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Barrier-free floors: Getting even

20110108inset+carpet_opt

Anyone who's tripped over a scatter rug knows they're not called "scatter" or "throw" rugs for nothing.

One of the first rules of home safety for the elderly -- and an order from the occupational therapists who critique patients' homes following orthopedic surgery -- is to toss any throw rugs. Barring that, fasten them securely to the floor -- with tape that will prevent corners from coming loose and tripping you up.

But few of us want bare floors, especially in winter time. And for those who love their hardwood or stone floors, wall-to-wall carpeting everywhere is not the answer.


recessed_carpet_opt One solution is to inset low-pile carpet -- or your favorite Oriental rug -- into the hard flooring so that the transition from one to the other is smooth, as shown here. And where wall-to-wall carpeting meets other floor surfaces, such as at bathroom or kitchen doors, make sure the two butt up against one another, with nothing more elevated than the sometimes-necessary metal strip that keeps the carpet edge from rolling.