Hey there! Today’s UNlesson is all about rugs. Don’t forget, this is all purely my opinion and not hard and fast rules. Its simply what I’ve found to be true and what I prefer. There are always exceptions to this and you will find them all over the wide web, and maybe even in your own home. That’s great! That’s why this is decorating UNschool.
But for what they’re worth, here are all my thoughts on rugs:
Rugs help to define a space. Even if you have carpet, it can be nice to layer a rug over it (yes you can definitely do that!) to define the specific area. Rugs can bring in color or texture to a room that might otherwise feel pretty neutral or matte. Couches and wall to wall carpeting can often be similar in texture and color or at least tone (neutral, earthy, etc). Its nice to have something breaking it up, something either a different color, pattern, or texture (or all three!) that will act as a separation and contrast.
Rugs, (like light fixtures), usually need to be bigger than we think. If they are defining a room, they should be nearly as big as the room itself. They act as a landing space for the furniture in the room and so the pieces of furniture should at least have their front feet on it (though I feel a media cabinet is exempt from this rule as seen below) so as not to feel like they are just floating in space. Similarly, in a dining room, its best if all the chairs fit on the rug, even when completely pulled out from the table.
Rugs can tend to be expensive. It may end up being one of the most expensive pieces in your entire room. Buying a high quality rug is probably a good idea, since everyone will be stepping and walking all over it, but I wouldn’t know that because I’ve never really done it. But I have made some mistakes as well as found some great rugs which I will share…
Because rugs need to be bigger than we think and tend to be expensive, one of the biggest mistakes I see is having a rug too small for the space. Its an easy mistake to make and I completely understand it. You want the defined space, the color, texture, etc, but you’re trying to make a cost effective decision. So can’t you get away with the 5 by 7 instead of the 8 by 10? Hmmm, not always. Its okay if you’re looking at your rug and you think you’ve made this mistake. I do have a solution for you and we’ll get to that.
Where your rug will be located and how it will be used should help determine what type of material your rug will be. I only know this because of the various mistakes I’ve made over the years. I LOVE the look of a natural fiber rug- like a chunky jute or sisal. We’ve had two of these in our living room over the years. However, this is just not the best for our family for a few reasons. The first was that those tiny fibers ended up all over everything- our clothes, our babies, and our wood floors. Especially when one of the rugs was a wool and jute blend- wool sheds like crazy, especially in a high traffic area. Its just what it does.
The second reason it wasn’t good for us is that it just wasn’t soft for sitting, playing, wrestling, etc on the floor. Which we do all the time. We don’t have a separate playroom downstairs, so our living room is our multipurpose room. We needed something cozy. The third reason is that natural fiber rugs, if they don’t have a border, can start to lose their shape over time (especially in a high traffic area). Some people love this look as its kind of bohemian, laid back, etc. I learned that I don’t love this look and it drove me crazy. I felt like our nice rectangular rug was gradually turning into a weird oval thing. Time to say goodbye to the dream of having a natural fiber rug in my living room.
I realized I kept being drawn to the natural fiber rug look because I was craving that texture. So I found other ways to add it in (a burlap ottoman, bamboo roman shades, etc) and moved on from my dream of a natural fiber rug. Next I tried a beautiful black and white striped flatweave rug from Crate and Barrel. Stunning with its contrast and stripes, but again, not cozy or soft at all. A flatweave rug (or dhurrie) is by its very nature flat. What was I thinking? It was moved into our bedroom shortly after where it is perfect. We’re generally not sitting or playing on the floor in our bedroom, so it doesn’t need to be soft and cozy there. A colorful or patterned flatweave rug layered over carpet in the bedroom is a nice way to add in some contrast.
So finally for the living room I found what seems to be for now the best solution. Its soft and cozy, it gives me some lightness that I needed (to contrast with our dark floors and dark furniture), it didn’t break the bank, and its not made of wool (100% polyester), so it doesn’t shed at all. Nope, its not the highest quality. And yes, it used to be a lot more white than it is now. All things that I can most definitely live with in this season of my life.
We visited my parents over the holidays and their nice wool rug that they’ve had for almost a year was shedding like crazy! I mentioned it to my mom because I figured the shedding should have stopped by now and she said it doesn’t do this normally. It was only because we were all there. Normally its just my mom and dad, walking across the rug and then sitting down on the couch. They use their living room a lot differently than we do with three kids practicing Tae Kwon Do, ballet, acting like puppy dogs, wrestling, and kicking up clouds of wool by the handful. I was glad to know they don’t have to live with that constant shedding. And also glad to learn that in this season of life, we will need a rug that can act accordingly. So different rugs work for different people, in different seasons of life. Maybe one day my natural fiber or wool rug dreams will be possible, just not right now.
So what if you have the perfect rug, great material, great colors, you love how it looks, but you’ve realized its too small? What to do? I told you earlier I have a solution and here it is. I love to layer that great rug over a larger rug- usually a very flat natural fiber rug that can just sort of blend in but add lots of texture to the room. Now I know you just heard my distaste for natural fiber rugs in the living room, but hear me out on this one. If you’ve already got your cozy rug and this will be underneath- this rug will not be the one you will be mostly sitting on, walking on, and playing on the most. Its just sort of an extender. Sort of like leggings under your too short tunic top. Necessary? Yes. But not the primary player. And if you get one with a border, you can avoid the misshapen-ness that happened to me as well.
That last one is from this client of mine. I love how it extended the room just enough to be able to pull back the furniture and make it feel bigger. It (along with the coffee table) also brought in some much needed texture and earthiness to this kind of glamourous and modern furniture. Win- win situation! You can find the rug that we used here.
So that’s my discourse on rugs for the day. Bigger is better, know your material, and layering is always an option! Thanks for reading. I’ll be back soon talking pillows and mixing and matching patterns. Hope you’re having a great week!