You feel it, it's winter and whether the heater may be on or not, walking barefooted at home is a chilling experience and your toes freeze while sitting at the table during dinner. Do you wish your floors were better insulated, maybe heated? I have a quick and easy solution for you: unroll a rug. Not only do rugs stop the chill rising up, but they feel soft and cosy under foot, and not last, they look good and are an essential part of your interiors' styling and decoration. Another great benefit is that rugs are easier to keep clean than carpet and they can be rolled up and quickly stored away when not needed, or moved from one room to the next as you wish. Rugs can also add that wow factor to a room just like a strong artwork does. They can also tell a story: I have a Soumak, a hand-woven Kilim, which I bought in Turkey, and I love it so much, it hangs on the wall.
The Pazyryk Carpet is the oldest surviving carpet in the world - Scythian, 5th Century BC.
Rugs have accompanied mankind for millennia and nowadays they come in any shape and size, colour, style and design you can imagine. In fact, you can have rugs made to your specific measurements and in any design you may come up with. If your budget allows, the only limit is your imagination, literally, as you can have rugs made out of designs you create yourself. So, where do you start from when it comes to choosing a rug? You have three decisions to make: place, size, style.
1) PLACING: where do I need a rug?
Because of its regular shape (round, square or rectangular), a rug brings focus to it and what's on it.
It adds structure to the styling just by placing it one way or the other, if wishing to enlarge or lengthen the appearance of a room for example.
It can be placed in the middle of a room to achieve a tidy sense of symmetry, or off-centre to focus interesting here or there.
In large rooms rugs help define and separate specific areas, like living from dining, delineating different zones within a room.
images courtesy of Designer Rugs
2) SIZE: a small rug or a wall-to-wall one?
Define an area? Protect from the cold? Disguise an ugly floor? What you need the rug for will help you to decide its size.
In an elegant lounge area a rug should be large enough so the sofa and armchairs have at least their front legs on it.
Under a dining table, the rug should be large enough to have all feet on it when people are seated there.
If under the bed the rug should be large enough to cover at least 1 extra metre on either side. Two small rugs instead, can be placed on the sides of the bed but they can look scrawny if any smaller than 1x1.5m.
The small or the large one? When in doubt, choose the larger one, as a small can look cheap and unconsidered.
images courtesy of Life Interiors
3) STYLE: what impact will it have with your styling?
The colour must be supportive of the rest of the styling and in tune with the floor, unless the rug is used to cover and disguise the ugly flooring.
The rug's design should be subtle in a room where other items already are strong in pattern and/or colour.
Vice-versa, in a plain room a strong patterned rug can be used to add the wow effect, in which case it will work best when some other elements in the room décor also recall its pattern or colours.
images courtesy of United Interiors
The truth is that a rug is a worthy addition to a well styled home, and is as important as the bed, the sofa and the table you eat on, being both decorative and functional. As rugs can be very different from one another, an expert sales-person will happily recommend what is best for your home and your needs. Wool, cotton, silk, woven, knotted, hand-made... just ask for guidance! But do remember that a quality rug looks and feels good for a long time, it retains value and is good enough to be sold or given away if needed. Rugs add elegance, warmth and are worth the investment but always do your homework. Hence invest in one that is of quality, matches your styling and, not last, keeps your feet well off that cold winter floor.
James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James Treble has more than 25 years of experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design. His knowledge and experience in adding value to homes, through clever design & styling, is now published for all to learn and benefit from. Interior Design For Profit is now available online.