It’s one of my favourite ever Vic and Bob Sketches: Bob needs a lucky charm. Vic boasts about his ‘lucky’ ten foot long roll of beige carpet and honours it with an hilarious song (which is also oddly inspiring.)
I have written before about the curse of the rampaging non-colours used when decoration is imposed in rented housing. The only creativity being shown is in the rainbow of new names invented: oatmeal, greige, beige, toast, ivory, magnolia, cream, apple white, rose white etc etc.
The mantra when letting (or especially selling) a property, so as not to frighten potential takers is ‘neutral tones,’ condemning renters to a bleak empty world of non-colour, where bright hues are banned and vibrancy disdained and forbidden. You’d never imagine that something so simple as a bland floor-covering could cause so much misery.
But it does. The reason for its omnipresence is thrift (aka miserliness): such carpet can be bought in bulk and is easy to replace while still charging tenants for the privilege.
Cream/beige (even white, for crying out loud) carpet has a magnetic effect on espresso and red wine. Landlords: I ask you, would you put pale carpet in your kitchen? Would you put carpet in your kitchen at all? It’s another common landlord habit: putting carpet in the kitchen, as moppable lino/tiles are more expensive, lumbering tenants with a problem: they are fined from the deposit for dirty conditions, and if you cook, then you spill - on to a beige carpet, which will never clean, since it is the cheapest carpet ever, and is put there solely to beckon grease and blueberries (they stain when crushed into the floor) and anything that drops and leaves a mark, with the renter kissing that intact deposit goodbye.
Now I’ll make the case for tenants to argue reasonable wear and tear here, when laminate resonates and amplifies every step, whisper and sniff. But in a kitchen? In a bathroom? In the hall on the way through from the muddy untended garden?
There are so many better ways of covering a floor, something which matters in these days of contested safe-guarded deposits and long-term renting: it’s not homely. It’s not how people live. It makes life nerve-wracking: factor in a house with kids, or a muddy garden, and you have disaster of permanent footprints and a row with the owner about why, why, why on earth for god’s sake why they put uncleanable, easily stained cream to beige carpet in the house at all, let alone (good grief) in the kitchen? As you step over traces of dinners long past: borscht, tomato sauce, red currents every mark, every stain is money lost.
Tenants often pay up to keep a good reference and landlords deploy another swathe of that vast roll of carpet stored in the property (this is a true story: tenant fined in the knowledge owner had bought and stored bulk carpet in the tenants loft.)
So: don’t put that cheap, unlucky beige carpet in the kitchen. Don’t put it anywhere at all. Then tenants won’t need to carry around a roll of ‘lucky’ beige carpet.