Carpet in the Lofts

September 30, 2013

Guest Loft

Images and text by Gabrielle.

Today, I’m thinking about carpet in the two little lofts we have.

One loft is in the home office. It measures approximately 7′ x 10′. A small space, but there’s a nice tall window that offers lovely light, and it’s just the right size for a double bed with a nightstand, and a place to set some luggage. So we thought it would be a good spot for a guest bed. And we have lots of guests coming this month — which makes a great excuse for sprucing things up!

reading loft

The other loft is in the family room. It measures a little smaller than the first loft — about 7′ x 9.5′, and it has two windows that offer really beautiful light as well. Our plan is to create a cozy reading spot here! And I have to say, at the moment, I think I’m more excited about creating this reading nook, than any other project in the house. It’s just the right kind of project. Bite-size, which makes it approachable and doable, but meaty too, because it has so much potential for being a wonderful, and useable space — a little getaway from the chaos that is sometimes inherent in a family of 8.

guest loft plywood floors

Right now, the floors of both lofts have plywood subfloor, and from the looks of it, the floors have never been covered before. So we can start from scratch.

Though I’m not planning to use carpet anywhere else in the house, I thought these little lofts would be a good spot for wall-to-wall. And because they’re so small, and you can’t really see them unless you’re in them, I keep thinking they would make a fun place to experiment, or use a bold flooring color or pattern that might not work in a bigger space. On the other hand, I may decide to go very neutral with the hope that it makes the spaces feel a little bigger.

One idea is to take advantage of the tinyness of the spaces and shop for a really luxurious remnant piece — something we wouldn’t be able to afford for a big room. Maybe even something in wool. Have you ever tried wool carpet before? Two bedrooms in La Cressonnière were carpeted in wool — I loved the way it felt underfoot, and it was easy to keep clean! If not wool, I’m not sure what we’d pick. I’d really like a natural fiber if possible, but I’m not sure what my options are.

Another idea is to use FLOR tiles. I’ve worked with FLOR on a few different projects over the years, and I love their philosphy, and their offerings! But I’ve never tried them for a wall-to-wall application, and I’m not sure how easy they are to trim to fit. Would we need a special tool to trim them to fit?

Of course, I could also skip wall-to-wall carpet and use a harder surface instead, and then layer on a rug. Hmmm. So many good options!

If you’ve done any carpet shopping lately, I’d love to hear what you’ve learned. Any favorite brands or styles? Have you seen anything particularly cozy out there that might be just right in the reading nook? Have you ever tried wall-to-wall FLOR ties? Chime in!

P.S. — This afternoon, we’re getting our first estimate on having our hardwood matched for the dining nook. Yay!

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1 jen September 30, 2013 at 2:32 pm

i just did both for our house recently.
i personally prefer wool carpets because it’s natural, bio-degradable thus better for the environment. i would highly recommend going with remnants. they are basically large pieces of leftover carpet rolls and for a room that small you’ll have more options. they are significantly cheaper than getting a custom cut. a local carpet store in the east bay is strauss carpets in alameda. great selection and amazing customer service.
i just also installed wall to to wall flor tiles in a tiny closet of mine. and it was super easy. you literally just need an exacto blade to cut to shape. what i liked about flor is that you can create your patterns and they have some of the brightest colors. i can’t imagine getting a bright orange carpet installed but you can with flor! i think it’s probably something about commitment. carpeting seems like a huge commitment especially since you need experts to install it. flor tiles, it’s so DIY and if you change your mind, they can easily be taken out and replaced! i love that about flor tiles. and depending on the type, i found that flor tiles are cheaper than area rugs.

2 Design Mom September 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Thumbs up for Strauss! We visited the Strauss shop in Oakland on Saturday, but we arrived about 5 minutes before they closed, so we didn’t have enough time to realize look around. Hopefully we’ll head back this week.

3 Jamie September 30, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Flor tiles are so easy to cut! A utility knife and a self healing mat are all I use. I’ve put down an area rug and am getting ready to do a 20′x20′ playroom with wall to wall tiles. I ordered just before they started to offer free shipping on every order which was a bummer. They have some really beautiful wool options. I worked with the Palo Alto store and came up with a crazy pattern for the playroom. The best part is that by working with them on the design, if I’m not happy they’ll rework it or replace tiles for free. That really sealed the deal for me.

4 Design Mom September 30, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Good to know! On the reading loft, the ladder emerges in the middle of the floor (instead of next to it), so I was especially concerned on trying to fit FLOR tiles around that opening.

I love hearing that it’s easy.

5 rachael September 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm

I’ll be a guest!! I could use a break from my hectic house, too :)

6 amyb September 30, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Can you stand up in them? That could matter for vacuuming a carpet.


7 Design Mom September 30, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Good question! Yes, we can stand up in them. But I’m thinking for vacumming, we may want to use something little like a Dustbuster (are those still around?). Especially in the guest loft where the carpet will mostly be covered by the bed.

8 Eliza September 30, 2013 at 8:13 pm

I’m sure there are many great brands that still make handheld vacuums (I have a Eureka stick vacuum that is okay), but my sister has a Dyson DC35 Multifloor handheld/cordless convertible vacuum in her small apartment and it works great on her wood and tiles for small messes with the handheld, and attach the handle for going over bigger spaces without hurting your back. She’s never tried it on thick carpet, but it works on her furniture and rugs.

9 Petra October 1, 2013 at 9:43 am

You could consider a roomba vacuum cleaner. It’s fairly small and not too heavy, so would be easy to carry up the loft stairs. Then just switch it on and let it clean! It’s great for cleaning under beds with its flat shape. I don’t have wall to wall carpets in the house, but it works fine on area rugs and all hard surfaces.

10 TracieMcOB September 30, 2013 at 3:41 pm

if you were to put wall to wall carpet, how difficult would it be to get a vacuum up there!? Just a thought….. :)

11 Robyn September 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm

We have a reading loft and LOVE it. We put in carpet and I’m glad – so very cozy for lounging leisurely. I went with a BOLD color remnant that I found. I would never have used it in a larger space, but in the reading loft I’ve loved it – the space is quirky, fun, and playful. Perfect for a the small and specific space that it is.

12 Kat September 30, 2013 at 3:54 pm

We did wall-to-wall FLOR tiles in my son’s tiny bedroom (about 5′x7). They were super easy to install and we just used and Xacto knife to trim them. It’s a bit of a weird shaped room, but it was still ridiculously simple (and I don’t have a DIY bone in my body — so you could do it in your sleep).

13 melissa September 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm

It might sound weird but I would make one of those lofts into a kid’s room. Really!

14 Trudy September 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Noticed World Market was having a sale on wool rugs yesterday when I went in. How about this one?

15 Dianne September 30, 2013 at 5:51 pm

My first thought was ‘I wouldn’t like to haul a vacuum up those stairs.” And I’ve never found a Dustbuster that had enough suction! I apologize that my first thought had to be about cleaning them, not about how fantastic they could look!

16 Thelma September 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Although wool carpet may initially be more expensive, I think it’s worth it in the long run. I was never convinced, but we put a wool rug in our master bedroom, and cheaper, synthetic wall to wall carpet in my son’s bedroom. Five years later, the carpet in my son’s room is hideous, and on it’s way out, and the wool rug is still looking great, and feels much better. And yes, dustbusters still exist. Frankly, I want to give one to every new parent!

17 Design Mom September 30, 2013 at 7:54 pm

I hear you. I don’t think I would have ever considered wool until I lived with wool carpet myself. But it’s lovely!

18 Vandegee September 30, 2013 at 7:04 pm

We have a wool berber(ish) rug in our bedroom – it was a remnant from ABC carpet, and they bound the edges. I love it. Wool rugs DO shed a lot at first. But that goes away eventually. It’s so cozy on the feet I love it. Way cozier than flor! I love the look of the flor rug tiles we have in the entry way, but their texture is like Velcro for fuzz, dust, lint and hair. And a carpet sweeper doesn’t work on it, only a vacuum, so you can’t do quick clean ups. Drives me crazy.

19 Design Mom September 30, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Good to know on the shedding!

Regarding the FLOR tiles, I wonder if the wool tiles behave the same way as wool wall-to-wall. Maybe I should try FLOR in one loft and a remnant in the other…

20 Karen September 30, 2013 at 8:23 pm

That’s what I would do… something like Flor (they have different types… not all short) in the guest loft where there’s a bed and a cozy wool carpet in the reading loft where you’re (or the kids are) likely to lounge on the floor.

21 Vandegee September 30, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Also… My step-father’s sister is an interior decorator. She decorates a lot of model apartments for developments. She always splurged on thick carpet pads and then goes for run of the mill carpet for he models. The thick pad makes it feel cushy and luxurious… Something to think about for the small cozy spaces.

22 Marlo September 30, 2013 at 7:44 pm

My girlfriend had insanely priced carpet put in her bedrooms of her remodel a couple years ago. It’s the most amazing carpet I have ever felt. If I remember right it is a wool silk blend? Sort of a shah and the softest stuff ever. If you want I can ask her for the brand. My favorite besides that are Angela Adams rugs. Great design, fantastic quality.

23 Design Mom September 30, 2013 at 7:54 pm

I’d love to know the brand, Marlo. Thank you!

24 Kate F. September 30, 2013 at 8:28 pm

You’ll get a much cushier feel w wall-to-wall because of the padding. Flor has some plusher styles but they’re still on the rubbery base, so you don’t get a very soft feel. There’s nothing as cozy as sitting on an actual carpeted floor!

25 Rachel September 30, 2013 at 8:50 pm

I’m really looking forward to seeing your flooring choices!! We are currently having similar discussion in our house. Our playroom/den is the only room in the house that has carpet and I’m kind of itching to be carpet-free :) I really don’t know what kind of flooring I’d prefer, since I think it would difficult to match the adjacent hardwoods and I’m worried tile would be too cold. Decisions, decisions. But fun decisions :)

26 leslie September 30, 2013 at 10:00 pm

I was tilting my head while looking at your pictures and thinking, those lofts look like they were done after the original house was built. Is this true?
Not to throw a wrench in your carpet plans, but just a thought, what if you took out the loft in the family room, atleast? That would free up that post in the middle of the floor space and it would make the ceiling feel uber tall and airy.

If you used Flor tiles in the guest loft then you could throw a cozy sheep, puffy, snuggly rug over it in the winter, then change it for the summer to be more, well, summery.

27 The Other Robin September 30, 2013 at 10:24 pm

We’ve got flor tiles in our daughter’s room. Yes, it’s a cinch to cut (utility knife) and lay, but it’s not quite as durable as we would like. I think for your purposes, it would be fine, though. We’re pretty rough on it, compared to “normal” people, I think. My daughter is a wheelchair-user, so it takes more-than-average abuse. If I had it to do over, I might try the commercial-grade flor tiles. Live and learn!

28 Jennifer September 30, 2013 at 11:13 pm

We used Flor at my parents’ house when they very kindly created a playroom for our children. It worked out really well and we definitely went with something bolder than we would otherwise have tried (I cannot believe my dad went for it).


29 karina October 1, 2013 at 1:26 am

I`d get wall-to-wall in this (I am sure you can get the brand in the US) and they make great colors – loads of them! And its all natural and easy to clean. I would then lay warm sheepskins on top in winter and a striped cotton rug in summer!

30 Catherine October 1, 2013 at 4:26 am

If you’re looking to make the space feel larger but still cosy, you could try white hardwood with a pretty rug on top. We did that in our rather smallish living room, and it makes the whole thing feel so much more spacious. The nice thing about white wood vs. lighter carpet is that it’s really easy to clean – for things left behind by snacking readers. ;-)

31 Krista October 1, 2013 at 6:48 am

These lofts look like wonderful little retreats within the house! I love that. I can see climbing up for a game of Go Fish or to doodle or nap on a weekend afternoon. I am curious though about how easy the ladders are to climb once a suitcase or vacuum is in hand though.

32 Juliana October 1, 2013 at 8:22 am

What a fun project! We built a home last year and I skipped carpet all together and put hardwood floors in the entire house. Love it!
I love your idea of either using wool carpet or floor carpet tiles in the lofts (first choice is wood of course). Great project. Good luck and do keep us posted.

33 Jennyaslo October 1, 2013 at 11:06 am

I love the idea of cozy, comfy lofts for little bit of quiet (quieter?) space!

Lush carpet sounds ideal. The guest bed loft could also be used as “overflow” when needed from the kids’ rooms. A nice way to get some space when someone is sick, needs extra rest, is craving privacy, or just wants to stay up late cuddled up with a good book while his/her younger siblings sleep in darkness.

34 Ann October 1, 2013 at 11:10 am

These lofts reminded me of a ski condo we stayed in one winter with friends. We put all the kids up there in sleeping bags and the adults downstairs. The stairs scared the hell out of me but no one fell down. I just recently was sent a FLOR catalogue and was amazed how many different things you can do. I love the layering! I like the idea of something really soft and plush up there but FLOR would be great too.

35 Josie October 1, 2013 at 1:43 pm

I vote for some tight plush wall to wall wool carpet in a texture or cheery pattern with a good pad. With some hanging lights or wall mounts, some big throw pillows and a sturdy little table for drinks you’ve got an ideal hideaway or fun space. Just keep in mind –no carpets with loops “’cause our legos and little men can’t stand on them!” Loops pull and they don’t stop…until you’ve got a bare space.

36 Melissa October 1, 2013 at 1:58 pm

With so many creative children in your family, why not let the kids design it, and let Baby June (well, not so much a babe anymore..she’s so cute) point to the one she likes best! Good luck with it, such a fun challenge to have.

37 Linda October 1, 2013 at 2:48 pm

For warmth, coziness and sound-proofing I would definitely choose carpet and a wool one for both lofts. If the reading nook will have food/beverages taken up there I might change my opinion on that. Personally I would choose a neutral to make it feel larger and allow the flexibility to adjust your decor easily in the future.

38 janeannechovy October 1, 2013 at 11:27 pm

I have wool carpet (berber) in the bedrooms, family room and stairs at my house. I love it–it is soft and luxurious. However, we have had problems with wool-eating moths, and they are SO HARD to eradicate! So some areas of the carpet (particularly under furniture) have visible moth damage. Big bummer. Plus it hasn’t worn as well on the stairs as I would like. The bottom couple of steps on our main staircase are quite threadbare at the edge of the riser. I’m seriously considering going back to wood there, though I’m a little concerned about the noise level.

39 Kate October 1, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Just a thought. If you had guests over who are (really) allergic to wool, they would actually not be able to sleep in that area.

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