In the 2017 world of contemporary flooring carpeting is ever softer. Wood is becoming more roughed-up. And vinyl is getting more luxurious. Yet these are far from the only flooring products that are drawing consumer attention. Ground Rules is the annual Habitat focus on what’s hot underfoot.

Home improvement market researchers in the US recently revealed that flooring is set to experience the biggest increase in investment, with an average of 29 percent of homeowners intending to spend in this category in 2017. This followed closely by the bathroom and kitchen sector – both 27 percent.

In SA today the options for floors are vast. Choices may depend in the main on the architectural / interior signature, but function and intended use should also figure in the selection. The spectrum includes: stone, marble, travertine, porcelain and ceramic tiles, terracotta clay, quartz / stone / resin compounds, stainless steel, solid timber, wood laminates, wood / rattan / bamboo composites, simulated wood laminates, coir, sisal – and soft floors such as: carpeting, carpet tiles, rugs and modern-day luxury vinyl.

Helen de Villiers of KZN-based Belgotex Floorcoverings – on the right floor for the intended usage: ‘Floors are versatile foundations that not only define style / lifestyle but should also be fit for purpose in terms of function, not fashion alone. So begin with the interior, its usage and how much traffic is expected. Certain types are best suited to particular areas, for instance, carpets are better in bedrooms and lounges, whereas vinyl may be preferable in wet areas such as kitchens or bathrooms. Consider the relative importance of style and comfort vs convenience and maintenance. Carpets trump other floor types when it comes to underfoot comfort, texture, warmth and layering, but if convenience and maintenance are key concerns, waterproof and scuff-resistant vinyls may be a moot choice.

‘Carpets remain very popular in commercial application because of their acoustic benefits, improved indoor air quality and underfoot comfort; and they are more environmentally friendly than ever before.’ So says VanDyck’s Liz Myakayaka who refers to a wide range of eco-friendly carpets with fibres that are sourced from PFE Extrusion, a sister company that is committed to environmentally friendly processes and is ISO 14001 accredited. Both companies also focus on minimising waste, reducing energy usage, emissions and the use of hazardous materials.

She adds: ‘We’ve also introduced a number of products to respond to the current industry trends, most of which are locally manufactured, offering bright colours in different sizes, which can add striking highlights to what could be a dull floor. Our new Optimum Collection consists of three new ranges manufactured in our ISO 14001 accredited factory. It’s a heavy commercial carpet tile collection that offers multi-directional designs and adds creativity to the floor.’

Tactile Resilience

In the current era of popularity for wood flooring or an effect (authentic, laminate, veneered, simulated luxury vinyl and wood-look tiles) there remains a defined place for carpeting, albeit mostly for bedrooms and other low traffic areas.

Designers globally are united around the assumption that in this age of technological development there are no impossible aims; for each project there is a solution and every small or large problem can be resolved. The advance in recycling technologies makes possible the reuse of vast amounts of plastic and other man-made fibres. So carpets are becoming more environmentally friendly, and as per this international R&D certain local manufacturers are creating fibre combinations that take softness to a whole new level. There is a global focus on making carpets that are green and in the US leading manufacturers are recycling nylon into carpeting, while others melt down polyesters to create new fibres – a process which can occur more than once in some cases.

The development of softer textures is a cutting-edge trend due to a surprising return to luxury carpeting. Some 2017 examples are exceptionally soft; these include carpets made with multiple synthetic fibres – another burgeoning global direction.


Often a handmade rug becomes the central piece of an interior décor composition. This because they are colourful, attractive and create a strong statement through design, composition and texture. The latest cirrus-like rug designs offer solutions that are capable of breaking the borders of the imagination. Recently, such motifs and soft tones inspired by nature have emerged as a strong creative statement, a lasting trend in contemporary rug design. Wool and silk and other natural fibres create abstract patterns in watercolour effects and are the most expressive and intriguing examples of this trend.

Paco Pakdoust of Paco Rugs is a designer / manufacturer of very high-quality rugs, woven in Nepal and sold globally. He comments: ‘Our latest designs are more in the contemporary abstract art direction and this allows us to use a wide selection of fibres to achieve the best execution in terms of textures. Through blends of wool, silk, linen, nettle, viscose and hemp we’re able to produce more of these complex abstract designs; and we’ve always executed our most intricate designs through collaborations with artists over the years.’

Darren Postan of Casarredo imports designer rugs; he says: ‘These rugs are manufactured in 100 knot Tibetan weave quality, i.e. 100 knots per square inch, using New Zealand semi-worsted wool. We also offer shimmer rugs and for these art silk and viscose are used in
the manufacture.’

For the full article see Habitat #260 July / August 2017 | Subscribe now