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Homes reverting to softer floors

Carpeting comeback

August 18, 2011
By ADELLE WHITEFOOT - Journal Staff Writer and The Associated Press , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - After years of being ripped out and kicked to the curb, carpet is making a comeback. And not just the neutral-toned carpets of recent years, but ones that are boldly colored or patterned.

Recently, Mathew's Floor Fashions in Marquette has been selling a lot of hot pink-colored carpeting, said Mike Golisek, showroom manager at Mathew's.

"We've recently done four or five bedrooms in the hot pink for (customers') daughters' bedrooms," he said.

Article Photos

This photo courtesy of Michael K. Wilkinson for Bossy Color shows a room designed by Annie Elliott. After years of being ripped out and kicked to the curb, carpet is making a comeback. And not just the neutral-toned carpets of recent years, but ones that are boldly colored or patterned. (AP photo)

But even with selling so much of the hot pink, neutral colors are still popular, too, according to Golisek. With neutral colors mostly being used, people are going for more textured patterned carpets, he said.

"People are going less for solid plushes and more toward the tweeded textured look," Golisek said.

He estimated that 70 percent of homeowners are going back to carpeting in bedrooms and other similar rooms and the remaining 30 percent are sticking to hardwood flooring, usually because of allergies.

Part of the reason for the shift back is the softer, cozier feel of wall-to-wall carpeting is appealing to homeowners accustomed to treading on tile and wood, said Emily Morrow, director of color, style and design for Shaw Floors, a company in Dalton, Ga., that specializes in carpet, laminate, tile and hardwood flooring.

"They've experienced those hard surfaces, and they want to surround themselves with the comfort" of carpet, she said.

While hardwood or tile can be great for entryways or other high traffic areas, some rooms - including bedrooms, play rooms, studies and family rooms - cry out for carpeting, said Eric Ross, an interior designer in Franklin, Tenn.

"Carpet is really trending up," he said. "You're going to see more and more of it."

Manufacturers have responded by creating carpets with rich colors, patterns and textures designed to be a focal point, rather than just a neutral backdrop. The new choices are available at a variety of price points.

"It has gotten exciting again" after years of playing it safe, Morrow said.

Clients are using carpet to make a statement, agreed Linda Merrill, an interior designer in Duxbury, Mass.

"If carpet is the right choice for a specific space, they feel freer to pick something a little more exciting," she said. "There are a lot of different colors and different options."

More vibrant carpets often create a more customized feel, Merrill said. With the slumping real estate market, homeowners are indulging their personal tastes and worrying less about how their choices will affect the resale value of their home, she said.

Some of the over-the-top ideas from television shows also have freed people to experiment more with decorating, she said. And the pervasiveness of patterns and bright colors in house wares and home furnishings in recent years has made people more open to color.

"We see so much pattern in so many things," Merrill said. "We're just bombarded with it."

The bold choices signal a shift away from the neutral palette that dominated earlier in the decade, said Annie Elliott, an interior designer in Washington, D.C.

"In the past several years, we've been moving away from subtle muddy tones to brighter colors and bright patterns," Elliott said.

She has found that homeowners sometimes make bold flooring choices because they are less confident decorating their walls.

"People don't trust themselves" to buy art, she said. "People are realizing an easier way is using a patterned carpet to enliven a space without putting pressure on the walls."

Those who are hesitant to choose a patterned carpet often create an impact with a textured one, said Jennifer Bardsley, an interior designer in Hingham, Mass. Those carpets, created by using yarns of different lengths or densities, can spice up a space and add more interest to a room.



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