Design Dilemma: Freshening Up Wall-to-Wall Carpet | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Freshening Up Wall-to-Wall Carpet

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Back in the 1970’s, wall-to-wall carpet was considered fashionable and hip. Check out any television show from that era and you’re likely to see a wall-to-wall carpet in at least one scene. Think of Mary Tyler Moore’s Minneapolis apartment.

Needless to say, tastes and styles have changed radically. Today, when confronted with wall-to-wall carpeting, many of us cringe. It seems dated, unhygienic, and then there’s always the concern about the chemicals used to manufacture the carpets.

Still, many of us are stuck with wall-to-wall whether we like it or not, especially if we rent. It’s much cheaper for builders and landlords to throw down wall-to-wall carpet than it is to lay hardwood, after all.  So is there anything you can do to change the look of wall-to-wall if you’re not loving the stuff?

1) Layer, layer, layer. Just because you’ve got one carpet doesn’t mean you can’t throw another area rug over it to add some interest. A sisal carpet, an oriental rug, a turkish kilim or maybe a flokati or shag rug adds instant texture, color and pattern to a wall-to-wall carpet. Rugs help to delineate and anchor various areas of your home (for instance, a living room conversation area, or a dining spot) while bringing in all sorts of new colors and textures that your old wall-to-wall doesn’t. A beautiful area rug instantly distracts from the bland, cookie-cutter feel that  wall-to-wall carpet often imparts.  One tip: when adding an area rug, consider the texture of your wall-to-wall. Obviously, adding another area rug on top of carpet won’t work as well if your wall-to-wall is has a high pile or lots of  texture. (Like shag). Secondly, when adding an area rug, make sure the rug is large enough to anchor your space and distract from the carpet. If the area rug is too small, it may actually draw more attention to your wall-to-wall.

Below, check out how a patterned area rug adds instant sizzle to what would otherwise be just a bland bedroom.

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Here, a patterned area rug of purples and deep burgundies instantly enlivens beige wall-to-wall. The area rug also works to anchor the sitting area. Suddenly, a standard apartment’s won some personality.

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2) Use more than just one area rug to give your room depth. Adding two, three or more area rugs to your environment lends an instant bohemian flare.  With so much going on, no one will even notice that you’ve got wall-to-wall carpet! Check out the two examples below.

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3) Paint your walls a strong color. One of the best ways to distract from the ugliness of a wall-to-wall carpet is to give a room a totally new focus. An easy way to do this is by painting your walls a bold color that then becomes the star player in the room. Below, an avocado green wall (complemented by a shaggy green area rug) completely distracts from gray wall-to-wall.

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4) Work with the color of your carpet, if you can stand it. Is your wall-to-wall carpet a hot pink, an electric blue, bright purple or a lime green? If you happen to be saddled with a brightly colored carpet that doesn’t exactly act as a neutral, make the most of it by making it seem that you intended it all. Invest in throw pillows, curtains, complementing area rugs that will work with whatever strange color you’ve got. Below a red wall-to-wall carpet looks fashionably mod when paired with red throw pillows, a complementing area rug, and a red mural on the wall.

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Parting words of advice: One reason wall-to-wall carpet has so many unpleasant associations is that in public places — motels, hotels, restaurants, etc — it is often very dirty. So keep your wall-to-wall carpet religiously shampooed and vacuumed to eliminate the grub factor.


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