Celia Rufey answers your tricky carpet questions

Looking for carpet advice for your living room, bedroom, hallway or bathroom? Decorating expert Celia Rufey answers your niggling questions on everything from carpet cleaning to carpet installation

Which patterned carpet will complement our furniture?

1/12 I have a room furnished with antiques. Can you suggest carpets with small patterns?

carpets with small pattern

(Image credit: TBC)

Trellis-patterned carpet was popular in living rooms in the 1840s and has a track record of working with antique furniture. Good ones to try are: Castillion (below), which comes in 20 colours and costs £41.50sq m, from Victoria Carpets; Regina Trellis, in 12 colours, £67.50sq m, from Brintons; and Designers’ Choice Trellis, nine colours, £73sq m, from Blenheim CarpetsStark Carpet has many designs in its Brussels weave; choose from Aniston, in three colourways, and Danbury, in nine, all costing £114sq m.

2/12 Find a runner to fit a Victorian staircase

victorian staircase

(Image credit: TBC)

The time has come to replace a worn stair runner in our Victorian house. The existing one is only 50cm wide and has an oriental design. It?s secured bystair rods. Do you know of a company that supplies this type of pattern in that width?

The standard width for stair runners is 67 to 70cm, but a Belgian company, Louis de Poortere, can weave a 50cm-wide oriental runner as a special order for a minimum 25 metres. Contact the UK agent, 01505 615663, to find out if this could work for your stairs. If thestair rod brackets can be re-positioned, another possibility is the 57cm-wide stair runners woven in traditional patterns in the Netherlands, which cost £89m from Ollerton Rugs & CarpetsFleetwood Fox can weave most of its flat weaves to a narrow width such as 50cm with a 7m minimum order, for £102m. Stair runners in natural matting were used in Victorian houses and, with an applied border, can be ordered in any width from companies such as Crucial Trading (above) and Alternative Flooring.

3/12 Replacing carpet with a stair runner

carpet with stair runner

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jan Baldwin)

I'd like to replace some worn stair carpet with a striped runner and have it meet plain neutral carpet on the landing. Will this work visually and be easy to fit?

This is often done and the suggested point to finish the runner is under the nosing of the top stair, with the landing carpet coming over to meet it. If this is not possible, take the runner over the top nosing to the carpet; you may need a treadplate to cover the join. If your landing carpet is cut pile, choose a pile runner rather than a flatweave. Look for a design that includes the neutral tone of the carpet, such as the cut and loop pile Pisa Grey, Bath Smoke or Commonwealth Slate; all £115 linear m from Roger Oates.

4/12 Suitable carpets for hallways

carpet with hallways

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Luscombe-Whyte)

I've been told I need a heavy-duty carpet for my hallway and landing, but I don't know exactly what I should be looking for. Can you help?

carpet that's labelled 'Heavy Domestic' or 'Extra Heavy Domestic' should be able to cope with the high traffic of busy areas such as a hall and landing. To be certain the carpet has been rigorously tested, look for the Carpet Foundation Quality Mark. A carpet containing around 80% wool and 20% nylon is more resilient and less prone to flattening than other types, as nylon fibres are extremely hard wearing. Don't scrimp on underlay, as a good-quality version will prolong the life of the carpet even more.

5/12 Affordable striped carpets for children’s rooms

striped carpets with cabinets

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Everard)

Can you help me find a stylish, budget-friendly, striped carpet for my daughters' playroom?

wool carpet will look good for longer and is easier to maintain. Vogue by Brockway Carpets and Rock 'n' Roll from The Alternative Flooring Company are both striking designs and both are priced at under £50 sq m. Carpet prices vary from one retailer to another, so call the manufacturer for local suppliers and contact each one for a quote.

6/12 Restoring an old carpet

living room with curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Jon Baldwin)

Having shifted a heavy piece of furniture, I've found the wool cut-pile carpet beneath its feet is crushed. I tried vacuuming but it didn't bring up the pile. Is there a way to restore it?

One of the benefits of wool as a carpet fibre is its ability to recover. Fill a steam iron and, with the iron hovering over the area of carpet to be treated, direct steam on to the crushed pile and tease it up with a blunt darning needle. The steam relaxes the pile, allowing it to recover. The only reason this might not work is if the backing of the carpet has also been distorted by the weight of the furniture, which is less likely on a woven carpet than on a tufted one. In this case, even if the pile is restored, the backing can remain deformed. With heavy furniture, it's always a good idea to spread the load by fitting furniture shoes.

7/12 Looking for stylish threshold bars


(Image credit: Future PLC/RGB Digital)

We have recently ordered a new stair carpet which meets wooden floor and ceramic tiled floors at either end. The only threshold bars I can find look cheap and shiny. Can you suggest a more stylish product?

Threshold bars in stainless steel and a satin chrome called Nisheen (above), as well as Antiqued Brass and Bronze, are made by CAT, and cost from around £25 each. The Posh range of threshold bars from Stairrods, comes in polished and antiqued brass, from £23.50 each, and the Joints range in bronze, satin nickel, pewter or chrome finish, costs from £21 each. For solid wood threshold bars including oak, beech and ash as well as stained finishes, from £9.50 each, try Treadplates.

8/12 Suitable carpet colour for stairs


(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

Can you suggest the best carpet colour for concealing the wear and tear caused by our active young sons?

Mid-tones are the most practical; dark colours highlight bits and light ones show marks. Choose an 80 per cent wool (the most naturally resilient fibre), twist pile in a heavy domestic quality. Halls and stairs take punishing wear from outdoor footwear, so look for a mid-tone grey-brown or green-brown. For a wide range of carpet colour shades, visit Cormar Carpets and Victoria Carpets.

9/12 Stretching loop-pile carpet

sofa with cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/Darren Chung)

The chunky loop-pile cream carpet I planned to lay in my living room only comes in a 4m width, and the room is only 4cm wider than that. As the shortfall is so small, I was wondering if the carpet could be stretched to fit, or what other options you might suggest?

Loop-pile carpet is usually tufted, not woven, and has a secondary backing of jute. Jute is very dimensionally stable, so if the carpet is over-stretched, the backing is likely to rupture. You might get away with power-stretching the carpet if it was only 1cm too narrow, but even then it might jump free of the gripper rods and retract. You could select a similar carpet that is 5m wide and accept the wastage. Look at Cavailer Carpets and Ulster Carpets who both do cream carpets in this width. Or, you could try Ryalux, who have carpets that can be ordered in any width up to 5m, in 1cm increments, avoiding any wastage.

10/12 Laying stair runners round corners


(Image credit: Future PLC/Jake Curtis)

We would like to fit a striped stair runner on our new staircase, but it has a 180-degree bend and two half-landings. What will happen to the stripes when they reach a landing?

Roger Oates Design, which offers a wide range of stair runners, including flatweaves and Wiltons, suggests two ways to fit a runner to a staircase like yours with its two half-landings. The more traditional method is to fit the runner to the stairs and continue it across a small landing. Another section of runner laid in the opposite direction is fitted on top and this continues on to the next flight of stairs. The other, neater, method is to use mitre joins. These are diagonal seams which are cut and sewn by hand. The runner is fitted as a right-angled turn on the landing, which allows the stripes to join and neatly follow the direction of the turn.

11/12 Carpeting a small room

sofa with cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton)

I am looking for a good quality silver-grey carpet. It could verge towards blue but mustn't be dark or sombre as the room it will be fitted in is small.

Grey is a neutral that always acknowledges some root colour. Companies which offer a good selection of greys include RyaluxCrucial Trading and Bill Nunn. The best way to choose is to collect samples of the various shades, lay them on the floor and see which looks best with the furnishings.

12/12 Best carpet for under rugs

living room with cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tom Leighton)

In our present house we have antique kelims on a wooden floor, and now we are moving to a house where the living room will be carpeted. Is there a particular type of carpet that works best under rugs?

When you walk on a rug laid over carpet, the carpet pile flattens and, as it springs back, the rug moves with it. There are proprietary rug underlays designed to check this tendency, and these are readily available where carpets and rugs are sold, but they are not always the answer. An informed choice of carpet will help. If you prefer a pile carpet, choose one with a dense pile but, better still, select a tightly woven, low-loop pile carpet. Carpet makers that supply these include Victoria CarpetsCrucial Trading and Abingdon Carpets.

Do you have carpet questions you'd like answering? Post them in the comments box below...


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.