Seeking rug inspiration for your space?
Ok, so I’m going to declare it here right now, that I can’t live without rugs (or curtains, or cushions for that matter. But they are other stories for another day!). Rugs add instant warmth to a room, can be used to cleverly ‘zone’ open spaces, and inject personality into a scene. So if you’re after rug inspiration and want to know how to choose the right rug, here are my 5 top fabulous tips:
Choose the right rug size
I’m pretty sure the 11th commandment is “Thou shalt NOT (under ANY circumstances) choose a rug too small for thine own space” (Genesis: 1:44)! It is absolutley life-threatening important (nooooo exaggeration, folks) that the rug size is generous for your space. First, work out the maximum size you have in the space (ie the perimter of the room/space). Then look at what furniture will be in there for eg, entertainment unit, sofa etc. There may also be other architectural details that may put limitations on the rug size such as fireplace or angled walls. At a minimum, the front legs of the sofa should sit on the rug while the entertainment unit wouldn’t (otherwise you might as well get carpet, right?). I personally like there to be a 100 – 150cm border between the walls and the edge of the rug. Now, after looking at all these factors, what is the biggest size rug that will fit in the space?
Standard sizes are generally 160 x 230cm, 2 x 3m, 250 x 350cm and 3 x 4m. Does one of those sizes fit? If so, then bingo! You’ve now got the size you need!
Designer tip: I really like the way Temple and Webster’s website allows you to search by rug size as it can save so much time trawling through the gazzillions of products when you’re looking for rug inspiration!
Choose the style
Well, this is opening a Pandora’s box! There’s shag, traditional, contemporary, flatweave, patterened, tribal and textured just for starters. Then on top of that, you can look at materials and heights and carving etc.
But, where should you start? You need to decide if the rug is the (or one of the) statement pieces of the space. If it is, you need to consider whether this should express that statement factor in terms of colour, pattern or material. If you want it to have a wow factor then, consider strong colours and bold patterns. To see great examples of this, look at Greg Natale‘s work. If you prefer the understated look, then go for beautiful materials such as silk as this will clearly be a quality piece without being too in your face.
If is isn’t the statement piece, then it might be best to consider a subtly coloured rug with texture. Again, loads of options to consider. Moroccan style rugs are quite popular in this situation as they’re made from long wool pile with a simple criss cross pattern for interest. They’re quite informal, visually interesting and lovely and soft and warm under foot. The other really popular style are natural wool rugs, either flat weave or in a chunky weave in greys and browns or sometimes pastels. These work back beautifully with modern sofas! It’s quite a sophisticated and sleek look.
If I’m after rug inspiration and am unsure which pattern in which colours I should be considering for a project, then I play with the software on Rugs Establishment’s website!
Simple abstract or organic patterned rugs in soft or bold colours come in a range of prices and can add instant warmth to a space. Especially if teamed with a complimentary artwork and/or cushions. Some nice abstract rugs at economic prices can be found at Temple and Webster!
Choose the materials
Of course there are the man made materials such as polypropylene, and artificial silks that are quite soft to the touch and hard wearing. And then there are the natural materials such as cotton, wool, jute, hemp and silk. But there are some interesting materials such as banana silk and recycled silk saris that add real interest to a rug both visually and as a talking point to impress your guests (*winks*).
In terms of price, the material has an impact. Man made fibres are cheaper than natural (usually) but the downsize is that they’re not as environmentally friendly. My advice is usually to stretch your budget a bit more to get a quality piece that will last and still look great in years to come.
Beautiful textured plains can be found at The Rug Collection (& you can order them through moi!!) while amazing high quality and custom rugs can be found at Designer Rugs (also order-able through moi *hint hint*)!
Choose other details
This is where it can get interesting and is usually when custom rugs are being designed. Some of these details include:
- Carving ( which is the cutting of various heights of the pile to enhance pattern),
- colour – you usually choose colour from ‘poms’, little pouffes of coloured wool or artsilk. They give perhaps the closest indication of how the colour will arrive when the rug is made
- odd shapes – we’ve seen heaps of modern round rugs enter the market place in the last few years. But did you know you get also get rugs customised to almost any shape?
- hand made v’s power loomed – if the rug is hand knotted, it will take a number of months to complete. Hand tufted is a bit quicker while power loomed is pretty quick. The prices of each are reflected by the labor put into them
Know how pricing works!
Do you know how pricing for rugs is determined? They’re usually worked out on a square meterage basis. So, if a rug is 2 x 3 m and it’s $500/m2, then the final price will be 6 x 500 = $3,000. That’s why a 3 x 4m rug (12m2) can be twice the price of a 2 x 3m (my clients sometimes get a surprise at the price difference, but that’s why!).
Of course, the materials in the rug and the way it is made all contribute to this m2 pricing.
And, finally…..some design tips:
- If you’re not sure what rug suits what style, then these are a good starting point:
Scandi look = Moroccan
Modern = textured
Transitional = strong pattern with colour
Traditional = traditional rugs
- Consider layering rugs on rugs where you can mix plains and patterns
- Yes, rugs go on carpet
- Rugs look great under beds and dining tables as well as the living room
- Allow a minimum of 70cm from the edge of the table to the perimeter of the rug (so the chair legs don’t get caught when you’re tucking it in under the table)
- Make sure you allow for doors to open and close over the rug (or leave additional space between them)
So, now you’ve (hopefully) had a hit of rug inspiration and you’re armed and ready to go forth and add your gorgeous rug! Enjoy!