There are several details that go into a room to make it feel complete. While some of these details are specific to certain types of rooms, others are totally universal. Area rugs fall into the latter category. Whether it’s a chic little mat in a powder room or an expansive antique rug in a living room, area rugs are a necessary element. Similar to window treatments though (as we discussed in a recent post) clients would often prefer to spend their budget elsewhere and leave their floors bare and, as a result, their toes cold! Beyond comfort though, a rug defines the space in question and anchors your furniture. Rugs also have the magical ability to tie everything together plus they can add necessary colour and texture. Here are four things to keep in mind when searching for an area rug…
Size is Everything
For centuries people have asked the age-old question, does size matter?! Well, if we’re talking about area rugs, it absolutely does! For individual rooms, we find it’s a common error to select a size that is far too small, resulting in the rug looking like an awkward little postage stamp in the middle. Keep the layout of your furniture in mind and select a rug that will allow at least the front-ends of sofas, chairs and beds to sit on top. If the rug has a thicker pile, things like side and end tables should either be completely on or completely off the rug to avoid wobbling. We’re not suggesting you select a rug so big that it starts to resemble wall-to-wall carpet but find that sweet spot. It should be big enough so that it anchors the room and furniture, provides comfort and coverage where needed, but still leaves a border of flooring around the edge. The photos above illustrate this perfectly in our clients’ gorgeous master bedroom.
For open-concept spaces, it’s a slightly different approach. Unlike a more traditional layout, there is an absence of walls to define the different areas. As a result, the size and placement of your rugs is really dependent on how much you wish to sprawl out and also how you use the space. If, for example, the space contains both your family room and dining area, you will likely want two rugs to define the separate areas. When choosing the size, some of the aforementioned rules apply. Think about your furniture floor plan and select a rug large enough to anchor at least the front end of your pieces.
What comes first? The rug or the furniture?
Once you know the size you need for your space, you can make your next move. If the room in question is being completely redecorated, there are two schools of thought on how you go about the next step. Although rugs are often categorized as accessories, some designers actually prefer to use them as the starting point for a new project. A fabulous rug with a particularly stunning pattern and/or colour scheme can be a great inspiration for all your other choices. From the rug, you can move on to fabric selection and paint colours for your walls. In the end, all your pieces and accessories should connect back to the rug and the result will be a room that feels complete and cohesive. Some clients come to us with a piece of furniture already in mind, in which case we will reverse engineer this process to work around it. For our clients living room above, the sofa and slipper chairs came first and the rug followed. Neither school of though is wrong, it just depends on the specific circumstances.
Find materials that suit your lifestyle…
Once you start to explore the world of rugs, you will quickly realize that there are several options when it comes to material. With silk rugs, natural hides, wool rugs, viscose rugs etc. to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming but it doesn’t need to be. Consider your lifestyle, whether you have kids and pets and if the rug in question is going to be in a high-traffic area or, for example, a guest room that is hardly ever used. Patterns tend to hide spills and wear and wool rugs are often easier to clean. Silk rugs we usually reserve for more formal living rooms and bedrooms and for kids rooms, there are washable rug options. For particularly high-traffic areas such as entryways, which are sure to see hazards like salt and slush from winter boots, indoor-outdoor rugs can look great and withstand the heavy wear and tear. Above are two beautiful examples from recent projects of rugs that consist of patterns and colours that can stand up to food and drink spills, high traffic, as well as the elements.
An opportunity to be bold…
Rugs can be pricey and cover a lot of surface area and for those reasons, clients tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to choosing a rug with a fun pattern or colour. There will always be a time and a place for a neutral, simple rug but the reality is that some of our most stunning projects have resulted from us giving our clients a gentle nudge in the direction of bold or “risky.” If your furniture is fairly neutral or void of pattern, a rug is a great opportunity to inject some colour and playfulness into the room. Above are examples from recent projects where we added some visual interest with rugs that either had a bold pattern or an unexpected colour.