- Decorating, Home Decorating & Interior Design

Is carpet in style these days?

Absolutely, say designers. And it's softer than ever.

Among the various types of flooring, carpet simply has no equal for warmth, softness, reasonable cost, and the ability to reduce ambient noise. And as if these weren’t benefits enough, carpet is becoming steadily more stylish.

"What we’re seeing is that there’s a definite trend toward fashion in carpet," says Foster Owen, Showroom Manager and Vice President of Clifton Carpets in Dallas. "Textures, different types of yarn systems, different colorations, patterns, tone-on-tone prints, looped carpet, tip shears -- anything that has interest or fashion seems to be very accepted."

Indeed, it does appear to trend-watchers and designers that the days in which carpet lagged behind the fashion curve are really, truly (and finally!) over. Jamila Wilson, Specifications Designer with Courtney Ford Design in San Diego, says one indicator of this is the greater range of colors being seen recently.

"Much more color is out there in carpet, and it’s being used," she says. "We’re departing from traditional neutrals. Consumers are getting more daring. Slowly but surely they’re becoming comfortable with color in their carpeting. There’s the popularity of Tuscany styles, old-world styles, and more modern looks -- all these require stronger color."

Wilson says that "suddenly pink is the color." She lists several others, too, that enjoy particular popularity right now, following the lead set by sartorial fashion: vibrant blues, chocolate, rust, orange, purple. "Just like with clothes," she says, "flooring is becoming more responsive to trends."

A wealth of texture is also available in carpeting -- tone-on-tone, cut-loop, high-and-low loop, frieze, shag. Styles in which the way the yarn is tufted or sheared creates the pattern.

"Pattern and texture are very popular these days," says designer Debbie Gunson of JPS Surface Solutions, Westlake, CA. "People tend to use different carpets, textures, and colors in different rooms."

Beyond color and texture, carpet has still another major appeal. Says designer Mary McMurrin of JPS Surface Solutions in Newport, CA, "The biggest advantage of carpet is that it’s the least expensive floor covering. Installation costs are much less than for hard flooring. Carpet definitely provides good value for the customer."

McMurrin says she likes to use low-pile, low-profile carpets. "They’re great -- I use rugs over them for a layered look."

Not only do carpet styles today offer plenty of options in pattern, texture, and color, but extraordinary new ultra-soft fibers bring a dimension to this flooring category that is causing considerable excitement.

"The advent of softer yarns has been embraced by the American consumer," Foster Owen notes. "That’s not going to let up. We’ve definitely turned a corner. I think the soft yarn systems have been extremely well received by all our clients, and I feel like that’s really going to continue. It’s an emotional thing -- people just like softness and comfort."

And that’s exactly what carpet gives them. With a good bit of color and texture thrown in for good measure.

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