Which is the best flooring option for a luxury interior? Do we go for soft, sumptuous carpet or the expensive warm glow of hardwood? Both being fabulous in their special ways, is the rivalry between carpet and hardwood a close run thing, or is there one stand out winner? Let's get down to floor level and take a closer look...
Flooring is something we all interact with on a daily basis. As our feet sweep across a room, our subconscious logs many details about the surface – the feel, sound, appearance, smell, stability and texture are all constantly being assessed. Ignoring the impact of the choice of flooring is like overlooking paint shade or lighting design in a room – flooring sets the tone for a space and it can make or break an interior concept.
When designers start putting together ideas for interiors, flooring is one of the first decisions to be addressed. The influence flooring has on the overall finish of a room cannot be over estimated. To the casual onlooker, it may seem that carpet has fallen out of favor as a flooring choice, having been overtaken by modern materials such as laminates and hardwoods, but there are still many diehards out there for whom the soft option is the only one.
What gives bespoke carpet its appeal? In the long history of carpet making, rich textile floor coverings have been used as a subtle indicator of wealth and opulence. The finest carpets fashioned in Far East locations such as Persia, Turkmenistan and China have historically shown exquisite detail and craftsmanship, characteristics that have filtered down across the centuries to the modern products we see today. To impress visitors in the ancient Ottoman Palaces, all they needed to do was point to the fabulous, jewel colored carpets. Nothing much has changed, these days, installing a top quality carpet is the most effective way of imbuing a room with elegance, cachet, and a look of quiet prosperity.
Nothing feels quite as luxurious as padding barefoot across a carpeted room – the feeling of warmth and comfort is hard to beat. But apart from appealing to our sensual natures, there are many other reasons for choosing carpet.
Look in any modern carpet emporium and be amazed at the choice on offer. Remember when all we could get were variations on a beige theme? Now there are rainbow colors to choose from, patterns and textures galore and traditional and modern designs with the ability to turn bland to bling in an instant.
Good looks aside, there are many practical benefits to carpeted floors. The thick pile of textile over floorboards works as wonderful insulation, reducing heat loss at floor level and dampening sound travel. Carpet offers softer landings when trips or falls occur and when things are dropped, breakages are less likely. Families with young children find the forgiving surface offered by carpet preferable to hard floors, which can result in bruises, and bumps for little ones unsteady on their feet.
With regular maintenance from companies such as finestcarpetcleaning.ca, a carpet can look beautiful and perform like a dream for years.
Hardwood flooring is one of those finishes that oozes natural beauty and effortless style. This luxury product, handcrafted and finished, is perfect for achieving the understated prestige look of solid wooden floors. A natural high-end material, hardwood lends an interior a solidity and charm and can work well in kitchens, hallways and sitting rooms.
Hardwood floors can be solid or engineered wood, the former being used in older, more traditional settings. Engineered hardwood flooring is better suited to more modern scenarios and is quicker to fit. Solid flooring is thicker than engineered wood and can be sanded down and re-finished if marked or stained. Hardwood flooring comes in many gorgeous timber finishes, including oak, maple and walnut, ash, wenge or bamboo. There will be a hardwood finish to match any interior color scheme as the natural tones of this material range from ebony black to bleached, silvery driftwood. As a rule, pale, blonde timber works well in modern settings and darker finishes make historic rooms sing with authenticity – but as with all interior design, the most exciting effects are often achieved when the rules are broken. So do not be scared to experiment!
Hardwood flooring is smooth and easy to clean. Dust is simple to manage on this surface, making it a popular choice for allergy sufferers. Don't dismiss hardwood as a cold surface, as it can be installed with underfloor heating, guaranteeing a warm footfall.
Where they work best
Nothing beats a soft, thick carpet in the bedroom. Stepping out of bed in the morning onto a cushioned, luxury floor makes the perfect start to the day. Bedrooms are something of a haven and those who aspire to the luxury boudoir look should only entertain carpet as a flooring choice.
Carpet gives a room a cozy feel, so concentrate on putting it in areas where relaxation is desired. Wall to wall fitted carpets in sitting rooms, studies or bedrooms turn them into spaces where people want to linger. Toddlers find the cushioned surface of a carpet much nicer as a play surface, so consider putting it into nurseries and playrooms. Parents should not forget the sound insulation benefits of carpet, especially when looking to reduce noise from teenagers and their friends as they party in the bedrooms upstairs!
Luxury hardwood floors work well in many different situations. As a grand entrance to the home, why not consider installing gleaming hardwood to welcome visitors? Practical and easy to clean, this high traffic area is the ideal candidate for a hardwood luxury makeover.
The kitchen is a room where spots and spills will be falling to the floor at all times, making it the perfect environment for solid hardwood flooring. Easy to re-sand and finish, the floor will stay looking fresh for many years. Large expanses of hardwood flooring across open plan areas such as kitchen-diners are elegant in the extreme, giving an impression of endless floor space and a unique airiness. With hardwood flooring there is no need to sacrifice good looks for practicality as they both come in the same package, making it a wise choice for areas where muddy children and dogs may happen to congregate!
It is clear that bespoke carpet and hardwood flooring both make fine luxury choices for upscale interiors. The rooms in any house are instantly elevated by the addition of luxury flooring of great craftsmanship and the daily pleasure gleaned from this should not be under-estimated...