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How to choose a carpet and which colours are popular

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We have probably spent more time walking on them than ever before during the pandemic and so you may now be questioning the state of your carpets.

Even if they’re not worn out and have been well cared for, they may be out of date and need replacing with a modern alternative.

But where do you begin when it comes to choosing a carpet and would you know the difference between various styles and textures?

Below our expert recommends some alternative carpet colours to the most popular grey - including emerald green (pictured)

Below our expert recommends some alternative carpet colours to the most popular grey – including emerald green (pictured)

We speak to an flooring expert who explains the difference between a loop, twist and saxony pile, and which colours to choose if you want something different from the greys that have been the popular during the past decade.

Jessica Fox, at Flooring Superstore, said: ‘When choosing the right carpet for your home, lifestyle and trends, there are several factors to consider, including the right style and feel, the room in which the carpet will be placed, the practical demands, colour and underlay option. 

‘With many things to contemplate, it may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be.’

1. Neat and low maintenance or textured and lux?

Carpets come in three styles. These are loop, twist and saxony pile – and the one that’s right for you will depend partly on what overall look and feel you want to achieve.

Mrs Fox explained: ‘A loop pile carpet is when the material is threaded from underneath the carpet and goes up and under again, giving it a loop effect and a more tight, flat look.

‘Its small pile height is extremely robust and perfect for high traffic areas. Loop pile carpets create a neat, uniform look and generally require very little maintenance.’

Meanwhile, a twist pile carpet gives a more textured look. It’s made up of twisted fibres, which are threaded through the backing and remain in place, then another one is started. The pile height on these carpets can vary.

‘Choose a shorter pile height for a neater look or a thicker height for a more luxurious finish,’ explained Mrs Fox.

She went on to say that for an ultra soft texture and two-tone look, a saxony pile is the best option. This is because it is manufactured in a similar way to a twist pile, with the fibres twisted to stand up straight but the end of the pile is cut at an angle to create a soft-to-touch finish.

Also, with a saxony pile carpet, the colouring can differ slightly dependent on the direction of the pile.

2. Room and lifestyle  

Rachel Clark, Alexander James Interiors, agrees that loop pile carpets are perfect – due to their durability and robust qualities – for high traffic areas such as the hallway and stairs of a busy family home. 

‘Twist and Saxony pile carpets are an ideal choice for homeowners looking for something soft and comfortable underfoot, especially in bedrooms and living rooms,’ she said.

However, if you have little furry friends running around, loop pile carpets aren’t really suitable as pets’ claws can catch and pull the thread – although keeping grooming appointments as regular as possible can help avoid any mishaps.

Ms Clark added: ‘There is no better feeling that a soft, plush Saxony carpet between your toes as you enter your bedroom after a long day. Not only do softer, thicker pile carpets in bedrooms add a luxurious look and feel, they are also perfect for soundproofing between floors of the house.’

‘Carpets on staircases not only give a cosier look to a home, but many also find them safer due to their non-slip nature.’

3. Underlay and comfort

Along with choosing the right carpet, you will need to make sure you consider which underlay to go with it.

Mrs Fox explained that underlay can extend the lifespan of a carpet by up to 50 per cent, reducing noise levels, improving air quality, minimising heat loss, reducing utility bills and providing greater comfort.

‘Underlay is made up of millions of tiny fibres, which are natural insulators, trapping cold air travelling up through the floor to ensure it doesn’t make its way into the home,’ she said.

‘As a result, the home becomes naturally warmer meaning there’s less reliance on energy-intensive heat sources.’

Underlay is available in different thickness, for example 8mm, 10mm and 12mm. The thicker the underlay, the higher the insulation level, comfort and noise reduction.

Along with the right carpet, you will need to make sure you consider which underlay to go with

Along with the right carpet, you will need to make sure you consider which underlay to go with

4. Colour and trends

Mrs Fox explained that nearly a quarter – 24.6 per cent – of flooring sold at Flooring Superstore is grey, reflective of the trends that have occurred in the last 10 years.

She added: ‘If you’re looking for something different or an insight into future trends, other popular carpet colour choices include ivy and white, neutrals – such as beige or sand -, rich chocolate hues, bold blues and jewel tones, especially emerald green.’

5. Sustainability

‘There are new innovations in the market to make sustainable carpets more readily available.

For example, Serene is a new range of eco-friendly carpets made from recycled products rescued from the ocean.

The two lines – Neptune and Poseidon – are manufactured using ECONYL®, a unique yarn made from recycled nylon fishing nets.

As well as abandoned fishing nets, Serene carpets incorporate other waste materials recovered from the ocean.

Its eco-textile backing – Eco FusionBac – is manufactured out of recycled PET plastic bottles.

Mrs Fox said: ‘The aim of the range is to give waste products a new purpose after being removed from the ocean, while making the water cleaner and safer.’

6. Try before you buy

And finally… Mrs Fox recommends visiting a showroom – if possible – to see and feel the carpet for yourself, especially if the store has technology available to help see what the carpet looks like in different settings.

This is because carpet is a very tactile product, and the different thicknesses and colours can look different in different lights. 

‘Alternatively, you can order samples so you can check the quality, texture and appearance in the light of your own home,’ she concluded. 

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Lighthouse workers end up with front-row seats for Storm Barra

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Four lighthouse workers who went to Fastnet Lighthouse in west Cork to carry out maintenance on Friday ended up having front-row seats for Storm Barra as they had to stay onsite due to the conditions.

The lighthouse recorded a wind gust of 159km/h on Tuesday morning but Irish Lights electronic engineer Paul Barron said that it was a safe place to be as the country battened down the hatches to face the storm.

Mr Barron and his colleagues Ronnie O’Driscoll, Dave Purdy and Malcolm Gillies made the journey to Fastnet on Friday to do maintenance work and were due back on Tuesday but their helicopter flight was cancelled because of the storm. They hope to arrive back on the mainland on Thursday.

Mr Barron said they are passing their time onsite by watching Netflix and having a few steaks and rashers. He admitted it was a day to remember on the lighthouse which is 54 metres above the sea.

“There is a team of four of us out here. It has been quite a rough day. We started off this morning at around 2am and by 10am or 11am we were in the eye of the storm. I was in the merchant Navy before as a radio officer so I have seen a lot of bad weather. I am with Irish Lights 32 years but I haven’t normally seen it like this. We wouldn’t normally be out in this. You are talking 9m swells with winds gusting up to 90 knots.”

He captured some footage of the storm on his phone. During the worst of the weather the men found it hard to hear each other as it was so noisy during the squalls.

The tower was “shuddering a bit” but Mr Barron managed to shoot video footage which attracted attention online and even a call from Sky News.

He says the lighthouse has kitchen facilities and they always bring additional food in case of emergency.

“It could be a fine summer’s day and there could be thick fog and the chopper wouldn’t take off so we always bring extra food. We are passing the time by watching Netflix! This is a good place to be in the eye of a storm. This lighthouse has been built a hundred years so it has seen a lot of storms.”

As for families being concerned about the men Mr Barron jokes that their loved ones are probably relieved they aren’t at home hogging the remote control.

Meanwhile, in Cork city centre the river Lee spilled on to quays and roads on Tuesday morning but no major damage to property was caused. Debris and falling trees kept local authority crews busy and power outages were reported in a number of areas across the county.

At least 23 properties were flooded in Bantry in west Cork. The council had placed sandbags along the quay wall and the fire brigade had six manned pumps around the town.

In north Cork, a lorry driver had a lucky escape in Fermoy when his vehicle overturned on the motorway during the high winds. Traffic diversions were put in place following the incident.

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Top tips on how to avoid a large energy bill this winter

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Five easy tips and five things to avoid to get the most from your heating this winter – and dodge a big energy bill

  • We reveal some simple steps to lowering your heating bills this winter 
  • Tips include tucking curtains in behind your radiators to stop heat escaping










Rising energy bills mean the cost of keeping warm is an issue for many households this winter.

But there are some simple steps that can be taken to reduce your energy bill without compromising on keeping cosy.

We take a look at 10 top tips for saving money on your heating, which include things to do and things to avoid doing. 

These include tucking curtains in behind your radiators to stop heat escaping, while not putting clothes on the radiators to dry, as this will block the heat from dispersing through the room.

We provide a list of little fixes that will help to keep your energy bills low this winter

We provide a list of little fixes that will help to keep your energy bills low this winter

John Lawless, of designer radiator company BestHeating, said: ‘Winter weather always sparks the debate around leaving your heating on low all-day versus a couple of hours a day. 

‘Sure, your boiler will have to work a little harder to heat up a cold home when you first switch it on but having it on constantly will use more energy than just switching it on when you need it.

‘The best thing to do to lower bills and keep warm is to insulate your home, prevent draughts, and set up better heating controls. Don’t have the heating on full whack in a room you don’t use, just heat the room you spend the most time in.

‘Our advice is to heat smarter. You can’t control the weather but you can control your heating and how your home loses that heat.’

NetVoucherCodes.co.uk agrees, saying: ‘Saving energy can help you be more energy-efficient and considerate of the environment, but it’s also a great way to save money.’

Here are the top ten tips…

The things you can do

1. Use thick curtains

Having thicker curtains helps reduce the amount of colder air coming in, while also helping to reduce the amount of hot air escaping.

The thicker the material, the more heat will be contained. Also tuck your curtains behind your radiator to stop even more heat escaping.

INSULATING PIPES 

Pipes can be insulated by covering them with a foam tube. 

This includes the pipes between a hot water cyclinder and a boiler. 

That will reduce the amount of heat lost and keep your water hot for longer. 

It is as simple as choosing the correct size from a DIY store and then slipping it around the pipes.

2. Cover up exposed pipes

Exposed pipes allow for heat to escape easily. Try covering them in an insulating material to maximise their efficiency.

3. Only heat the rooms you spend most time in

Heating rooms in your home that you don’t spend much time in will not only be a waste of energy, but also a waste of your money.

4. Cover up draughts

You can lose a lot of heat from gaps in your doors and window frames. Make sure you fill in these gaps with a draught proof material, such as draught-proof strips or even just a thick cloth for a quick solution.

5. Turn your thermostat down by one degree celsius

Experts have proven that reducing the temperature of your home by one degree celsius saves you up to £80 a year.

Drying clothes on your radiator will block the heat from dispersing through the room

Drying clothes on your radiator will block the heat from dispersing through the room

Things to avoid

1. Dry your clothes on the radiator

Drying clothes on your radiator will block the heat from dispersing through the room and will have to be left on much longer to have the same effect without a blockage.

2. Keep the heating on all day

Your home will take longer to heat up if you keep turning it on and off, but it will save you more money by putting your heating on a timer for a few hours a day. Try setting a timer on your boiler, so it only turns on for a few hours a day.

3. Allow your radiators to get dirty

If you notice any cold spots at the bottom of your radiators when the heating is on full this could mean you have a build-up of sludge in the system.

This stops the hot water circulating properly, stopping your radiators from getting hot enough when you need the heating the most. Give your radiators a good clean to make sure you aren’t wasting money on heating.

4. Turn your thermostat above 18 degrees Celsius

Research shows that the average thermostat setting in Britain is 20.8 degrees celsius. However, experts have stated that 18 degrees celsius is warm enough for a healthy and well dressed person to remain comfortable during winter. This will be controversial suggestiong for many, for whom 18 degrees might feel a bit chilly – and how you feel at 18 degree central heating will depend on how well your home is insulated.

5. Don’t place large furniture in front of your radiator

Blocking your radiator with furniture, such as sofa or a table, will stop the flow of warm air. This blockage will cause your boiler to work harder to heat your home, resulting in expensive heating bills.

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Woman receives multiple injuries after fall from height at apartment building in Cork

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A woman has been taken to hospital following a fall fro a balcony at an apartment building in Cork city centre on Tuesday morning.

Gardaí and the emergency services were called to an apartment building on Meade Street off Sullivan’s Quay in Cork city centre following reports of a woman in her late twenties or early thirties falling from a height.

The woman incurred multiple injuries after falling from a balcony three storeys high shortly after 8.30am today.

Cork City Fire Brigade, gardaí and paramedics attended at the scene.

The woman was rushed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital where she is being treated for non life-threatening injuries. She is in a serious condition and was slipping in and out of consciousness whilst being treated on the ground by paramedics.

Gardaí are conducting an investigation to examine the circumstances of the fall. It is not thought that the incident is related to Storm Barra in Cork city.

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