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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