Here are a few tips when buying a carpet to help you decide what's best for your home.
1. Do not skimp on underlay. All carpets need a solid foundation for support and to add extra cushioning. Although you can not see it, you'll soon know if it's not there.
Made usually from rubber or foam, underlay can also act to conceal flooring irregularities and improve the overall appearance of your carpeted floor. It insulates, absorbs sound too, protecting you from noisy neighbors, or your neighbors from noisy you! Speak to your carpet provider about your requirements, for example, a hallway will need a good, firm underlay while guest bedrooms or rarely used rooms will need less protection.
2. Research the different material options before you buy in order to achieve comfort within your budget. Wool is the best quality and feels most luxurious underfoot but is also most expensive. Similarly, wool blended with silk gives a gorgeous finish on rugs and carpets but will be even more expensive. However, some synthetics or wool blends can work well too if on a tighter budget.
3. Get the best installation you can: this is almost as important as the quality of the carpet in terms of the finished look. The last thing you want is a nice carpet full of lumps and bumps. If your carpet provider does not have installers, ask them for recommendations and do your research!
4. Before you buy, make sure you know what type of maintenance or cleaning requirements you are signing up for. Will it need regular cleaning? Will you need expensive products? Will it take time you do not have? You may want to think twice about your decision with these factors in the mix.
5. The design is what most people start with when choosing a carpet or rug, but with so much out there, it can all get a bit bewildering. Do you want the carpet or rug to be a focal point? Do you have art on the walls that you'd like to match the tones of? Is there a mood you are trying to set for the room? The carpet you choose will affect whether the room feels cozy, peaceful, warm or funky. Blues and greens are cooler shades, while reds and golds lend warmth. Light colors can add a feeling of space to smaller spaces, where bright colors might feel claustrophobic.
6. Your lifestyle is crucial when making a decision. Do you have children? Do you live in the country or the city – Ie are you going to have people charging into the house from muddy walks. All it takes is for one person to forget to take off their wellies and you're in trouble! Dark shades, patterns and textures are better at hiding stains.
7. Ask for the biggest samples you can from the shop and take them home to look at it natural and artificial light. If your rug or carpet is going to be in sunlight, choose something which will not fade dramatically or in patches.
8. Carpet, underlay and adhesives can affect air quality and, therefore, health. New carpets often release substances such as formaldehyde which can exacerbate asthma and cause allergic reactions. Choosing natural materials and chemical free dyes helps protect you and your home.
9. It may sound obvious but have you thought through whether you really need a carpet or whether a rug would be more practical and cost effective. Carpets are more likely to hold dust, and therefore dust mites and other allergy provoking organizations. They are also harder to clean and wear out after a few years. Rugs are easier to clean and cheaper to replace. You can also take them with you when you move house. However, you will need to have nice flooring underneath as some of your floor will be showing. Using some kind of adhesive or rug pad is also advisable to avoid slipping and accidents.