How much time do we spend looking down? People look down in search of lost coins, but do we focus much on what lies beneath our feet in our homes? If you find your floors attractive, there is no issue.
But that is not always the case. Newer apartments generally have carpet with a neutral tone, but loads of older places have genuinely awful flooring. The floor is often something to ignore if you are a renter. But that can prove to be daunting — you could be saddled with olive green carpet or mauve ceramic tile that was great in the 1980s but is hideous by current style standards.
Even homeowners must live with unappealing flooring from time to time. Not everyone who closes escrow on a home can afford to immediately change all of the undesirable details that do not appeal or go perfectly with their furnishings. With new construction, of course, one has the luxury of selecting all of the material choices.
If that isn’t the case, the reality is that sometimes you just have to find a way to live with flooring that isn’t your first choice.
When I bought my home, it had peach-colored ceramic tile — a holdover from another era — that clashed mightily with my preference for primary colors. The day a pipe in the floor burst was the happiest day of my life! We learned that the 8- by 8-inch tile was no longer made. That fact plus a little insurance money helped me persuade my husband that we needed to replace the tile entirely.
What can you do when you must live with something ugly?
One option in a small room is to cover up the offensive material. Check out FLOR. There are just 17 brick-and-mortar FLOR stores in the U.S., but the brand has an excellent web presence. Go to the website for examples of carpet tiles. The concept of gluing down carpet tiles comes to the home market from commercial use in offices where the foot-traffic patterns can become a problem long before the entire carpet needs replacement. You could easily cover an entire room with carpet tiles or leave a border of the permanent flooring and create a large area rug over the real floor. There are solids, stripes, floral patterns, graphic patterns and berber carpets — an enormous array of inspirational ideas.
This area rug produced by a British designer makes a statement in the space and reflects the softness of tree leaves. In a tiny living room, an 8- by 10-foot area rug can be enough. Know that most machine-made area rugs will be available in standard sizes, such as 4 feet by 6 feet, 5 feet by 7 feet, 6 feet by 9 feet, 8 feet by 10 feet, 9 feet by 12 feet, 10 feet by 14 feet and 11 feet by 17 feet. Handmade rugs often differ by inches from these standards depending on where in the world they are produced. But carpet tiles are so appealing because you can respond to a size that falls outside of these standards.
Consignment shops often take traditional area rugs. Don’t be afraid of purchasing a used rug. You can always have it cleaned. But be aware that the cleaning process for a Persian, Tibetan or Chinese rug can be a little expensive. If you are unsure about where to get a carpet cleaned, contact a store that sells such rugs. Sometimes they offer cleaning and repair services or are aligned with someone who provides the service for them. Small rugs or runners could be cleaned using cold water and a water-and-vinegar solution on your driveway. Be cautious when renting a carpet-cleaning machine because you could ruin a delicate rug by attempting to clean it yourself.
Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego based interior designer and author of “Small Space Living.” Send questions and comments to her by email at email@example.com.
To find out more about Christine Brun and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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