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Rug design: how NOT to style rugs

There is much more to rug design than picking the right colour for your project. Have you found the perfect design but once it was in place it didn’t look right? Maybe you have no idea where to even begin. In this article we will discuss:

Read on to benefit from our years of experience working in the carpet and rug industry.

Why rug design is so important

Selecting the right rug design for your room is an often overlooked step. Rugs are to a room what jewellery is to an outfit; the finishing touch. You wouldn’t attend a party without a statement necklace, the right watch or coordinating earrings. In the same way, no room is complete without a well designed and placed rug.

Select the wrong rug and your focal point becomes dysfunctional. Pick no rug at all and what is the eye drawn to in your room? Good rug design is about bringing a room's elements and essence together. It tells its guests where the conversation is taking place. It can ground a seating area, lead you to the dining table, provide a soft step out of bed and over to the walk-in wardrobe in the morning. Think of a rug as a red carpet leading you where you need to go.

Area rug design rules

You may be thinking “how difficult can it be to place a rug in a room? Choose the centre… et voilà.” But there is a more in-depth approach to rug design and placement. See our rug design rules below for more guidance on how to perfect your interiors focal point:

Rug design mistake #1 - The too small rug

The biggest mistake we encounter when it comes to interior design is too small a rug. Perhaps the designer has tried to work in a client's loved heirloom into the finished design. Maybe the client is reticent to invest in a much larger rug. Whatever the reason, a small rug just doesn’t work as a focal point in any finished interior design.

Below are some examples of finished interiors wherein the chosen rugs are far too small to create the desired impact. You may be thinking that they look perfectly lovely, that is the magic of a well taken photograph. However, if you were to step into any of these rooms, we guarantee you’d be wondering what was making the room disjointed: too small a rug.

You will notice one thing they all have in common; none of the rug designs in these images cover such an expanse of the floor area. You should try to aim for all four legs of any furniture to be positioned on the rug. If you cannot manage all four, two will suffice.

The only exceptions wherein small rugs work are:

  1. If the room in question is small and the sofa, for example, is up against the wall then a well-placed small rug in front of the sofa will compliment the space well. This is because the sofa is already grounded in this compact space

  2. The second exception is with the use of cowhide or sheepskin rugs. These types of rugs seem to work well in any space due to their irregular and interesting shapes

The ideal size for a living room rug, depending on your space, is at least 200cm x 300cm. Unless you are working with a very small space, stay away from anything smaller than this. Smaller ’display’ rugs do have a place in the home but are best placed either on top of a larger rug, next to a bed, or in a hallway. See how to size your rug accordingly here >>

Rug design mistake #2- ordering the rug last

We get calls from designers who are looking for the perfect finishing touches for their project. Whilst there are no issues with ordering your rug last, when you think of how much space a rug embraces (if you have ordered the right size rug) then it stands to reason that it should be an element that is introduced to the space much earlier on in the design process. With rugs being the focal point of a room, the rug design itself may even be what directs the essence and whole design of the room.

How to choose the right rug design

The general rule of thumb is buy as large as you can afford and the space allows. Also, quality is key. A good rug will stand the test of time, resist wear and tear in high traffic areas, move from one room to another, one house to another and even be passed down to younger generations.

Different rugs suit different rooms. For example, an entrance, hallway, or kitchen has far more foot fall than a bedroom or office would. Therefore, it is a good idea to choose a rug that is hardwearing and easy to clean. Go for darker colours or patterned rugs as they will not show footprints as easily.

See our gallery of bespoke interior design rugs here >>

Rugs come in all shapes and sizes, you are by no means bound to the standard rectangular shape. If you have a circular table for example, you may wish to mimic this in your choice of rug underneath. See our bespoke design below which was created for a client of Teall Design:

Rug design tips

Now that you know how NOT to style your rugs, let us summarise what you CAN do to make your rug design compliment your space perfectly:

  1. avoid small rugs unless you are layering them on top of another rug, they are being placed next to a bed, entrance, or hallway or they are a cowhide or sheepskin rug

  2. ensure at least two of your furniture’s feet are placed on the rug (four if you can)

  3. create a focal point with your rug-use contrasting paint on the walls that echo the rug’s design

  4. think outside the floor-rugs can also be displayed on a large wall as an interesting focal point

  5. be sure to check the cleaning instructions on your rug before you purchase it. Whilst natural fiber rugs (such as jute) are inexpensive, they can't be cleaned so be sure to weigh your budget and your options before buying. Read about our yarns or browse The Rug Story Brochure for more information

We hope that you have found inspiration from this post and that you feel confident when choosing a rug design for your future projects. The right rug design can add a little piece of luxury and quality to any interior and should be on your go-to list of design must-haves for 2021. Get in touch with one of our agents to discuss your requirements in more detail today.

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