The beauty that lies beneath...

Last Updated 26 November 2015, 18:33 IST

The Internet has opened up a gamut of choices for those who would like to enliven their homes with carpets and rugs. There are many retailers who offer the latest and most popular varieties to choose from.

There is a mind-boggling variety of shapes, sizes, types, colours, and designs, when it comes to carpets. In the earlier years, bamboo mats served not only as decoration, but for seating guests as well. These days, we do see such mats hung on the walls as decoration, but they are not much in use — which is a real pity, as it is a natural and pleasing material that lasts long and is easy to maintain.

Most homes sport some type of carpet — from the most expensive Persian/Turkish/Kashmiri carpets to inexpensive, functional ones. These are used not only to enhance aesthetics and decor as part of interior decoration, but also to serve the functional aspect of keeping one’s feet warm and cosy, especially in cold weather conditions. It also enhances the comfort and elegance of the interiors.

There is wide choice available in the carpet market today: from the hand-crafted designer carpet to the semi-automatic loom-made carpet, the ‘tufted’ type, which is mass produced on a loom that is easy on the purse. A wide variety of carpets that are available are either woven or knotted. Most of them are made on looms just like woven cloth. The materials could vary from acrylic, polyester, wool, silk, or be blended with materials like nylon. Wool has good durability, which is further enhanced by blending it with nylon. Also, wool is available in abundance and is easily dyed. This is the original carpet fibre and is the most expensive.

A carpet design could be very simple or decorated with the most exquisite designs that have charmed generations as found in the ancient carpets made in Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan. These reflect the culture and traditions of those places which are well-versed in the design and manufacture of carpets since ancient times.

Our own Kashmir carpets, ranging from simple to artwork and designer types, have become famous and are in much demand, domestically as well abroad. Prayer mats are not only functional, but give a touch of piety as well.

To each his own

The choice of a home carpet depends upon one’s taste and budget. A few homeowners go to great extents to decorate their homes with the most expensive and attractive carpets that they can afford.

Most carpets last a lifetime, barring unforeseen circumstances like fire and rodent damage. Some carpets are meant specifically for outdoor use and some come in stain-resistant varieties too.

Some owners of precious carpets, which become heritage and would be passed on from one generation to another, feel maintenance of these carpets is a problem. Care must be taken to see that these are dusted/vacuumed regularly and surface brushed off to keep the surface clean and healthy.

A carpet in a residential home shows the personality of the owner. One might prefer a simple design while others want a carpet with a motif or a story to tell. Often, a carpet becomes a national pride that enhances the brand image.

Carpets today are transforming into a state-of-the-art decor item, with a harmonious blend of aesthetics and functionality. It would be desirable to consult an interior decorator before investing in a  carpet for a specific area like drawing room, study and bedroom. There are the traditional ones, gypsy kind, fancy ones sporting geometrical designs, and hand-woven varieties that have the power to enliven any living space.

It would be a good idea to start with looking around for good deals and bargains. However, it’s better to buy a carpet from a reputed store and that too of a well-known brand. That way, there’s some guarantee for the quality and durability of the product.

(Published 26 November 2015, 16:06 IST)

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