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May 28, 2019

Can carpet be a trend in new food & drink fit outs, please?

All we want is to dine in peace, but the recent concrete-and-tile-everything trend in restaurants and bars has really gotten in the way of that. Carpet needs to make a comeback.

Borsa Cucina Restaurant with red carpet
  • Words: Geena Ho

These days, the hallmark of any hip, new brunch place is the minimalistic design, high ceilings, and clean, hard surfaces. Gone are the days when carpet would roll over the exciting new restaurant floor. But, with the noise-minimising features of carpeted flooring, we feel carpet needs to make a comeback in 2019.

One of our favourite restaurants, Borsa Pasta Cucina, cuts against the hardwood grain with their plush red pile – and the experience of dining there in a full and rowdy restaurant is considerably different thanks to that layer of softness underfoot.

According to Restaurant Manager and co-owner of Borsa Pasta Cucina, Ernesto Sestito, the worldwide number one complaint in restaurants is noise.


This article was created in collaboration with Carpet Court

Since 2014 the Grenfell Plaza pasta joint has followed in the footsteps of influential restaurants, like Melbourne’s highly-acclaimed Attica, and bucked the hardwood trend in favour of carpet.

“I think generally, we love noise because it makes it feel like you’re in the right place,” Ernesto says. But while initially considering the advantages of noise in a dining environment, Ernesto also recognises the need for balance.

Borsa Pasta Cucina: Quiet sophistication thanks to some plush pile

“For us, we’re at the base of a building. We’ve probably got a lot of hard places so we needed to definitely take control of noise and help as much as we could,” he says.

“I think the carpet is fantastic for small places. If it was a bigger site, I’m not sure how it would work. Right now, I can get it cleaned regularly, it’s easy to do, but if I had double the size, I’m not sure.”

While carpet’s main practical function is noise control, another notable characteristic is its ability to entirely transform the look and feel of a space. With a sea of maroon flooring, Borsa emits a soft aura of warmth, intimacy, and comfort.

“It definitely adds to a look for us. With visuals and sound, you’re taking care of quite a couple of the big senses there,” Ernesto says.

The recent move away from traditional carpeting in the hospitality industry follows a trend in hygiene. With the ability to use soap, water, and other cleaning agents quickly and effectively, hardwood flooring may seem like the only way to go for many restaurant owners. However, Ernesto insists there are alternatives to cleaning carpet that don’t always require unnecessary effort.

Carpet Court National Merchandise Manager Brett Talbot suggests carpet tiling as a viable solution in a number of commercial applications, with restaurants fitting snugly in this category. Carpet tiles are an affordable and effective way to ensure your room’s aesthetic remains relevant and flexible as design trends evolve.

“The reduction in noise is significant, the tiles are low maintenance and, if you damage a tile, the ease of replacement is simple,” says Brett.

“The time it takes to install the tile, along with minimal floor preparation, allows the opportunity for a cleaner and faster approach to business.”

Mother and daughter in carpeted lounge

New restaurant or lounge room?


Carpet can and, CityMag believes, it should have a place in the hospitality world and it definitely shouldn’t be discounted so quickly.

“Each restaurant owner has a particular look in mind. The carpet, the rug, it can come in many ways, so it depends on what their mission statement is. If you get more traffic, in and out, in and out, then definitely hardwood might be better,” Ernesto says.

“It goes back to if you’re getting 90 customers for $100 a head or if you’re getting 200 customers at $50 a head. Both of those will require different flooring, for sure.”

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