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The Alternative Blog

At Alternative we are often asked how to questions and we thought we’d compile an easy summer read with a few expert tips on how to dress your home when it comes to what flooring goes where and why. We have soft textured floor coverings suitable for all rooms in the home and even outside. What fibre where depends on the space and who lives there but the style is up to you!

How do you decide whether to have a rug or a fitted carpet?

Rugs and runners can go everywhere plus you can change as the season suits, store easily, and roll up and take with you!

Carpets are perfect for particular rooms where you want that unending softness, free from draughts and to keep dust at bay from floorboards…. no worries about placing furniture either and the sofa legs dilemma.

If you are investing in wall-to wall carpets the benefits of having a wool carpet over a man-made carpet is that it will perform and look beautiful for longer. A fitted deep pile luxe wool carpet in the bedroom is indulgently soft underfoot.

Here’s how one of our Alternative ambassadors, does it. The brilliant Kate Watson-Smyth creator of the award-winning Mad about the House blog.

“I love patterned wool rugs and have them in every room to soften the painted floorboards apart from my son’s bedrooms which are carpeted in a chunky textured wool – partly for the noise factor. “

Kate Watson Smyth at home with Quirky Spotty Damson on the stairs, a bespoke Wool Pebble Stade rug with Stripes Thick Grey border in her son’s bedroom and Quirky Zebo with Black Leather border rug in the living room.

How do you decide on the size of a rug for a room?

Generally, go big. A rug that is too small for your space can cause the room to feel uninviting. However, a rug which is too large for the room can make the room feel too busy and smaller than it actually is. Leave at least 40 cm either side of your sofa and make sure the front legs of your sofa sit on the rug.

Alternative Quirky Tartan To a Mouse rug and Plush Velvet White Jasper rug with a whipped edge

How to choose pattern or plain, or a bit of both?

The advantages of choosing a patterned carpet are well worth thinking about. Placing pattern on the floor gives an interesting focus and has a framing effect, which can make a space feel grander. Patterned carpets are practical as they don’t show the spots and spills. Quirky Deco by Divine Savages design that began as a runner is now newly available as a wool wall-to-wall carpet.

Alternative Quirky Divine Savages Deco Blush carpet

Light and plain carpets do keep a room feeling open and don’t detract from the décor. There are quite a few chic wall-to-wall carpet arbiters of style.  Louise Roe carpeted her new home in our off -white Wool Pebble Omaha and says, “It’s white, but it’s a beautiful light cream, which goes with pretty much any colour palette on the walls. I also wanted a thick weave; it feels so luxurious and gives a real texture to the rooms.” Louise Roe

Alternative Wool Pebble Omaha carpet as seen in Louise Roe’s home

How to decide on a pattern?

Smart stripes, in any width, are a brilliant way to make a room feel wider or longer, depending on which way the stripes are laid.  Our collaborator Margo Selby has clever stripes in different scales that can unite spaces.

Margo Selby Stripe Collection for Alternative Flooring

For a modern look, geometrics can also look fabulous, but keep the colours subtle to avoid it looking too busy.

Alternative Quirky – Ben Pentreath Collection

Softer patterns and colours are better for making a room feel larger, and darker ones to bring a large room in and make it cosy. Woosie has soft cotemporary palette where the interwoven fibres of the wool and sisal make three charming patterns.

Alternative Woosie Check collection

What materials work best where – are there rules for different rooms?

This very much depends on the foot fall and the look and feel you want to achieve.

Luxury deep pile wool carpets are fantastic underfoot in bedrooms as carpets and rugs but may not perform well in an area with heavy foot fall, such as on stairs or in hallways.

For traffic-busy stairs and hallways, a more tightly woven wool such as a boucle or Berber is preferable because it can be cleaned easily; or go for a carpet with a fleck in it, which hides a multitude of sins.

Before choosing a wool carpet for stairs, either as fully fitted carpet or as a bespoke stair runner, check the products suitability; not all wool carpets are suitable for stairs.

Sisal Herringbone Hockley stairrunner and Sisal Super Bouclé

Sisal a popular natural fibre option for medium domestic carpets because it’s so versatile and super hardwearing. As it’s expertly woven in different strand shades it often has a darker fleck in the carpet. It’s the hero of the hallways hiding tracked dirt, so it is ideal in this high-traffic spaces in the home. Sisal can be woven into many types of weaves in varying thicknesses.

How to find a carpet for bathrooms and kitchens?

Our ingenious Anywhere sisal-style flooring opens possibilities in the bathroom, kitchen and even outdoors. It’s hardwearing, easily cleanable and moth resistant and perfect as fully fitted carpets or as bespoke rugs and runners using the online Make Me A Rug service.

Alternative Anywhere

How to look after flooring?

Wool is durable and a doddle to clean. It looks luxe, feels incredible and bounces back likes nothing else. We always suggest that you opt to have stain inhibitor solution applied to your carpet or rug. The Intec solution we use is environmentally friendly, coats the fibres of the carpet or rug and gives you time if a spill occurs. Specialist cleaning advice is available from our cleaning partner WoolSafe who also advise on everyday spots and spills.

Natural fibre floorings such as sisal, seagrass and jute do not like water, and we suggest dry cleaning methods. We would recommend having one of our Natural Flooring Care Kits.

Cleaning Kit

How do you define flatweaves, loop-pile and tufted flooring?

Questions like this are helpful as it means we need to need to define the construction types and explain why we offer this choice.

Wool Iconic Herringstripe is called a flatweave as it does not have a huge amount of bouncy pile when you compare it to other styles of carpet. If you are considering a plainer wool carpet in larger rooms where possible only use these flat woven carpets in spaces where they can be installed in a single width of 4 or 5m widths.

We may not be quote ready for shag pile, but deep pile is popular.

Alternative Wool Iconic Herringstripe

Finally, a few words on wool…

Many collections celebrate the wonders of wool in fine and chunky textures. Wool is a wonder fibre: beautiful and breathable, easily cleaned and it retains its shape and bounce. An insulator and naturally flame retardant, a super textile for floors which lasts too.

Little People, Big Ideas campaign – Wool

Go online to learn more.

Under product information press on where to put me and the technical stuff.

You can even check out our FAQs.

01264 335111


  1. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say
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  2. Hello Kirsty,
    I really enjoyed this in depth post. Thank you for putting all of this information together. Do you suggest to have carpets in kitchen? I do not really suggest it to have it in your kitchen because a kitchen is a place for cooking and that really makes it so dirty! Imagine while cooking pasta you dropped the pasta sauce on the carpet by mistake, what will you do? Even after cleaning the carpet the stains will be left there. That is why I do not suggest to have carpet in your kitchen

  3. Thank you for your comment. Yes we would advise caution when using some of our floor coverings in a kitchen space for this very reason, however if you have one of our handy Natural Flooring Care Kits to hand you can attend to any spills and spots quickly and (hopefully) effectively. Alternatively, our Anywhere range of faux sisal look-a-like carpets would be a good option. These are woven to look just like a natural plant fibre floor covering but being made from 100% faux fibres means they are cleanable and can even be used in outdoor spaces. Take a look on our website https://www.alternativeflooring.com to find out more and to request samples.

  4. As someone who lives in Essex and is in the market for new carpeting, I found this blog post to be incredibly helpful. It’s great to see a local company like Carpets Direct highlighted for their expertise and commitment to quality. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Essex Carpet from friends and family, and I’m excited to visit their showroom to see their selection for myself. Thank you for sharing this valuable information!

  5. Adding carpets, rugs, and runners to your home is a fantastic way to elevate its aesthetic and create a cozy atmosphere. These versatile pieces not only provide warmth and comfort but also add texture, color, and style to any space. When dressing the home with carpets, rugs, and runners, consider the overall theme and color scheme of the room. Choose patterns and designs that complement the existing decor while adding visual interest. Additionally, pay attention to size and placement, ensuring the pieces fit well within the room’s dimensions and create a harmonious flow. With the right selection, you can transform your home into a welcoming and visually appealing haven.

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The Edit - home style by Alternative