Floor Coverings

Carpeting: Function meets a splash of fun.

Perhaps because it's often so expansive, carpeting can be a difficult choice when remodeling your home. Carpeting needs to be functional, sturdy but comfortable and easy to maintain. And you may even want it to lend a decorative element to your home.

While neutral colors like beiges, taupes and sages have been long-time favorites because they fit with any decor, carpeting today offers an opportunity to provide a dash of sophisticated fun or quirky elegance.

"We see a lot of new carpet product coming in with more design features and details in them, versus simple flat, plush looks," says Jeff Gibson, manager of Carpet One of Rochester. "Carpeting has more character and can be fun to decorate around. We see both a lot of modern and traditional designs. And with all of the new styles, weaves and loops coming out, there’s something to suit everyone's criteria."

Gibson says that some areas of the home are traditionally more suited to carpeting:

  • Living rooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Stairs
  • Basements

But a word of caution: If your basement tends to be damp or you're worried about water seepage, resolve those trouble spots before investing in new carpeting. "No matter what type of flooring you have in your basement, you want to make sure the humidity isn't too high and that it doesn't leak," Gibson says. "Carpeting can really warm up the basement and give the whole room the sense that you're not below ground. Just address any problems before putting flooring down."

More creative manufacturing processes are helping drive the demand for out-of-the-ordinary carpeting, Gibson says. "They're braiding loops, mixing high areas and low areas to create almost a linear effect, and throwing in different colors. Not just flecks or speckles of color, but lines of color. This is bolder color, in tune with what's gaining popularity in furniture and drapery. But it's not so much color that it looks like a Picasso."

Not ready for your carpeting to become a piece of art in its own right? "Consider a more standard-colored carpet with less texture," Gibson says. "Something less obtrusive." You can also consider a dramatic splash on a smaller scale - in the dining room, perhaps. Dining room carpeting trends are leaning toward fun and funky, with printed carpet that can provide a pleasant surprise in an area that may otherwise be formal or even borderline drab.

You may think that carpets are a drag to keep clean and fresh, but that's not necessarily the case. "New carpet pads today are coming with a layer on top that helps keep liquids out of the pad," Gibson says, "and that makes them easier to maintain. Carpets these days have really good resistance to stains."

Still, he does recommend having your carpets cleaned professionally every year or two, or more often if you have heavy foot traffic or naughty pets. Remember to spot clean immediately if there's a spill. Worried about harsh chemical cleaners? "There are some cleaners out that are 100 percent organic that clean with enzymes," Gibson says, "and some people consider them safer for your family and pets."

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Copyright 2007 Rochester Area Builders, Inc. No part of the Remodel It Right Handbook articles may be reproduced or printed without written permission from Rochester Area Builders, 108 Elton Hills Lane NW, Rochester, MN 55901. Phone (507) 282-7698.