The beginners guide to hard and soft flooring

The trends, benefits and technology.

If you’re looking to buy a new property or renovate your current home, flooring is usually one of the first things that comes to mind when you’re designing an interior scheme. The decision between hard and soft flooring can be a tough one, especially if you have a young family or pets to consider. The kind of flooring you choose also needs to have timeless style so it doesn’t date too quickly, be robust, easy to care for and still look good on a day to day basis.

BHG spoke to the flooring professionals, Anthony Carter, the Carpet Court National Product Manager, and Samantha Shaw, the Brand Communications Manager at Choices Flooring, to get their expert tips and advice on both hard and soft flooring.

Anthony Carter is an expert in all types of flooring, and as the Carpet Court National Product Manager, he has insider knowledge about all the latest flooring trends.

What are the trends taking over soft flooring right now?

Anthony says that colour and texture has returned in a big way to soft flooring trends. He explains that while neutral colours in carpet and flooring are always safe, a dash of colour can have a big impact on your space.

“We are seeing contrasting colours and tonal styling with blush pinks and rich saturated indigos, as well as a return to natural timbers, earthy greens and organic surfaces in interior styling,” says Anthony.

“Texture is also a trend,” says Anthony. “Wool carpet with dual tonality and chunky textured loop pile provides visual interest, especially in a minimalist space. These kinds of textured carpets not only create a relaxed, stylish look but are soft and won’t lose their structure under moderate footfalls.”

How has technology influenced soft flooring options?

“Synthetic fibres for family and pet-friendly homes and low maintenance flooring, advanced technologies have allowed for synthetic carpets to have superior resistance to spills and fading, as well as be durable and allergy-friendly,” says Anthony.

“We are also becoming more conscious of our environmental footprint, which has seen the demand rise for eco-friendly flooring options,” says Anthony. “For example, our Mountain Chalet range is constructed from a renewably sourced biopolymer using natural corn sugar, known as Triexta. Triexta carpets carry a significantly lower environmental footprint than regular polymer carpets, making them an ideal option for those seeking a sustainable flooring solution.”

What is your advice for keeping soft flooring in tip top condition?

“Preserving your carpet’s good looks can be achieved with proper maintenance and cleaning,” says Anthony. “The basic rules of thumb include..”

  • Regular vacuuming:Vacuum your carpet thoroughly at least weekly and more frequently in high traffic areas. This will remove soil and grit before it works its way below the pile surface, where it’s far more difficult to remove and can roughen the carpet and dull its appearance. I also recommend using a quality vacuum cleaner – fitted with microfilter systems, as they ensure fine particles (such as dust mite allergens) are removed and stay in the collection bag or cannister.
  • Routine professional cleaning:Professional cleaning at regular intervals (every 12 to 18 months) is recommended by the manufacturers.
  • Remove spills and stains as soon as they occur:To avoid penetration of a stain into the carpet fibres, attend to food and beverage spillages and stains as soon as they occur. Use a blunt knife or spoon to scrape up the spillage, blot up residual liquids by applying pressure with paper towels. Using a dabbing motion, always work from the outside of the stain towards the middle to avoid further spreading. The stains can then be treated solely with cold water immediately, and press dried with a paper towel. If a stain remains once dry, repeat the water cleaning process until no stain is evident. If stains fail to respond adequately to treatment, call a professional carpet cleaner. Remember, never rub or scrub the stain as it can result in ‘fuzzy’ carpet areas and don’t use household cleaning products to clean the carpet as they may make the stain worse.
  • Use mats and rugs:Place mats at all exterior doorways and entrances to carpeted areas to trap dirt and moisture.

What are the benefits of soft flooring?

“Carpet has a host of benefits over its hard flooring counterparts, including:”

  • Comfort:There’s nothing better than the added comfort and luxury of soft beautiful carpet underfoot.
  • Safety:Carpet can soften accidental falls, so is a great option for homes with young children.
  • Style:With endless colours, patterns and piles, carpet can completely change and enhance a room’s style.
  • Hygiene: Contrary to popular belief, a properly cared for carpet can create an environment that has less dust and is better for allergy sufferers than hard floors! This is because the carpet fibres trap the dust and stop it circulating endlessly in a room, allowing the dust to be vacuumed up.
  • Noise:Being a source of insulation, carpet also works as a sound barrier.
  • Warmth:Carpet provides thermal resistance, so it will assist in maintaining warmer room temperatures longer than other types of floors.

Samantha Shaw is the Brand Communications Manager at Australia’s largest carpet and flooring retailer, Choices Flooring. As such, she has some expert insight into the benefits of hard flooring, and the trends that are taking off right now in interior design.

What are the popular trends in hard flooring right now?

Samantha says that robust flooring options that are high on style are particularly trendy right now, and that water resistance is a feature many people are gravitating towards.

“Our Abode Collection is particularly popular and features timber designs. It’s exceptionally resistant to scuffs, scratches and stains and is 100 per cent waterproof,” says Samantha.

Layering rugs on hard floors is a great way to add colour, patterns, and texture to a room, and Timber Flooring will always be on trend, featuring distinctive natural grains Choices Floorings Plantino Engineered Oak Elemental brings timeless character to any home. 

The chevron pattern is also very trendy right now, and timber flooring will always be on trend and brings timeless character to any home.”

What is the best way to keep hard flooring in perfect condition? 

“For timber, sweep and vacuum as often as necessary to remove any loose dirt before it can scratch the floor, and be sure to vacuum before washing your floors,” says Samantha.

“For laminate and vinyl, don’t use abrasive cleaners, steel wool or scouring powder on your floor and never wax or polish your floors.Additionally, you should never use a stream mop on your floors.”

 What are the benefits of hard flooring?

Samantha says that hard flooring is a popular and stylish option for homes that require robust and low maintenance  flooring. The benefits include:

  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Hard wearing
  • Low maintenance
  • Allergy friendly
  • High quality look

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