remember as a young teenager sitting under the ironing board at one of my mum’s parties, watching her and her friends dancing around the kitchen. They were all barefoot because Mum didn’t want them to mark the newly sanded wooden floors with their shoes.
Now I think bare feet have about as much place at a party as ironing boards (shoes are part of an outfit, thanks), but how much nicer would it have felt if they’d had some lovely soft carpet underfoot?
But if you’re any younger than me, maybe you’re part of a generation that has neither experienced life without the internet nor life with carpet.
For the past 30 years, we’ve been ripping up carpets in favour of stripped wooden floorboards. Spy a corner of splintered grubby wood under the rotting lino of a fixer-upper? That’ll be an extra £20,000 on the asking price.
Spurred on by Ikea’s 1996 exhortations to chuck out our chintz, followed closely by Handy Andy and his way with a sander, plain wood floorboards became a refreshing antidote to tatty brown shag pile and floral soft furnishings.
But I don’t think we’ve banished carpets forever. I’m ready for a carpet comeback.
I recently designed a rather wild one for a radical client of mine, a two-tone purple stepped wonder — admittedly it wasn’t to everyone’s taste. But it got me thinking about how carpets can be used to change even the most conventional of rooms.
Floors, after all, are just as impactful as our walls, a bold colour under foot can ground and add drama.
I particularly like Axminster carpets; they come in a great range of colours and are all woven in Devon. Even the Queen uses them, although with prices starting at £39 per square metre, she won’t have needed to sell the Crown Jewels to fit out Windsor Castle.
That said, I’m well aware that carpet can be a big investment. If the budget’s tight, remember that first impressions count, so why not get a hall runner? It’s a great opportunity to introduce joy and fun.
No one does pattern better than Christine Van Der Hurd. I adore her hand-knotted Ponti design with its colourful geometric edging. I am also a big fan of The Waver, a collaboration with interior designer Adam Bray.
If you’re a carpet commitment-phobe, invest in a rug. You can move it from room to room and renters or serial movers can take them wherever they go. Tom Atton Moore hand tufts all his designs in his studio in Lewisham. The abstract, bold, high-contrast designs are works of art and will add a design statement to any room.
For something more toned down, Sussy Cazalet’s collaboration with Pinch is just the ticket. But you truly don’t have to go for broke to make a statement. Ikea’s Stockholm check stripe rug is a fantastic simple yet effective design — and a total steal at a cool £189. What’s not to love?