Before You Buy

Before you actually buy a carpet, you should be aware of your requirements, such as the correct size for the area you have in mind, the appropriate type for the amount of wear the carpet will receive, and the type of flooring on which it will be placed.


An Oriental carpet is meant to be seen as a picture framed by the flooring it is laid upon.Bear this in mind when buying,and allow for at least five-inches (12.5cm) of flooring to show all around the carpet. If you already have a carpet that is too large to allow for this, try to get it traded in for a more suitable size. Oriental carpets are not meant to provide wall-to-wall covering because they need to "breath" and to be dusted and sunned regularly. They must be easily moved. Neither are their striking designs meant to be deprived of the frame provided by a floor or wall. Should you have a carpet that's too large for your floor but has sentimental value, the only way to use it on the floor is to fold part of it under, either at the ends or on the sides, as required. Before folding , check that the carpet is not churuk or rotted (the warp and weft must not be hard and dry, or make a cracking sound when folded). If it is, seek expert advice before you attempt to fold it. It is important to know that folding is not a recommended practice under normal circumstances, but one only used as a last resort. And because folding can damage the carpet's foundation and attract moths, special effort must be made to alternate the folds about four or five times a year to ensure that wear to the carpet is even. Never cut the carpet to fit a space - it not only weakens the carpet but can reduce its value greatly.


This is an important consideration because different parts of your home are subject to vastly different amounts of wear and tear. As such, certain delicate or superfine carpets are not suitable for certain heavy-traffic areas of the home such as the main entrance doorway, or outside bathrooms. The general rule is that the heavier the foot traffic, the heavier the carpet's pile should be.


This is the bridge between the outside and the clean inside of your home. As such, dirt, mud and moisture are continually being worked into an entrance carpet. Whatever carpet you choose to place at this point should be in good condition with a heavy, thick pile on a preferably cotton foundation for strength. You should also opt for a dark-coloured carpet that doesn't show dirt so obviously, although you will still need to clean it every six months , and turn it regularly to ensure even wear. Sarouks, Hamadans, Baktiaris and most village carpets are the most suitable for this purpose.


This is a popular location because a carpet placed here makes for a colourful welcome. Since here too the traffic is quite high, the carpet you pick should be in good condition, and you may need to clean it every six months and turn it regularly for even wear. If a door opens onto the carpet, ensure it doesn't crush the pile, or drag against it. If it does, shave off a little wood from the bottom of the door. Hamadans, Ardebils, Meshkins, Sarouks and other village carpets make attractive hallway carpets. However, for an upper floor hallway where the traffic is lighter, finer carpets can be used.


Runners are the best for use on stairways because they are narrow and long. For your own safety and to protect the carpet, though, they must be securely attached to the stairs. For this you should use metal or wooden stair rods, and never glue, nails, tacks or sticky tape. You should also never sew a carpet onto an existing wall-to-wall carpet.

Certain parts of the carpet will receive more wear, for instance, the middle and edge of each step where the feet are placed as they move up and down the stairway. As such, the carpet should be moved every six months to even out the wear. It is also advisable to remove stairway carpets every few years and lie them on a flat floor so that the wear can be evened out and the carpet straightened. For cleaning while on the stairway, use a tubular vacuum cleaner or a brush, but remove the carpet completely from the stairs and lay flat for major cleaning.

Living Room

This is an area that takes different amounts of wear because each family uses this room differently. Some literally "live" in it, while others reserve it for entertaining guests. Choose a carpet according to your needs, a tough thick-piled cotton foundation for heavy wear, antique and/or silk for light wear. The choice ranges from Kashans, Isfahans, Nains and Tabriz carpets to Bidjars, Heriz and Sarouks, in fact most Persian carpets.

Dinning Room

Almost any kind of carpet is suitable for this location except silk. Care must be taken to quickly remove food particles, and spilt liquids to prevent staining. If a heavy dining table is placed on the carpet, it should be lift ed and moved slightly every six months to allow the crushed pile under the table legs to spring back into shape. Care should be taken in the way dining chairs are moved toward and away from the table. Never drag furniture across the carpet when moving it as this will damage the pile. Replace the dining room carpet with one from another part of the home every four or five years. If your dining room is exposed to daily sunlight through windows or glass do ors, be sure to draw the curtains or blinds to prevent gradual fading of the carpet.


The choice depends again on the use that's made of this room. Some use it strictly for sleeping and resting, while for others it is a semi-living room used for watching television and snacking. For heavy use, choose a thick-piled carpet such as Heriz, Tabriz, Kirman or Pakistani carpet. For lighter use, any carpet of your choice, even an antique silk one, will do. Whichever type you require, be sure to clean and turn it regularly, and to move the furniture around as well. Never use it as a bathmat or place it directly outside the bathroom door. It will become damp, and mildew will set in within a matter of time. This will lead to colour run and rot.

Study or Home office

This is not usually an area of heavy wear so any kind of carpet will be suitable. If you have a chair on castors, place a sheet of acrylic between the carpet and the castors to protect the pile. Move the furniture such as your desk, filling cabinets, chairs and acrylic sheet (if you use one) around every six months to allow the pile to breathe. If the study or office is seldom used, inspect the carpet regularly for moth damage, and air the carpet outdoors about once a year.


A carpet placed before a roaring fire makes a cosy picture, except that sparks can make small holes in it and the heat can dry out the nature oils in the wool, making the carpet brittle. If you must place one near the hearth, be sure to invest in a good fireguard. Choose a thick-piled carpet so that if any sparks do hit the carpet, they will only singe the pile and not burn into the foundation. Place the carpet as far away from the fire as possible to minimise possible damage by sparks and heat. If a chair is placed on it, the wear from the chair (especially if it's a rocking chair) and the friction caused by foot movements will show up over time. Be sure to turn the carpet regularly.

Table or bed covering

It is a very Eastern tradition to use a carpet as a cover for a bed or table, although it is also done in Europe. If used to cover a table, ensure that heavy ornaments are moved regularly for the pile to breathe. Beware also of leakage from flower vases or potted plants as this can cause mildew and rot the foundation. Remove the carpet from the table before eating as opposed to eating with the carpet as a dining table cover. This will save it from grease, liquid and food particles. For both uses, choose a flat weave carpet, such as a Soumak or a kilim, because these are pliant and light. And because the carpet will not be subject to foot traffic, even rare or antique ones can be used.

Never cut a carpet to fit a space or to accommodate furniture. This reduces the beauty, the lifespan and the value of the carpet and it is as sacrilegious as cutting a painting to fit a frame. The only occasion that justifies cutting a carpet is when it is so damage that only cutting will salvage some of its value. And in this instance, always seek expert advice first.


Carpets can be used on virtually any kind of flooring that is smooth and dry. There are four typical floor surfaces in use today, namely, polished wood/parquet, marble/terazzo/linoleum, stone/ceramic tiles and wall-to-wall carpeting.


All these surfaces are smooth and even slippery at times. Marble and wood are the best settings for any kind of carpet because their nature stones draw out the colour in a carpet. Thinner-piled carpets tend to slip, so you may need an underfelt or padding to prevent this. The most suitable material for this is a sheet that is flat and rubberised on the underside, which compress fibres on the upper side. The rubber grips the floor naturally, and the fibre s hold the carpet in place - no nails, no glue, and no tape required, and absolutely not recommended.

You can also use a plain rubber sheet without the fibre topping. Both types are usually available in the carpet section of major department stores. When cleaning, both underlay and carpet should be removed and cleaned separately. Only when the floor (which has been cleaned) is completely dry should both be returned to their original position.


Ensure that no sharp or protruding edges are found on the surface, especially stone floors. If the floor is bumpy, it is not advisable to use a carpet on it because some parts of the pile will be raised by the bumps, and these parts will wear out faster than the rest of the carpet. If the floor surface is smooth, almost any kind of carpet is recommended, although an underfelt may be required to prevent slipping. Also, natural stone such as marble gives off some amount of moisture, especially in hot weather, and in this case an underfelt may be required.

Wall-to-Wall carpeting

People often place a valued carpet over fitted carpet. Sometimes the carpet will move or wrinkle but with the correct underlay, this will not happen. A heavy carpet placed on a non-shag fitted carpet usually does not move. The lighter the carpet and the shaggier the pile of the fitted carpet, the more the carpet will move. An underlay should be cut and laid in the same way as that used for wooden or marble floors. If the fitted carpet is thin-piled, only a very thin underlay is required; if the fitted carpet is thick-piled, a thicker, firmer one is needed. Ideally, when a carpet is placed over a fitted carpet, the latter should be plain-coloured and flat-piled.


An underlay is not always required. Sometimes it is a matter of personal taste where you might prefer the added thickness that it provides. Whatever the case, when one is used, it should be sized and cut fractionally smaller (about 1 inch/2.5cm) all around than the carpet that is going over it. This helps the carpet to lie smoothly.

Carpets Wall-Hangings

The use of carpets for purely decorative purposes is popular all over the world although it is a centuries-old Eastern tradition. Today, you find fine carpet hanging alongside paintings by masters on the walls of palaces, homes and museums. A carpet, when places on a wall, adds visual impact as well as warmth and luxury. Almost any kind can be used as a wall-hanging provided it is not too heavy. While a lightweight carpet will not strain the warp and weft, a heavy one will pull on these foundation threads and even break them. Fine old carpets which have already seen heavy wear particularly suitable as wall-hangings because the colours would have mellowed. The pile would also have been worn down, making it lighter, and the hanging would protect it from more wear and tear. From an aesthetic point of view, certain carpets lend themselves at wall-hangings, such as a pictorial carpets, silk carpets that "glow" under the light, and kilims.

The method described on the facing page provides adequate support to the carpet and enables it to hang evenly. Rods can be attached to the bottom edges in a similar way if you find that they curl instead of hang straight down. Periodically, though, the carpet should be removed from the wall and placed on the floor for a few weeks. This will allow the warp and weft fibres which may have been pulled by the hanging, to spring back into shape, thus helping to prolong the life of the carpet. This especially applies to heavy carpets with wool foundations, such as Afghan and Baluchi carpets. Wool stretches considerably and does not return to its original shape on its own, even it left flat on the floor. In this instance, laying the carpet flat on the floor will prevent further stretching.

While on the wall, many carpet lovers train spotlights on it to show off its beauty, just as they would with a painting. This is fine, but avoid doing this over long periods of time. Spot lighting emits plenty of heat, which can, over time, dry our natural oils in wool, and even cause fading. What's worse is that there may be fading of certain parts of the carpet. The same goes for a carpet that's hung in the path of direct sunlight. Remember also that insects are fond of hiding behind carpets where it's dark and cool, and left undisturbed, will even breed there.

While direct heat including that from a radiator can harm the carpet over time, so too can damp. If the wall on which the carpet is hung is damp, it's matter of time before the carpet's foundation absorbs the moisture, leading to rot if not caught in time. Cheap paintwork that flakes is another thing to protect your carpet from. Check your walls regularly, and be sure to sun your carpet when you take it off the wall to "rest" flat on the floor.