Flooring and floor coverings make a huge impact in a home.
By their very nature, they cover a lot of square footage and set the tone for a room. So, carefully choosing what goes on your home's floors is vital.
"We are seeing more of our customers recently choose 'cut and loop' textured wall-to-wall carpets, which have a slight pattern," said Michael Kautz Sr., owner of Michael Kautz Carpets and Designs of Mount Prospect. "They like the small graphics in the carpet because it gives a more interesting look to the room."
Flat, plush carpets are no longer as popular as they once were. Instead, these patterned carpets feature a combination of looped and cut fibers to create multilevel patterns and textures that range from structured grids and lattices, to abstract lines and geometric shapes.
In most cases, Kautz said, his customers choose light, neutral colors for this wall-to-wall carpeting in rooms, while they opt for bolder colors and patterns on stairs and in hallways.
"Sculptured carpet goes with every style -- from traditional to transitional to contemporary -- and it makes an impression when you walk into a room. You immediately notice it," he said.
"Twenty-five years ago, 75 to 80 percent of rooms in the Midwest featured wall-to-wall carpeting," Kautz said. "But today, preferences have changed. I would estimate that 40 percent of rooms today are carpeted while 20 percent feature vinyl flooring and the other 40 percent have hardwood or ceramic tile on the floors. Many people today enjoy the look of a wood floor with an area rug over part of it. People see wood floors as more valuable than carpet over plywood floors."
The area rugs homeowners choose to place over wood floors are generally done in geometrics or florals and feature bold colors, Kautz said.
"My personal favorite is to see Oriental-look rugs in hallways and going up the stairs. I think that is one of the nicest looks. It really sparks up a house and gives it a unique look," he said.
Homeowners are also placing area rugs over vinyl and ceramic tile floors.
"We are now offering vinyl floors that look just like hardwood but are not damaged by water. They are particularly popular in kitchens, basements and entryways. Pergo and laminate seem to be falling in popularity because if they get wet, you have to completely replace them. Vinyl, on the other hand, is virtually indestructible," Kautz said. "We even have some vinyl that looks just like ceramic tile and is even grouted. The advantage to it is that it is warmer on the feet than ceramic tile and it looks so much like ceramic that you have to touch it to know the difference."
Vinyl floors that look like wood or ceramic have effectively taken over the basement floor covering market, Kautz said.
"Even though you can glue down pad-less carpet in a basement and then wet-vac the water very effectively, people are opting for vinyl flooring in their basements."
The Kautz family has been involved in the flooring business for five generations -- since the early part of the last century when Kautz's great-grandfather became a carpet installer and his son followed in his footsteps.
It was Kautz's father, Ray, who first entered the retail side of the business, opening Carpets by Ray and Sons in 1969. Michael took over the family business in 1984, changing the name to Michael Kautz Carpets, and now his sons, Joe and Mike, are also part of the business.
"We offer 25 to 30 times more carpet samples than a big box store and all of our carpet is on the middle to higher end of the quality scale," Kautz said. "Customers can actually walk into our storefront showroom and talk to someone who is knowledgeable about carpet and flooring and be sure that, 10 years down the road, if they have further needs, we will still be here.
"We are also proud to say that we have our own staff of installers for wood, carpet, vinyl and tile. We don't hire subcontractors to do our work."
Michael Kautz Carpets and Designs has also branched out in recent years. It now has its own carpet cleaning business and the company has gotten into kitchen and bath remodeling. It has a kitchen/bath showroom on the second floor of its building at 730 E. Northwest Highway, Mount Prospect.
For more information about Michael Kautz Carpets and Designs, call (847) 394-8200 or visit www.michaelkautz.com.