A time not so long ago, you would never have caught us creating a gallery on wall-to-wall carpet ideas. Our only advice on carpets tended to be rip them up, or cover them up, favoring a more... minimalist aesthetic. But, carpets are making a comeback and they are a whole different beast to the thinning, faded things we once associated them with.
There are so many options out there to suit all styles, from gorgeously sumptuous wool carpets to the minimalistic, rustic vibes of a natural carpet. And while staircase carpet ideas have never gone out of style, we believe you might take a bit of convincing on wall-to-wall. Consider this - they can be very practical choice. Pick the right type and carpets can be every bit as durable and hardwearing as our much-loved hardwood floors.
Need more convincing carpet is the flooring du jour? We asked some of our favorite designers to talk us through how they use wall-to-wall carpets in their projects, plus offer advice on what materials work best and where and what carpet trends to follow.
wall-to-wall carpet - back as a key flooring trend
1. Consider the practicalities
Wall-to-wall is a big investment, so before you go rushing out to buy living room carpet in the first material you fall for, consider the practicalities.
'It’s key to have the intended use of the room at the forefront of your mind when choosing a wall-to-wall carpet. What kind of feel do you want to create? How will the room be used? Is the space a reception area where you want to make a statement? Or a room you want to use as a retreat creating a calming and relaxed feel? Having that decision in mind as you choose your carpet will help to guide you towards the perfect choice for your space,' explains Jodie Hatton, Designer at Brintons.
'And consider how the carpets look at various times of the day when the light changes.' adds Julian Downes, managing director at fibre. 'Give yourself time to live with these swatches and make sure you will like them long term as a good quality carpet will not need to be replaced for years.'
'Always be thinking about what the room is used for. An entrance hall or stairs are high footfall areas so an easy-to-maintain compact wool loop or a hard-wearing tightly woven sisal boucle not only looks great but is practical too. In the bedroom and living areas, you may prefer to use a more open, softer weave and nothing beats the feeling of luxuriousness that a deep pile 100% wool carpet brings.' adds Julian.
2. Choose carpet with texture for an on trend take
You are going to notice a bit of a similarity between designer-approved carpets. Many are choosing to embrace this wall-to-wall interior design trend, with natural carpet materials. We are talking jute, sisal, seagrass, etc. Unlike solid carpet colors, these carpet types are really minimalist, adding texture yes, but otherwise, they almost act like a large rug that you barely notice covering the whole floor.
'The demand for wall-to-wall carpets has risen in recent years, although it has always been a popular choice for areas of relaxation. Often a solid-colored bedroom carpet can feel outdated, to avoid this we prefer to use textured carpet such as sisal, seagrass, or jute.' explain Jen and Marr, founders of Interior Fox (opens in new tab).
'Although they can be a little precious when it comes to stains, they are incredibly hardwearing and give a more luxurious finish to a room. Another great option for carpets is wool in a herringbone design, it adds an understated pattern and helps to break up larger areas. To finish, we often layer rugs on top of carpets, particularly a flat weave or short pile rug with a subtle design.'
3. Opt for plush wool to add a luxurious feel underfoot
'We love a plush wool carpet in bedrooms,' explains designer Katie Monkhouse (opens in new tab). 'In this case, we chose a warm neutral that would work easily with any decor palette. We then layered a decorative rug on top for a little protection and to add interest to the room. If you are layering an area rug on carpeting make sure to choose a rug with some weight and structure to it so it doesn't bunch.'
'Carpeting adds a lot of warmth and softness to a space. It also helps with sound dampening. In this home, the bedrooms are on the second floor so it was helpful to soften the sound of the 5 children running around up there!'
'In most areas, we would opt for 100% wool carpeting. Natural fibers are easier to clean and healthier to live with, however, you will get some pilling! We prefer a tight loop style vs. a pile carpet for a tidier look,' adds Katie.
4. Go bold with a patterned carpet
And you don't always have to play it safe with carpet. You'll notice a lot of carpet trends focus on the minimal but just like your walls, the floor can be the perfect place to add pattern, especially if space isn't an issue so you don't need to worry about overwhelming the room.
In this living room, designed by Natalia Miyar (opens in new tab), the carpet sets the color scheme for the whole space. That's why it works, sure there is a lot going on here with the living room carpet, the wall mural, plus that lovely texture of the exposed brick. But it all works because it sticks with that gorgeous beige, muted yellow, and blue color scheme set by the carpet pattern. It feels bold and contemporary and very on trend but still like a room that's lived in.
5. Use carpet to zone an open plan space
We are always suggesting using rugs to zone open plan spaces, but carpet can work much in the same way and is a much better option if you are working with a larger space as you aren't limited by rug sizes.
In this open-plan family home, designer Marie Flanigan (opens in new tab) explains, 'This young family needed a space to relax and call their own. With a design that was both unique and kid-friendly, it was essential to include something soft underfoot that would also anchor the room. To make the large room feel cozy, a wall-to-wall custom rug was designed to perfectly fit the space. An area rug was then added on top to delineate the seating area.'
6. Choose a subtle carpet that blends into the room
One of the reasons we have had a tendency to steer away from carpet in the past is that they are just too... noticeable. They often don't disappear into the background as easily as a hardwood floor wood and unless you want your flooring to make a deliberate statement, what we really want from a floor is for it just to go unnoticed.
However, see this bedroom carpet as the perfect example – pick the right material, and the right shade, and carpet can be as subtle and stylish as your hardwood floors. Plus you get the benefit of that added coziness and softness underfoot.
'I am a carpet convert.' says Livingetc editor Pip Rich. 'Admittedly I used to only opt for hardwood, but we've put carpets down in all the bedrooms in our house and I love the softness, and instant coziness they add, and of course, that's exactly what you want in a bedroom. Choose a luxurious wool carpet in a neutral shade like cream of grey and enjoy that feet sinking feeling.'
7. Use wall-to-wall carpet to expand a space
‘If you can, fully fit the carpet instead of using a rug.' suggest Camilla Clarke, Creative Director at Albion Nord (opens in new tab). 'Rugs can make spaces look smaller, fully fit the carpet to draw your eye to the edges of the room.’
You can see how it really works in this small beige living room. Stick a rug under all that furniture and that becomes the size of your room, however, take a simple, every so slightly patterned carpet right to the edges and you get that unused space that floats around the furniture back. You could then layer a smaller rug on top that sits within all the furniture say just underneath the coffee table if you wanted to add some extra pattern or color.
8. Experiment with wall-to-wall on your stairs
Want to just dabble in wall-to-wall carpets? Staircases are the perfect place. It's potentially the smallest surface area you could carpet in your home, and it's a transient space too, so you can get experimental as it's not like in a bedroom or a living room where you spend hours every day living with your design choices.
We'd say go bold. Be inspired by this fabulous 70s-esque print used by 2LG Studio (opens in new tab) and let your staircase be the focus of your hallway. Keep the rest of the space fairly neutral and it won't feel too maximalist. And think practically too, after all this area does see a lot of footfall – patterns in darker colors will help hide everyday wear and tear.
'Although we love a staircase runner as much as the next person, when using a patterned carpet, we love to go full width or wall to wall. It helps increase the impact and help it feel cleaner overall.' explains co-founder Russell Whitehead.
Is carpet back in style?
Yes! All these gorgeous ideas prove that wall-to-wall carpet is back on trend. And not only can it look chic in its more modern forms, it's a practical flooring choice too.
'Carpet is making a big comeback and rather than being an afterthought is now an integral part of a room.' says designer Abigail Ahern. 'It's plush, it's cozy and you can express your creativity from introducing patterns think geometrics and stripes to intricate patterns. Alternatively, you could opt for something more earthy and cocooning. It really depends on whether you want the floor to disappear into the background or be the main event.'
Kirsten Krason, co-founder of House of Jade agrees that 'Carpet has come a long in its durability and appearance which is why it can be considered a stylish option for many spaces. If you choose the right product it can be just as beautiful as wood floors which is why we do consider it to be making a comeback. We will always be fans of wool carpet. The natural color variation and tones are hard to match with synthetic materials.'
How can you make wall-to-wall carpet look good?
Let's assume this means you are stuck with a carpet you don't love, say in a rental or if you are working with a budget so having to live with it for now. The key to making a wall-to-wall carpet that's seen better days look good is to distract from it. Throw down a large area rug that's going to cover the majority of the carpet – make this a subtle design, something like jute or seagrass. This becomes your new 'carpet'. Then layer a smaller rug on top to create even more of the allusion that the bigger rug goes wall-to-wall.
Also cleaning. Give your wall-to-wall carpet a deep clean to give it its best chance. It might scrub up better than you think.
Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.
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