Flooring future still includes rugs, carpeting

With luxury vinyl tile recreating the look of hardwood floors, do carpets still have a place in hotels? The tiles are undoubtedly easier to clean and can be aesthetically pleasing—but carpets and rugs still have their place in hotel rooms.

“We’re seeing an evolution in the role carpet plays in hospitality, moving away from the last thought of the refurbishment toward becoming the keystone of an interior,” said Nadia Burton, design director at carpet manufacturer Brintons. “Interior designers treat the carpet like a piece of art, matching the intent and development going into the process, instead of a commodity simply covering the floor.” At the Kimpton Hotel Allegro in Chicago, Brintons translated abstract paintings into inset hand-tufted rugs. “This ‘artist’s touch’ and gestural flow of color is in high demand,” Burton said.

Mark Page, senior director of creative design and development at Durkan, a flooring and carpeting supplier, has noticed the growing popularity of carpet tiles that can be replaced individually as they wear out, saving the hotel the cost of replacing the entire carpet in a room.


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And Everett Foreman, president of carpet manufacturer Luzern—a preferred supplier for Marriott International and other hotel companies—has seen a happy medium with rugs over hard flooring. This option, he said, is palatable to hoteliers because a hard surface can last much longer than a carpet. When a rug is damaged or just worn down, it can be replaced with a minimum of fuss. “It really works well for them,” he said.

Over the past six months, he estimated, Luzern has created as many as 900 rugs for different Marriott projects. “Not only has the AC hotel [brand] moved away from wall-to-wall carpet into rugs, but it would appear that the Marriott-branded properties are moving away from carpeting into rugs,” he said.

Top Colors & Materials

“Grays have been very popular for quite some time,” Foreman said. “We still see that a lot in the marketplace, but we’re also seeing a move more back to neutral colors and even into more of the brown tones that have not been very popular.” These shades, he said, tend to “work really well and blend really well with the hardwood flooring effect.”  

“Non-directional designs that rely on heavy layers of texture are popular right now,” Burton said. “We’re also seeing a lot of blue color families in the background layers, almost acting as a neutral. Color families are grouped together to create blurred transitions and to avoid a ‘pixelated’ look in the design.” Beyond the grays, she said, she sees a lot of demand for blues and “color palettes derived from the earth’s naturally occurring materials. The concept of creating locally sourced interiors is still trending,” she added, “with designs finding influence in the surrounding environment.”

For his part, Page has seen high demand for traditional styles that evoke “arts and crafts,” appealing to the lifestyle movement and a desire to digitally detox.

In terms of materials, Page said that most hoteliers want solution-dyed nylon fibers for their carpets, or blends of nylon and wool. “That said, we’re seeing considerable interest in domestically made carpets, in 100-percent nylon fibers where a sustainability story remains strong,” he said. Criticism of fiber content is on the rise, Page said, and eco-conscious hoteliers should be aware of “red-list” chemicals involved in creating or maintaining their rug or carpet choices.