Area Rugs

- Sunday, May 01, 2011

“I want a totally different look for the new house, but I’m not sure where to begin,” my friend, neighbor, and new client told me as we sat in the living room of her existing home to discuss her new project. She and her husband had decided to downsize to a smaller home and they had found an ideal one, literally down the street. Recently renovated, it was filled with light and she wanted her new décor to celebrate the open, airy, and modern feel of the home.

While we chatted about her desire for a fresh and bright interior for the new home I surveyed the furnishings and contents of the living room and the adjacent dining room. I made a mental note of the ivory sofas and beautiful antique side tables and chests. It was then that I noticed the gray rug pads on the floor where I knew beautiful Oriental rugs once resided. “Where are your rugs?” I asked her. She informed me they had been sent out for appraisal and cleaning, and she was hoping to trade them with the dealer for something new. “Well, that’s where we are going to begin!” I exclaimed. “That will be our stating point.”

I love rugs and relish any opportunity to look at them in a showroom, especially when I get to help choose them for a client. For me, when designing a room, the ideal situation is to start with a rug, whether it be an existing one the client already owns or the selection of a new one. An area rug can be the focal point and set the tone for a room or anchor it and subdue the palette.

Rugs can be both practical and decorative. In addition to providing warmth, color, and pattern, area rugs can also anchor the seating groups within a room to create an island and make it more intimate. They can give pop to a subdued space.
When choosing an area rug there are so many factors to consider and explore. Styles can range from traditional Orientals, to ethnic tribal patterns, to modern and contemporary. Natural hides or woven textural grasses and fibers like sisal and seagrass can also be selected.

Sizes, shapes, and placement are also important. Rectangular rugs are perhaps the most common, with standard sizes such as 6 by 9 or 9 by 12 foot being the most popular. Round rugs under breakfast tables or in foyers are also options. I found an unusual 10 foot square rug at an auction in Savannah to use under the round table in my dining room. Animal skins provide a unique, irregular shape to be used in conjunction with larger rugs or even layered on top of them. And a runner can add both interest and pattern to a hallway and some acoustic insulation to foot traffic.

If you cannot find what you are looking for then explore having a custom design made for you. It is easier than you think and probably a lot more affordable than you expected. Imagine being able to pick the pattern and motifs you desire executed in the colors you want to compliment your décor.

A few weeks later my client and I went to her rug dealer’s showroom to look at his inventory. We chose two complimentary rugs for the living and dining rooms in a very light palette with subtle tones of predominantly ivory, tan, and wheat. Subtle accents of watery blue and terra cotta are present in the patterns and I will play upon these in pillows and accessories in the rooms. The overall effect will be calming and welcoming and will not detract from the ivory walls and abundance of light streaming in the spaces. It will help create the new look my client is dreaming of for her new home.

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