Fashion and design trends come and go, but Harrisons Carpet expert Christina Gardner, who owns and operates her business in central Christchurch, says it’s still vital to ensure that your carpet and flooring have the longevity and quality to withstand seasons, trends and work well in a Kiwi environment.
Christina says that although there are new styles coming through, the biggest shift she’s noticing is in how customers are researching those trends – and top of the list is interior design shows on television or online.
“A lot of those shows are coming to us from America or Australia and so they are showing styles that work well for those environments,” Christina says. “It’s quite exciting and I really like working in that space but whereas once most customers worked around their budget first, now they still know their budget but they’re also searching for someone to help them deliver a specific look that they’ve discovered.
“That’s why the way we work is so important because you can have a meeting beforehand where you get a feel for what they want, but then you can also guide them around some of the practicalities of what it will actually feel like to live on that product.
“It’s so exciting for a customer to be buying their first home or perhaps renovating their current home. They might like the Californian beach look, but when they live in somewhere like Christchurch where it can be minus-three degrees in winter, you really have to think about how you can still get that look without freezing. Bright white walls and billowing cotton drapes look great in summer or hot climates but not when it’s two-degrees and foggy! We help customers create a look which they love, while still be trans-seasonal”
So what are the main styles and trends Christina is hearing from customers when it comes to carpets?
1. Lighter colours: There was a time when the first demand Christina would hear from a customer was that they wanted something in charcoal or black. “Thank goodness we’re moving away from people wanting the darkest colours available because they can be very hard to live on,” she says. “We still have a love affair in New Zealand with that neutral look favoured by Resene paints and Karen Walker – tones like tea or bison hide or really natural stone colours.”
There are no real radical moves towards patterns or brighter colours such as terracotta, although there’s always the occasional leftfield demand such as the home-load of gold carpets she’s recently fitted.
And what about matching your carpet with the colour of paint on the walls, and even the curtains? “That is where Harrisons Free Colour-Matching Service is a real benefit for our customers. Our expert interior designer, Anita Shirley, puts together ‘mood boards’ to showcase great combinations. The mood-boards and sitting with a Harrisons Carpet expert consultant, we can find the best possibilities for your home!”
2. Textures: Christina is seeing more demand for textures instead of the more traditional cut-pile carpets. Primarily textured carpets have been wool, but Christina says a man-made nylon commercial carpet called Al Fresco is also proving popular for residential customers. “We recently laid it for a commercial job in a resthome and it looks so fantastic that many staff were telling us that they would have it in their homes,” she says. “Wool can have some drawbacks and nylon is tough, fade-resistant and long-lasting so it’s a perfect product for those who want a more tailored, textured carpet with the practicality of a synthetic fibre.” Because of Kiwis’ “love-affair” with cut-pile carpets meaning that fitters aren’t always au fait with the craftsmanship required to properly align textured carpets, Christina says she’s extremely careful to ensure she only uses the best fitters.
3. Polished finishes: A big trend to be imported alongside international interior design TV shows and websites is polished concrete and timber flooring – something that Christina says can translate easily into a New Zealand home with a little extra thought. “Our customers aren’t necessarily polishing their floors but they can get a similar look by using wood laminate products or vinyl planking and then teaming that with more strategic use of carpets,” she says. “You still need some of that warmth, but rather than carpeting the whole house you can go with the hard flooring option and then choose cosy spaces such as bedrooms, studies and media rooms for a more luxurious carpet underfoot.”
4. The Pinterest generation: Christina says that 90% of people she comes across who are interested in renovation or home-buying now have their own Pinterest board where they can collect images and themes they like – and then when the time and budget is right, they have all the inspiration they need to pick a style that suits them. “It’s an amazing phenomenon,” she says. “Before we meet I always ask them to share their board with me so I can understand the theme they like and that really helps us get the ball rolling. I think that now is probably the best time to be buying flooring because the choice and the prices are incredible. We are getting access to all sorts of amazing products from Europe – certainly it would be a rare customer who wouldn’t find something that will fit their vision.”
If you are considering renovating or fitting out a first-home – or even simply looking to spruce up your old flooring, a Harrisons Carpet expert can guide you through the whole process from measuring up and choosing a style to suit your home and your lifestyle, right through to the final installation. We pride ourselves on guiding you through the process during a free in-home consultation.
Call us to book an appointment on 0800 421001, or fill out the booking form online.