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In our our latest DECOLab section in The Big Idea Issue 95, we tell you everything you need to know about the very latest in flooring. We show you that wall-to-wall carpeting has come straight back from the 60s in all its lush appeal.

For an even sexier look, play with carpet tiles. Cut modular tiles into different shapes (or buy pre-cut carpet tiles) and combine in herringbone-like or square arrangements.For a subtle colour effect, choose carpet squares and organise in strict symmetry  or random sequences.

TIME: A few hours up to a day depending on the complexity of the design, this includes preparation.

DIFFICULTY: Easy to Moderate, again dependent on the complexity of the design.

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Tools & Materials:
tape measure
long metal ruler
carpet knife
carpet squares
graph paper
coloured pencils, an easier alternative is numbering the carpet colours you chose to use in your design and then referencing the colour’s numbe in each shape on you layout drawing
stiff paper for templates
clean damp cloth

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Draw your layout to scale on graph paper and use one or two sheets to play around with designs you like.

To determine the area of your space, multiply the length by the width of the room. For more irregular shaped spaces it’s safer to mark off smaller areas and calculate them individually. Add up each of the area’s figure for your total.

Once you’ve chosen a design, draw baselines onto the sketch. These will be drawn onto the floor in chalk to act as a guide when you’re laying your cut carpet on the floor and sticking them down. Keep in mind that to accurately calculate how much of each colour you’ll need to buy, you’ll have to decide on which brand you’re going for as each brand has a different standard square measurement.

When arranging your layout, avoid leaving narrow strips along the walls. It looks messy and emphasises rooms that are not perfectly square. Leave at least a 10cm margin around the edges as far as possible. Also keep in mind that smaller sections should be towards the back of the room, rather than near the door. It’s best to start the layout from the door.

Your final drawing will determine exactly how much of each colour you require. When ordering or purchasing your carpet squares, add 10% extra for waste or miscalculations.

Carpet squares can be directly applied to cocrete, plywoods, chip boards as well as vinyl, tiles, laminate and most hardwood floors. With regards to hardwood flooring, keep in mind that the backing may discolour the floors over time. The flooring will have to be refinished if you wish to remove the carpets at a later stage.

Also important is to conduct a moisture test before carpeting concrete floors, they are available at most home or hardware stores. If the moisture content is too high, the concrete needs to be sealed and cured for at least 90 days prior to carpet application.

Floating floors and existing flooring needs to be solid, dry and secure. Any loose sections need to be secured with screws while damp areas need to be replaced. This is also the perfect opportunity to fix any squeaks in the floor.

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1. Carefully prepare your pre-decided shapes by cutting them out using a carpet knife, carpet knives cut more precisely than the usual utility knife as it is significantly sharper. Cut on a smooth surface, preferably not on a wooden surface as the grain of the wood may pull the blade the intended course.

Tip: Make use to the stiff template paper to guide each different shape chosen to ensure they’re consistent in size and proportion.

2. Prepare the floor by ensuring it is completely free of dirt and dust as well as completely dry. A vaccum is usually the best way to ensure less dust resettles on the floor. A damp cloth will catch any leftover particles.

3. Using your sketch as a guide, decide wheere you’ll draw your chalk baselines. Keep them as close to the centre of the room as possible as they guide the entire installation.

4. Layout your prepared carpet shapes tightly together as they will be when installed without fixing them to the floor just yet. Note whether your margin sections are broad enough (at least 10cm as mentioned above) to look visually effective and whether all the cuttings fit seemlessly together. If not, this is the perfect time to make necessary adjustments and reposition the baselines to better centre the layout.

5. To install the squares, start at the intersecting baselines and work your way outwards. Peel each shapes film back and press down firmly against the previous shape being careful to make sure there are no gaps or shape irregularities. Check and double check as you move outwards leaving the bordering shapes for absolute last.

6. Cutting carpet to fit around outside corners, archway walls and doorjambs is the most challenging part of the job. Don’t adhere the bordering  shapes until you’ve trimmed them perfectly for the edges and corners, you need to be 100% sure. The template paper comes in handy to mimic the shape of tight corners and doorjambs. Cut carefully to avoide excessive waste or over-trimming. Once you’re certain they fit, add adhesive strips to the edges (two meeting for the corner shapes) to ensure the border is secure where it meets the walls.

NB: Adhesive strips are usually included in the boxes but be sure to check for these before hand. 

7. Once your floor is installed, vacuum it well and scan the enitre area for tiny gaps. These can be easily filled with tiny slivers cut of matching coloured pieces, these small cuttings are not visible as the carpet grain blends.




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Compiled by Stefanie Lee Titus