Trending now in the carpet world: natural fibers, color

The Washington PostMarch 22, 2013 

Seagrass is one of six colors for Stark Carpet's Pecola sisal carpeting.


As creative director for Stark Carpet (, Ashley Stark Kenner draws from fashion trends and translates them into luxurious carpets. She recently chatted with readers and answered their questions at

Here is an edited excerpt.

Question: Please comment about the kind of rugs to put in powder rooms, baths and hallways. What is the trend? In a center hall Colonial, where the hardwood shows scuffs, is a runner appropriate? Is it seasonal? Also, where to have area rugs cleaned?

Answer: In a powder room, I would recommend a sisal or natural fiber rug — you can never go wrong with those.

I would stay away from putting a rug or carpet into a bathroom because of the moisture. The rug will rot and mold. I would stick with a simple bath mat. If you are trying to hide an unattractive tile, the only solution would be an indoor/outdoor rug.

I see the trends for powder rooms either being a sisal or a vintage Oriental rug.

As for hallway runners, they are always advised to help protect your floors and provide comfort and a sound barrier. A runner is not seasonal and can look great year-round.

You should be able to find a reputable rug cleaner in any city; just look for online reviews before choosing.

Q: What do you see the big color trends being in carpeting? I'm tired of neutrals.

A: While neutrals are timeless, color has made a big comeback in the fashion and home industries. At Stark this coming season, we have some incredible stronger-colored rugs and carpet. You may have read that Pantone has named emerald green the color of the year. To complement that color we recommend more neutral tones to balance out the strength and impact of the green. Other colors such as navy and gray have been hugely popular.

Q: I'm about to redecorate my living room and can't decide whether to use a carpet or area rug. I have wood floors that are OK, but I don't love them. Do you think I should cover the whole floor or redo the floors and use an area rug?

A: There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It's a personal choice. I use both wall-to-wall and area rugs — it depends on the project and budget. You might consider a sisal wall-to-wall and then layer an area rug over it for a punch of color or to add depth to the room. If budget is a concern, you could go with a very large area rug that would cover almost all of the wood floor. I would recommend keeping a minimum of 1 foot of wood border all the way around.

Q: Do you have some specific suggestions for the pads we should purchase for wall-to-wall carpet? I live in a fairly rural area and find that salespeople here are not well-trained. There's a lot of information on the Internet, but there must be some basic criteria.

A: We at Stark recommend a 40-ounce pad for wall-to-wall carpeting.

Q: Stark has some incredible sisal rugs. What's the best way to incorporate this style into a room?

A: Thank you. Sisal is great because it is so versatile. You can incorporate it into most any room. It can help balance very formal rooms by grounding them. And in more casual settings it can give a very tailored clean look. Some people like to add an area rug over the sisal giving a layered look, which is very popular right now.

Q: What type of carpeting/rug would you think is best for a nursery? We want something soft enough so the baby could be on the floor itself, I think. Which should be done first, flooring/ carpeting or painting the walls?

A: Definitely paint the walls first so you don't ruin the carpet. The best thing is to put wall-to-wall wool carpet in a nursery. I recommend that to all of my friends and clients because there is no danger of a child tripping on the edge of a rug. Also, wool is the best option because it can be easily cleaned and is very soft.

Q: Which rug styles or patterns do you recommend for enhancing a small space?

A: A large-scale pattern in a small room can make the room appear larger. Also, depending on your light situation, color can help enhance the space. People tend to think a dark color will make the room seem smaller, but actually it can help give the space depth.

Q: How often should you have your good carpets professionally cleaned?

A: I would recommend professionally cleaning good carpets and rugs once a year or when soiled. Do not try to spot clean — always call a professional.

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