Natural carpets more affordable

10/10/2008 12:00 AM

10/10/2008 5:19 PM

Are you a carpet person, or do you love hardwood floors?

I find that people fall into one of these two categories. Carpeting is a hot topic these days as we strive to make our homes more and more earth-friendly. Most synthetic materials are on the “out” list, although there are innovative breakthroughs that include recycling plastic bottles to make carpet fibers that meet the challenge.

Natural fibers like wool, silk and cotton, and carpets made from plant fibers (sisal and sea grass) and woven bamboo fibers are in the spotlight. If you are susceptible to common household allergies, then you should be aware of the materials that make up your decor, and it is a safe bet to opt for the most organic combination you can find.

For centuries, wool has been used to make carpets. Its natural properties keep us warm and dry under the most inclement circumstances.

Wool is naturally resistant to bacteria, mold and mildew and is ultradurable. There is no off-gassing with pure wool. These positive characteristics make a wool carpet downright essential, but the cost has put the luxury of wool broadloom out of reach for most of us.

Take heart, as higher petroleum prices are pushing up the price of synthetics and you may be surprised by how reasonable wool, or any of the natural fiber carpets, are becoming.

Cotton and linen share many of wool's assets. A soft cotton mat or area rug is luscious by the bed or in the nursery. You can check out products online, and should be able to find out if pesticides have been used in the growing process for cotton and linen and where the sheep graze. What kind of dyes and glues are present, and what's the quality of the carpet backing?

Broadloom is a great unifier and will always warm up a large space. It's soft and luxurious underfoot, and the color and pattern selection is vast.

Broadloom is very style conscious; there's a perfect fit for traditional, country and modern homes.

If hardwood is your choice, there's still room for an area carpet. Art on the floor is an exciting trend. Carpets rich in texture combine wool, silk and cottons with varying lengths of loops and organic tones.

For inspiration, have a look at the contemporary rugs online at Each is designed by an artist.

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