Thursday, 29 January 2015

How to Turn Your House into a 'Smart Home' with Modern Rugs

How to Turn Your House into a 'Smart Home'

Modern technology is evolving at an incredible rate, and it seems like everything is ‘smart’ these days. So if you’re looking to keep up with the pace and want to bring some handy technology into your home, here are our recommendations for creating a smart home of your very own.

Wireless speakers

You’ve probably already seen ads on TV for wireless speaker systems, like those from Sonos, and they’re a great investment. Simply drop the speakers around your house, then use your smartphone or tablet to stream music wirelessly. Perfect for parties or just relaxing at home – and the prices of wireless speakers are coming down all the time.

Smart TVs

Our phones have been smart for a while, so why not our TVs too? A smart TV will give you access to apps like YouTube, Netflix and so on without extra cables or any fuss. All you need is a Wi-Fi connection and you can hook your TV into a world of entertainment. Most of the new TVs on the market from brands like Sony, LG and Samsung are equipped with smart features, so they’re easy to find.

Remote lighting and heating

Whether through an existing service or using a gadget like a WeMo plug, it’s now possible to remotely control almost anything in your home. Remote heating and lighting products are readily available, but you can also attach a WeMo plug to any mains device and operate it remotely from anywhere in the world.

Robotic vacuum cleaners

Are you sick of trudging round and vacuuming? If so, you can now get a robot to do it for you! Products like the Roomba will automatically travel around your house and vacuum up whatever’s in their path. You can program paths or just let them do their work; they’re even designed to avoid walls and obstacles. Futuristic, eh?

Wireless charging mats

We’ve all lost our phone charging cables now and again, but now there’s a solution. Wireless charging mats can sit on a table and all you need do is throw your phone on top. Through the magic of wireless technology, your phone (or tablet) will begin to charge without needing a cable plugged in. Now that’s what we call smart!

If you fancy giving your home a technological makeover, why not treat it to some first-class rugs too? Check out our online rug shop for the latest and greatest in modern and traditional rugs. Or simply call our friendly team on 0845 838 8638 – we’d love to show you the future of interior design!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Contemporary Stair Runners; What's All The Fuss About?

What's All The Fuss About Contemporary Stair Runners?

If you’ve been keeping a keen eye on interior design trends lately, you may well have heard about contemporary stair runners. Designed to brighten up any staircase with a touch of visual interest, these stair runners have been around for some time, so why are they so popular right now? Well, it may have something to do with the retro-modern edge that contemporary stair runners offer – or it could simply be that they look great. Whatever the case, we thought we’d take this opportunity to look at contemporary stair runners in a little more depth.

Contemporary stair runners for beginners

If you’ve got a staircase in your home, especially one with a wooden surface or similar, contemporary stair runners might be just what you need. So what are stair runners used for? Well, they’re primarily used to add a bit of colour and traction to a staircase. For example, many wooden stairs can be slippery and potentially hazardous, but a contemporary stair runner fixes this issue elegantly. Plus, stair runners are available in a variety of widths, so whether your stairs are narrow or enclosed, there’s a solution for you.

The full contemporary stair runner package

Stair runners can look fantastic on their own, especially when set against a complementary floor colouring – but there’s another addition which can give the final touch of perfection: stair rods. Made from a variety of high quality metals, stair rods are designed to hold the contemporary stair rods flush to the corner of the stair, and keep the fit neat at all times. A beautifully fitted stair runner in combination with some quality stair rods is an interior design innovation that’s hard to beat.

A world of choice

The great thing about contemporary stair runners is that they’re available in a wide range of colours and designs. From a subtle Items style from Brink and Campman to the more eye-catching and colourful Missouri Range, you really can have your pick. Our advice is to try to compare the designs and colours of these contemporary stair runners with the existing flooring you have on your stairs. That way, you’ll know whether they’re complementary right from the offset. 

If you’d like to try out some contemporary stair runners in your home, there’s no better place than Stair Rods Direct. And if you have any questions about our products, installation, or anything else, just call our friendly team on 0845 838 8638.

Friday, 23 January 2015

The Warmest Rugs for Your Home This Winter

The Warmest Rugs for Your Home This Winter

With the majority of the country layering up and many of us happily building snowmen, it seems that winter is very much upon us.
While it may not be everybody’s favourite time of year, there are some benefits to these chilly months – especially when it comes to interior design. So why not change up your surroundings a little bit by adding some warm, cosy rugs to the main rooms of your home? Whether that’s the living room or the bedroom, there’s a warm rug in the Rugs Direct range for you. Let’s check out our winter recommendations…

Mammoth Rugs

If you’re looking for a thick, chunky pile rug which will add a true sense of cosy comfort to any room, the Mammoth Rug is an excellent choice. Made with a thick 50mm pile and made from rich polyester, the texture of these rugs trap heat very well and are perfect for keeping any room warm on those chilly days. Plus they’re big and super-soft. They’re not called ‘mammoth’ for no reason!

Plush Rugs

Available in a wide range of shimmering colours, our Plush Rugs are made from a wonderfully soft polyester yarn. Each strand is over 7cm long, meaning that these are truly luxurious rugs – especially when underfoot. There really is nothing quite like dropping a Plush Rug on your living room floor, lighting up some candles and curling up with a good book.

Sheepskin Rugs

For the absolute ultimate in wintertime cosy rugs, you have to take a look at our Sheepskin Rugs. Available in a number of colours including grey, mink and taupe, these rugs are made from 100% sheepskin. Not only that, you can also pick the size that’s perfect for you. And do we need to say much about how thick, soft and luxurious these rugs are? They really are the classic way to keep the cold at bay.

Whisper Rugs

Our final recommendation is our range of Whisper Rugs. A delicate pile with a soft touch, these rugs feature a gentle sheen in the light, and are textured for real visual interest. One of the reasons we’ve included them (other than their cosiness of course) is the range of vibrant colours you can find them in. From hot pink fuchsia to dark teal, there really is something for all tastes here.

If these warm winter rugs don’t warm your heart, you can check out our online rug shop for even more great options. Or for a little personal advice just call the team on 0845 838 8638

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Retro Trends Set to Make a Comeback in 2015

5 Retro Trends Set to Make a Comeback in 2015

It’s hard not to notice how frequently trends that were once thought dead and buried come back into public favour. From yo-yo’s to sports cars, it’s always a surprise. But is there any way to predict what’s next? Well, we’ve taken a look around the web and concocted our final list of the top 5 retro trends that will make a comeback this year.

5. Diner-style kitchens

For a long time, the design of kitchens has been relatively static, in the sense that public tastes don’t change too often. But this year it seems one particular design might come back: the diner-style. Think of an American diner: booths, black and white chequerboard floors, vivid colours and maybe even a neon sign. Keep an eye out in 2015 to see this style in a kitchen near you.

4. Digital radios in a vintage style

Effortlessly merging the modern world with that of the past, a new trend for vintage-style radios with digital capability is already emerging. Brands such as Roberts are leading the way with radios that take design inspiration from classic 50s and 60s units, even going so far as to include padded cushions and leather trim. Whatever next?

3. 80s-style electronic pop music

Here’s one you’ve probably already have some experience of. The 80s is back in a big way when it comes to chart music. Artists such as Taylor Swift are wearing their influences on their sleeves, with every genre from pop to electro showing 80s traits through and through. So dust off those drum machines, there could just be an opportunity for you!

2. Cubist-inspired interior design

Cubism and geometric patterns are something we’re very familiar with here at Rugs Direct. Some of our most popular rugs feature a 60s-inspired design which is as colourful as it is intricate. So we’re not at all surprised that cubism is going to come back into the limelight in many areas of interior design. That also extends to modern art pieces too, so you’ll see all over the home.

1. 70s-inspired clothing

If you’ve still got a pair of bell-bottoms or perhaps a floral shirt somewhere in the back of your wardrobe, 2015 might just be your year. The 1970s are coming back during spring and summer with many pieces taking direct inspiration from the catwalks of that decade. Flared jeans, wide-collar shirts and vibrant colours all form part of this retro revival.

Which trends are you looking forward to in 2015? Let us know! And don’t forget to check out the latest rug trends in our online rug shop

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Door Thresholds 101: What You Need to Know

Door Thresholds 101: What You Need to Know

There are some elements of interior design that are so essential that you can look right by them. Door thresholds easily fall under this umbrella.

These subtle additions are one of those design choices that blend in seamlessly, but stick out like a sore thumb when they’re not there. So what are the basics of door thresholds, and why do you need them? Here’s our handy guide on what you need to know.

What are door thresholds?

Depending on the layout of the carpet in your home, it may be the case that adjacent rooms have differing floor coverings. For example, you may have carpet in the lounge and smooth wood in the hallway. In this case, you need something to make the transition between the two materials as seamless as possible. That’s where door thresholds come in handy. Door thresholds come in a variety of designs, but all are created with the intention of covering potentially unsightly transitions between carpets.

What visual options are available with door thresholds?

All types of door thresholds are available in a number of different materials, finishes and designs. For example, Joint Door Thresholds are all aluminium at their core, however they also include a choice of bronze, chrome, pewter and many more options for the covering. Likewise, you can also find Posh Door Thresholds which include an intricate pattern between the two outer sections of the door threshold. Or, if you’d prefer something that isn’t metallic, why not take a look into some Symwood Door Thresholds? These are a great way to bring a natural look to the room transition.

Which door threshold is right for you?

Whilst there is no ‘right’ choice for anyone, the variant of door threshold that you pick should always be to your tastes. It’s also a good idea to try to match the design of the door threshold with the overall aesthetic of your home and the floor coverings; however this is entirely up to you. With a little research into the various options, it’s easy to find the door thresholds that are just perfect for your 

Now that you’ve got the low-down on door thresholds, you can start to explore the full range we have on offer here at Stair Rods Direct. Feel free to check out our online shop at your leisure, or call one of our friendly team on 0845 838 8638 and hit us with your door threshold questions.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Rugs; How are they Made?

How Rugs Are Made: What Is A Loom?

As one of the leading rug retailers in the UK, it’s very easy for us at Rugs Direct to assume that everyone knows the ins-and-outs of rug manufacture. But actually, in a world of mass production, it seems very few folks really know how rugs are made. With that in mind, in today’s blog post we’d like to explain what a loom is and its role in the creation of modern and traditional rugs.

The loom: a definition

In a nutshell, a loom is a mechanical device or tool that is used to tightly knit threads together in order to create a rug or other fabric-based object. Looms can be found in both manual and automatic forms, both of which share similar core concepts. It wasn’t until looms were able to be produced on a large scale that mass production of rugs became a real possibility. Without looms, we wouldn’t be here at all! Having said that, there is still a place for hand-woven and tufted rugs, many of which are selected due to their personal touch.

How do looms work?

A loom mechanically weaves two threads together to form the final piece. To do this, it interlaces the two threads at 90-degree angles. The horizontal threads are known as the weft, and these are pulled through the vertical threads, which as known as the warp. Most looms include a small device called a shuttle which actually guides the threads during the interlacing process. During Victorian times, mechanised looms included a flying shuttle, which allowed the weft to interlace the warp faster than any human being could.

How looms create patterns

In order to produce the intricate designs that you see on many modern and traditional rugs today, most large-scale looms will use a series of wires known as heddles. These heddles will hold the warp threads in certain places (usually either forward or back) in order to create the specific pattern required for that rug. Likewise, different coloured threads can be used as the weft or warp in order to create certain areas of the design in the correct colours. Large mechanised looms can have many hundreds of threads being woven at any one time – it really is quite a sight to behold!

If this quick guide to how a loom works has inspired you to find a new rug, you can check out our full range online. Or you call one of our friendly team on 0845 838 8638 anytime. 

Monday, 12 January 2015

Kick Back and De-stress in 2015 with Our Top Tips

Kick Back and De-stress in 2015 with Our Top Tips

It’s no secret that we’re living more stressful lives than ever, with a turbulent global climate and multiple sources of stress and strain. If you’re suffering from the effects of stress, don’t despair – there are many ways that you can tackle the issue head-on. So kick back, put your feet up, and take a look at our top de-stressing tips for 2015.

Work more efficiently

If the problem that’s keeping you up at night is a hectic work schedule that you can’t get through, you need to work smarter – not harder. To do that, why not try a new method of working, such as the Pomodoro technique? Break your working day down into several uninterrupted 25-minute sessions (no phone, internet or anything else), following by short rest breaks. This can be an amazing way to get a lot done.

Take the right supplements

As always, you should check with your GP before taking any supplements, but there are a number of herbal remedies known to help alleviate stress and anxiety. Chamomile tea, for example, is a great way to take the weight off your mind. Valerian root is another herb that’s often used to tackle stress, and can be found in many supplement shops.

Change your interior design

You know what they say: de-clutter your space, de-clutter your mind – and it’s really quite true. Ensure that your home or office is in good tidy order to reduce stress and strain. Likewise, you can try out adding some new touches like a fresh modern rug or new furniture. It could give you the pep you need.

Try out some meditation

Believe it or not, meditation is hugely popular at the moment. More specifically, mindfulness meditation. This form of relaxing, peaceful introspection is designed to bring your attention purely into the present moment – and it’s even recommended by the NHS. Forget what you think you know about meditation; it really is a genuinely effective tactic in the reduction of stress and anxiety. Don’t believe us? Take 10 minutes out of your day to sit, focus on your breathing, and clear your mind. There are plenty of guides out there to help too.

We hope some of these tips will help you take the stress out of your life in 2015. Have a question about any of the rugs we sell in our online rug shop? Just visit the store now or call us today on 0845 838 8638.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Vintage Louis de Poortere Rugs, a new Year Renaissance

Are Vintage Rugs Having a New Year Renaissance?

If there's one area of interior design that's been a firm favourite in recent months, it's vintage. From classic television sets to quirky 60s-style furniture, the vintage aesthetic seems set to get even bigger in 2015. In fact, vintage rugs are one area of design that have already been gaining traction -- particularly with our customers here at Rugs Direct.

So to kick off the New Year with a bang, we thought we’d explore some of the best vintage rug options that you may be interested in including in your home this year. 

Young Urbanite Beetle Green Rug

If you’re looking to add a touch of 60s inspired chic to any room in your house, you can’t go wrong with this Young Urbanite Beetle Green vintage rug. Manufactured by well-known rug maker Louis De Poortere, this rug is made from the finest wool and chenille on wilton jacquard looms. This adds a subtle intricacy to a pattern which is already instantly eye-catching. This is a vintage rug that will bring true life and vitality to a room.

Multi Black & White Vintage Rug

Another rug from renowned designer Louis de Poortere, this Multi Black & White vintage rug takes us to the other end of the colour spectrum. Featuring a flatweave pile for a thinner yet more hard-wearing pile, the rug is a real exploration of details. Hemmed edges draw focus to the individual patterns on each of the squares that make up this vintage rug – giving it a unique ‘multiple personality’.

Heriz Perisian Pink Vintage Rug

Does this vintage rug even need any introduction? A real explosion of hot pink colour, it’s understandable that a design like this Heriz Perisian Pink vintage rug won’t fit every home. However, for the right person and in the right context, this beautiful pink vintage rug can really make an impression. A durable design with a 5mm flatweave pile, the vintage rug includes a hand-sewn finish for that extra personal touch that other vintage rugs can’t match.

If you’ve not yet made a decision on which interior design you’ll be exploring in 2015, why not start with a vintage rug? You can explore our full range of rugs in our online shop. Or, if you have any questions about vintage rugs or any of the other countless designs we have on offer, just call 0845 838 8638. And before we forget: Happy New Year! 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Rugs, a History of.

The Fascinating History of the Rugs in the UK

When most people think about rugs and carpets, it’s likely that images of far-flung oriental places will instantly jump to mind. But believe it or not there is actually a very rich heritage and history behind the rugs manufactured right here in the UK.
With that in mind, we thought we'd shed some light on the unique and fascinating history of English rugs... 

The first carpet weavers in the UK 

According to most sources, the very first carpet makers were Flemish, and came to England in the 16th Century. Interestingly, many of these settlers came to live in the Norwich area in Norfolk, where they continued to make carpets and rugs. As such, the first carpets made in the UK are sometimes referred to as 'Norwich carpets'. In terms of the designs these carpet weavers chose, many examples seem to be inspired by carpets from around the world -- including India and Persia. The only remaining carpets from this early in the history of rugs are several examples from the Exeter and Axminster areas. Naturally, due to the carpets being over 400 years old, they are kept in extremely controlled conditions -- so you're unlikely to see any adorning a floor near you!

The rise of Axminster carpets

In the year 1755, a man called Thomas Whitty established a factory in Axminster, Devon, and began production of a carpet which still has some visible influences in the machine-made carpets sold today. By the time the factory closed in 1835, many advances in carpet-making technology had been made – including those similar to velvet and chenille methods. Today, Axminster carpet is still available in three different forms: tufted, hand-knotted or machine-woven. It is the latter type that remains the most popular in England.

Modern carpets and rugs in the UK

The heritage of English rugs and carpets which began in places like Axminster and Wilton is still recognisable in the form of machine-woven designs. Generally speaking, the hand-tufted rugs are sourced from places such as Egypt, India and Africa, but due to the Industrial Revolution and advances in machinery within the UK, machine-woven led the way. One of the key benefits of rugs made by machine is that they are highly durable, often lasting more than thirty years.

If you’re in the market for a high quality rug (from the UK or anywhere else), why not check out our full range? Or, if you have any questions, quiz our experts now on 0845 8388638.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Rugs in your New Year's Resolutions

The 6 Most Common New Year's Resolutions for 2015

With the New Year now upon us, many of us have spent the last few days concocting our wishes for the year ahead. But what are the most common New Year’s resolutions, and which ones are also yours? Let’s find out…

6. To quit smoking

Cigarette smoking has dropped by over 30% in the last decade due to active campaigning and things like Stoptober, but it’s still a popular habit in the UK. It’s no surprise, then, that lots of folks want to spend 2015 kicking the habit and finally becoming a non-smoker.

5. To pay off existing debt

It’s not just smoking that’s a thorn in many of our sides – money can be too. And that’s why a lot of us are aiming to pay off as much debt as we can in the coming year and start to save. Whether that’s for travel, a new house, car or anything else – being debt-free is a goal many of us share.

4. To travel more

It’s a big world out there, and there’s a lot to see. For that reason and more besides, a lot of us will be choosing to travel more in 2015. And with fuel prices dropping to record lows, it looks like it’ll be more affordable than ever before.

3. To find a new job

If you’ve been a little bored or feeling stuck in your job, why not join the thousands of others with a resolution to find a new one? It can sometimes be a great wind of change in your life, and could set you on the path to true success. Of course, if you already have the job of your dreams – stay put!

2. To improve the interior décor of your home

Could your home do with a facelift? If so, you’re not alone. Many of us have set a resolution to improve the interior décor of our homes. That could be the wallpaper, design of the space, or even a simple addition of a quality rug (like those we sell in our shop at Rugs Direct). You might be surprised at what a difference a rug can make!

1. To get fit and lose weight

You probably saw this one coming, and that’s because it tops the resolution charts every year. With Christmas being a time to indulge and enjoy ourselves, January is often packed with joggers and gym-goers. If you fall under this umbrella, now is a great time to nab some deals on gym memberships – just make sure you use it!