A Smarter Rug: Modular, Sustainable Felt Tiles

These geometric felt carpet tiles create less waste and are easy to replace.

Modular carpet, built in small tiles rather than giant rolls, has a few sustainable-design superpowers. It's scalable, so it can better fit any space without waste; you buy only as many tiles as you need, so you won't end up needing to trim off as much excess. If you drop a glass of wine and the stain doesn't come out, you can replace only the tiles that were casualties. With ordinary carpet, if one corner gets damaged and you want it to look better, you'd need to throw out the entire carpet.

Since carpet tends to get worn only in certain areas—we walk in patterns through rooms, rather than wearing out areas next to walls or under furniture—it's also easier to keep looking new, just by replacing the particular pieces that need it. It's easy to put together and usually doesn't need to be glued or stapled down. It can also be packaged more efficiently, saving space (and, as a result, fuel) in transportation.

There are a few different carpet tile manufacturers out there, including the pioneering FLOR , created by sustainable-design guru Ray Anderson. The design above, called Cityscapes , is from a Slovakian design firm called ALLT , and inspired by patterns found in street pavements. Though it may be hard to get—unless you happen to live in Prague, where it's being sold—it's an inspiring use of geometric design that goes beyond carpet tiles' usual square shapes.

Images courtesy of ALLT .