Panache Interior Design owner Tracy Winthrop had a striped carpet runner cut to fit a wooden staircase. “They wanted to show off the wood but wanted some carpet; otherwise the noise level would have been terrible.” PHOTO COURTESY PANACHE INTERIOR DESIGN

Designers share expertise about rugs, wall-to-wall carpets

Think of rugs and carpeting for your home as scarves and wraps are for your person.

They can keep you warm, protect floors and reduce noise as well as pulling together a look.

But, like scarves, there are so many choices and things to consider with flooring.

Panache Interior Design, with offices in Blue Hill and Boston, can help you navigate.

“We offer a full service interior design and try to help people live better in their homes,” says owner Tracy Winthrop, an associate member of the American Society of Interior Designers.

“We do whole houses, rooms, color consultations or can help you with floor plans, either before or during building so you can end up with projects that meet your interior needs as well as exterior ones,” Winthrop said. “We also do lighting design. You can put together the most beautiful room and if it isn’t lit, nobody gets to see it.”

Before deciding on carpets or rugs, consider the amount of traffic the area will get and whether there are pets. Pet hair, muddy paws and other animal issues can be challenging when it comes to cleaning floors.

Winthrop likes to use rugs, depending on what her clients’ floors are like. Area rugs “are much more easily cleanable,” compared with wall to wall carpeting, she said.

“We don’t see houses with wall to wall everywhere,” she related. “We see more area rugs and sometimes large area rugs.”

Winthrop likes wool because it’s a natural fiber, resistant to stains and “wears like iron,” she said.

“You see a lot of trends, especially in catalogs, in terms of cotton rugs,” Winthrop said. “But they have limited wearability, so they’re not meant for high-traffic areas and certainly not meant for places that have pets.”

“There’s a lot of ways to do area rugs — they can be bound in contrasting colors,” she said. “They can have patterns. Some people like Orientals, but those seem to be less prominent these days. People are choosing more textured kinds of carpeting.”

Coastal Interiors on Water Street in Ellsworth offers full-service interior design.

“We can help you coordinate your entire home,” said owner and designer Lori Chase. “People can bring in their blueprints.” That way, the entire house is coordinated, from lighting to flooring to all the fixtures in between.

Or, Chase can help you choose new tile for a kitchen backsplash or fixtures for bathroom cabinetry. She has the largest selection of tiles in Maine, which represents just a portion of the two floors of carpeting, rugs, lighting, fixtures and textile choices available.

Chase said patterns are the big trend in carpet and rugs right now.

“Beautiful patterns on your floor instead of a plain rug,” she said. “And wools, people are going more for wools.”

Patterns “are pretty,” Chase said. “It’s more interesting. People are getting a little braver. People would come in and want a beige Berber because they wanted something they wouldn’t get tired of. But everyone gets tired of something after 10 or 15 years.”

Chase recalled a recent room she designed for a young girl, with nylon cheetah print carpeting and lime green chairs.

“It was really happy and pretty,” she said. The nylon carpeting is durable and easy to clean.

The split between carpeting and rugs for homeowners is 50/50.

“There’s a lot of wall-to-wall carpet in bedrooms,” Chase said. “If you’re on a second floor, it’s a great noise reducer.”

Carpeting “is quiet on the floor and soft and warm underneath. People in Maine appreciate warmth underfoot all year.”

Hardwood staircases also create noise.

For one of her recent clients, Winthrop had a striped carpet cut to fit a wooden staircase.

“They wanted to show off the wood but wanted some carpet; otherwise the noise level would have been terrible,” Winthrop said.

Just like the carpeting fit to size for a staircase, if you see carpeting that you like, you can have a rug of any size cut from that carpet.

You’ll want to choose a binding for the edges so the carpet doesn’t unravel or fray.

“There are different kinds of bindings, wide, narrow, different colors, leather,” Winthrop said. “You can bind things in suede, although I’m not sure who would want to.”

Rugs are big at Richard Parks Furniture Gallery, which has two Hancock County locations, Ellsworth’s High Street and Route 3 in Trenton.

“We sell a lot of different types of rugs,” said owner Aaron Piacentini. Tufted wool and hand-knotted wool rugs are in demand.

But what’s especially popular right now are the “indoor outdoor” rugs made of a synthetic material called polypropylene. True to their name, you can use these rugs in an outside living space or inside your house.

These rugs can be vacuumed and cleaned or simply hosed off, Piacentini said.

“They used to be hard on the feet,” Piacentini said. “Now they’re very colorful and comfortable.”

Natural fibers, such as sisal and seagrass, are popular with Richard Parks’ customers too.

“Sisal is the most durable natural fiber, seagrass not as much,” Piacentini said. The natural fiber rugs are a “cottagey look. It’s kind of classic look. It never really goes out of style.”

Chase said a popular item for her customers is an indoor/outdoor rug that has been created to look like sisal.

“We do a lot of these indoors where people want the look of sisal,” Chase said. Because sisal is a natural grass, there’s no stain resistance to it.” Spill a bottle of red wine or a jar of spaghetti sauce on a sisal rug, it’s ruined, she added.

People like the indoor/outdoor sisal under a kitchen table.

“We’ve put them on yachts,” Chase said.

Customers also can choose any width of border they like with a sisal rug. Sometimes, they’ll pick a contrasting color for the border, Piacentini said.

Carpeting and rugs are important considerations for a home.

“They just add so much to the comfort level of a house,” Chase said.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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