Great home design is all about the balance between practicality and comfort. Hall closets, showers over bathtubs, and conveniently placed light switches are all hallmarks of this essential design principle.
A big part of this is also the practical choice of home materials. Ask anyone the best choice for kitchen flooring, and your answers will range from laminate to slab. The same goes for bathrooms, and the reason why is easy to see: When there is water and mess, you need a moppable floor.
So why do so many homes in the UK have carpeted kitchens and bathrooms? This is a question that has perplexed many visitors and online gallery viewers alike. English kitchen and bathroom carpets are a trend that peaked decades past, but you will still see a predominance of rugs and integral carpets in kitchens and bathrooms throughout the United Kingdom.
Why are English Bathrooms and Kitchens Carpeted?
You may have visited England recently and encountered one of these rare home installations. A few decades ago, wall-to-wall (or cabinet-to-cabinet) carpeting was a popular choice in the UK because of the common use of floor rugs. In England, kitchen rugs have long been used as a type of fatigue mat (now vougely made out of foam and rubber) and to limit the floor-level drafts through the house.
Looking only at trends, you can see how a preference for floor rugs in kitchens and bathrooms could lead someone to install wall-to-wall carpeting or room-sized area rugs in these areas. As impractical as the final result might seem, it does serve a purpose.
Of course, if you ask our English neighbors why they do it, the answer is similar across the board: It's cold.
English Floors are Cold
The one thing we may all be missing is that hard floors are very cold in England. The UK islands are much further north than most people realize, and the weather is notoriously tempestuous. This makes ambient cold and chilling wind a part of everyday life. In a traditional tile-floored kitchen, that can mean freezing temperatures on your early-morning feet - slippers or no.
This is why kitchen rugs, even large kitchen rugs, are so common and why English bathrooms are sometimes fully carpeted. It's to keep feet warm. And a little extra cleaning is worth the thousand mornings and late-night snacks with warm feet.
UK Kitchen and Bathroom Rug Trends
Cold floors led to the rug trend in UK kitchens in bathrooms. Woven rugs are a tradition so old there's no pin-pointing their exact origin. Stone and tile floors have always been cold and if you look, you'll find a variety of cold-kitchen-floor solutions throughout UK history. The bathmats natural to bathroom design simply expanded to cover the entire floor so there was no cold space to step on.
From this trend, you can see how installed carpets could become a decision of expedience. Homes that had already perfected cleaning rugs used in the kitchen tried out wall-to-wall carpets in the kitchen and bathroom - or sometimes just a patch of installed carpet where it was most wanted.
While the trend for built-in carpets in English bathrooms and kitchens has faded, you can still find a few examples over the isles.
Waterproof Carpets for this Unique Niche
Interestingly, this trend has created a unique niche for one type of carpet: waterproof washable carpets. Types of artificial carpet fiber can be crafted to reduce floor chill without absorbing moisture. If you happened to love English carpeted kitchen and bathroom designs, these artificial fibers have come a long way since the initial trend.
Thinking about unique design ideas for your kitchen and bathroom? We can help. Here at Edesia Kitchen & Bath, we specialize in helping homeowners bring their renovation ideas to life. Contact us to discuss your bathroom and kitchen remodeling plans today.