Walk Softly

If carpet were a relationship, it just might be the perfect one, softer to the touch than ever before yet rugged enough to stand up to life?s daily rigors.

Soft is the big word in carpet these days. New soft nylons, polyesters, wools and even eco-friendly carpets made from recycled plastic bottles, or from corn fibers go with America?s yearning for things warm and cozy and the barefoot comfort of an inviting home. ?If you?re concerned about wear, the new cotton-like fibers also make a great investment since they?re surprisingly tough.
The news gets even better. Designers and homeowners can choose from soft-handed styles in berbers, cut piles, patterns and solids at prices that fit any pocketbook, some with fibers treated to fight odors and stains as well.

While the phenomenal growth in hard surfaces like wood, laminate and ceramic tile has cut down on the amount of carpet going into America?s homes, demand for high end carpeting is still growing.

In terms of color, flooring experts are witnessing the rapid emergence of what they call natural tried and true neutrals ranging from shades of greys to browns to tans and creams.

Casual looks based on the resurgence of looser, homier carpeting?although not the three-inch shag from 30 years ago?are in style again. Color for these casual carpets tend to be highly regionalized. Each area has a different feel, some wanting more color than others. The West favors lighter colors melding into taupes while the Northeast shows a marked preference for stronger colors.

Want something a bit more formal? The classics with their conservative styling, based on reds, blues and blacks have returned for what is expected to be a long stay. People ware comfortable with these familiar colors and like the fact that they offer glamour without pretense.

On the very classic, high-end ?side of the trend is toward a combination of traditional patterns and colors with sophisticated elements like checks, tweeds, ginghams and stitch, in yellow, blue, lavender and soft green. Wool carpet features bright as well as soft colors with big designs.

If you want to express yourself, or are looking for a fresh color, think texture. Textures project the next highest level of personal style, warmth and comfort. That?s why high-twist and more color is popping up in berber.

If you?re like most of us, you?re buying less carpeting as you experiment with other flooring types. What a perfect time to step into quality carpet where you?ll find far more colors, patterns and styles than you may realize.