth, but not as stark as black. It works especially well juxtaposed against the warmth of many oranges and yellows. It is also reminiscent of a very raw, industrial aesthetic with steel and iron, which makes it feel unexpected in an interior environment.

Oil black is power, money, greed, waste, ethical, political. Timeless. Attitude based on which color it is paired with.

Brings the atmospheric weather indoors. Soft, tranquil color. Joseph Albers in brown.

Blue- Green

Light blue grey. It’s sophisticated and rich without being ostentatious saturated and a potential classic – could infuse a lot of life into traditional interiors.

Grass green is natural and invigorating – it’s a color seen everyday, but it’s somewhat unexpected in an interior. A “feel-good” color.

Ah! Aqua. Like the acidic yellow it seems to be all over fashion and design. Instead of being excessively teal like the 1980s, it is now redefined, more soothing and androgynous. It’s a bold color that both sexes can agree with.

Clear blue green is a traditional color but with the twist of sheen and transparency. Color that holds up to tropic sun. Use with whites, blue, silver in resin panels, glass, accessories.

Sapphire blue is drama, night sky, mysterious, dreams. Use on floor, wall, upholstery. Use with sparkle silver, or pearl white.

Yellow- Orange- Red

Acid Yellow is a great accent color – unexpected, emulates light, and looks great with cool neutrals.
Influenced by pop-art painting. This is one of those colors with punch for modern office spaces.

Acidic yellow/chartreuse is all over the place… NY fashion week Spring ’08, Paris Fashion Week Fall ’08, it’s everywhere? Giving a nod to 1970, but giving it a more cutting edge techi/spin, makes it a very sexy color.

Rust/Bronze is one of those great colors that bring an interior and exterior color scheme together. It can be both masculine and feminine depending on how you use it. It adds a lot of depth and saturation as an accent.

Clearly an important accent in fashion and home. A hopeful, optimistic color. Rebellious Mauve.
Next, the findings from the Chicago Workshop.

In case you missed it, here are the findings from the Los Angeles Workshop.

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