Buying a carpet can be intimidating. It requires commitment: it tends to be a small item neither in price nor in size. It can be something of an investment – but one which you’ll be in intimate contact with for a long time. You want a carpet that feels good under bare feet, that feels good to the bank account, and that you won’t tire of. Oh, and that doesn’t emit toxic fumes or do other nasty things to the environment. 

This is a lot of requirements for a rug, especially if you take the “not break the bank” aspect seriously. One solution (besides hardwood floors) comes from FLOR. They’re a web-based, 10-year-old Chicago company that makes modular carpet tiles of such variety and with such intelligent design that you can find countless solutions to the carpet commitment problem. And they’ve just opened a store in Portland’s Pearl District.

Actually, you won’t just find solutions, you can create your own. And that’s how the bricks and mortar storefront for FLOR is a bonus. There, you can sift through the samples, throw down some tiles on the floor, get feedback from a design salesperson, touch the textures and peruse the patterns and colors to come up with the best solution for your particular space. (Then when you get it all home, you can change your mind if you want!)

Image: Kristin Belz
Stripes, solids, brights and bolds are all available. So are muted tweeds and Berbers and shades of beige, bone and oatmeal.

FLOR’s carpet tiles come in 20-inch squares that attach (and detach and re-attach) at your will, with little stickers that hold the tiles to each other without tacking them to the floor. The removable stickers take some of the permanence out of the commitment problem – you literally could rearrange multi-colored tiles whenever you wanted. And the price – about $15/tile for most of the nylon types (100% wool costs more) – makes the serious investment aspect/blow to the bank account much more reasonable than your average carpet option. 

You could start small and add on slowly. You could turn carpet buying into an incremental, iterative process. You could add a stripe as you might add a streak of red or green or blue to your hair (if you’re a Portland hipster, that is.)

You could live with kids and dogs and their attendant accidents and spills without worrying. Example: at the store’s opening the other week, there were several dogs in attendance (presumably shopping with their people). An accident ensued. The affected tile was simply unstuck from its neighbors, washed up, and returned to active duty in a jiffy, clean as new. The FLOR system might even save on therapy costs, it’s so easy. Too bad for Portland area counselors, but good for our quality of life.

Image: Kristin Belz
These folks didn't waste any time at FLOR's opening night August 30: trying out carpet tile configurations at the Pearl District shop, with help from manager Todd Jantz.

FLOR details:

718 NW 11th Avenue

Portland, OR 97209                                  

503-224-3050 

Monday - Saturday - 10am - 6pm

Sunday 11am - 5pm