Ali Akmal Jan of Carpet Kingdom offers some time-tested tips for carpet care Good Homes
The history of carpets in India takes us back almost 500 years, to Akbar’s Darbar in 1580. The Mughal emperor had imported a massive carpet for his palace, which was of the finest quality from Persia. Subsequently Akbar started the first manufacturing unit in Agra to produce carpets in India. That is where our love affair with carpets began.
What began as a status symbol found only in the homes of aristocrats, the carpet today has evolved tremendously. Despite still being an aspirational product, huge amounts of research and development have resulted in carpets of all shapes, sizes, materials and for all budgets. We now have carpets made of upcycled, recycled and eco-friendly materials, carpets that are hand-knotted or machine-made, and even ones designed using computer graphics.
There are two basic types of carpets – handmade, and machine made – and these can be further broken down into various types. Naturally, this means we now have carpets for different seasons and occasions. Every generation of carpet manufacturers and traders has brought in their own ideas and styles, which has also made the product category extremely rich.
How to pick the right carpet for your room
Carpets aren’t designed specifically for any particular room, but there are some important considerations before you buy a carpet. In essense, a carpet should be an extension of one’s personality, cleverly combined with its design and utility value. So ask yourself:
1) What size do I require?
2) How long do I want the carpet to last?
3) What is the main purpose of the room?
4) What kind of design am I looking for?
5) What is the primary colour I prefer?
6) What is my budget?
7) Would I prefer a handmade rug or a machine-made one?
8) Do I want a pile carpet of a flat weave?
9) Would it matter to me if the carpet is made from synthetic yarn or natural yarn?
10) Lastly, am I looking for something that’s easy to maintain?
This basic list should help you narrow down your search significantly.
Types of carpets
1) Persian rugs
Historically, Persian rugs, which showcase designs that are traditional, have been considered classic masterpieces and are popular for their intricate patterns, sumptuous colours and rich looks. They are popular choices for large rooms, foyers of hotels, offices and of course living rooms of houses which have a lot of open space. These rugs are available both in handmade and machine-made versions.
Flat weaves or dhurries work great for the home office or the foot of the bed to give the room character. They are easy to maintain and good for tropical countries where they can be used all year round. These are mostly handmade. The patterns are inspired by traditional tribal motifs and designs. These rugs are flat in appearance and the yarn used in the weft forms the exposed flat surface.
3) Afghan Kilims
The Afghan Kilims on the other hand, are becoming popular as wall hangings and as display floor pieces across the globe. These are great to have either on the floor or on the wall of your central living room. These are made by hand only. Kilims are flatly woven tapestry-rugs produced by tribals in Afghanistan. They are traditionally woven in countries of the former Persian empire including Central Asia. The motifs and designs in these rugs are derived from symbols that were used in ancient times.
4) Fusion carpets
The transitional or fusion carpets are best described as a combination of traditional and contemporary design. Currently these are amongst the most popular and most preferred types of carpets. That is mainly because of their unique look, created to complement modern interiors. Available in handmade and machine-made versions, these are again great to have in offices and living rooms.
5) Eco-friendly carpets
These are flatly woven rugs using mostly natural yarns like Jute and Sisal. The patterns, if any, in this range are very minimalistic and mostly made in solid earthy colours. These rugs are not very expensive but are finding their way into many homes because of their look and eco-friendly features. These are made both by hand and by machines. They make good choices for smaller spaces, kids rooms and studios.
6) Modern carpets
Modern carpets are the most popular ones today. The designs vary from simple abstracts and graphics to heavy patterns, and are the preferred choice amongst consumers and design influencers today.
Looking after your carpets
The life of a carpet depends the type of material used and the footfall/traffic and amount of dirt one brings into the room. All our customers are given an easy-to-understand maintenance manual, which is unique to each carpet, depending upon its type. Contrary to popular belief, keeping carpets clean is not that difficult. Here are some basic tips to keep in mind:
– Different kinds require different methods but a good vacuum once a week and brushing regularly also works in keeping it clean. Use rug pads if the furniture on it is heavy.
– If you have pets and babies in the house, a deep clean/steam cleaning your carpet, especially the thick ones, once a month is recommended to maintain safe hygiene levels. If you have durries or jute carpets, airing them and leaving them out in partial sunlight (not direct, harsh light) once in a while would be a good idea.
– If you spill something, make sure you blot and don’t rub the stain as that will only make the stain more difficult to remove.
– Generally, well known brands have rug restoration, repair and cleaning assistance that takes care of issues that cannot be resolved by the customer.
– In a country like India, which is largely tropical with spells of rain and bright sunshine, you only need to worry about mildew and fungus during the rains or if the carpet is stored away. Vacuuming your carpet and brushing it once a week works for all types of carpets. During the rainy season, air the carpet once in a while; hang it with the reverse side up if the sun is harsh. Most carpets will come with a basic cleaning instruction from the brand or the seller, and following that is generally safe and good enough.
Ali Akmal Jan is one of two brothers in the 5th generation of entrepreneurs running Carpet Kingdom. The 125+ year-old brand is one of the oldest carpet manufacturers in South India, with a history that dates back to the British Indian empire in the 1900s. Despite being steeped in tradition, Carpet Kingdom has worked on some interesting innovations with carpets – from lining the walls of an elevator with carpet to creating upholstery, mouse pads, shoes and handbags from it. Besides customising carpets for some of the largest brands and most illustrious families in the country, they also work on making carpets accessible to every segment of the market.