Confused about rugs? Tips for getting it right

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • July 7, 2018

It happens all the time. Rugs are often the last item on the to-do list when decorating a home.

After the painting, furniture, artwork and accessories. That’s when most homeowners think about what goes on the floor. I have been guilty of it myself.  And often, most of the budget is spent by then so the rugs aren’t given the priority they should receive.

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I find that rugs are often an afterthought. And there are reasons for that. It’s not really as much fun as picking out everything else. And let’s face it: selecting a rug can be confusing. What size do you need? What color works best? What texture? How much of your furniture goes on the rug? Why didn’t it shed in the store?

 Carpet designer Malene B has created hand-knotted and hand tufted rugs that make a statement with a mixture of texture and color. Made in Nepal by skilled artisans, each is crafted by hand and no two are alike. The muted colors pair well with bright fabric choices. From Kravet to the trade. Photo courtesy of Kravet.

Carpet designer Malene B has created hand-knotted and hand tufted rugs that make a statement with a mixture of texture and color. Made in Nepal by skilled artisans, each is crafted by hand and no two are alike. The muted colors pair well with bright fabric choices. From Kravet to the trade. Photo courtesy of Kravet.

Also, ignoring it until the end of your to-do list is not a good option. Check out a few of my tips that will take away some of the stress. And make it more fun.

We all have a budget, but if possible…

·       Buy the best rug you can afford.

·       Spend at least as much as you spent on your sofa.

·       Have a budget in mind before you shop.

Biggest mistakes everyone makes

·       Selecting the wrong size. This is #1.

·       Picking the wrong color.

·       Getting the texture wrong. A long, thick pile that you trip over.

·       If you are hesitant, call a designer for sources and experience that will help.

 From Malene B for Kravet to the trade, her hand-knotted rugs offered feature two signature patterns, Sugar Rain and Mudslide, each available in four colorways. Both patterns are an organic and atmospheric take on natural elements found either in land or water. Photo courtesy of Kravet.

From Malene B for Kravet to the trade, her hand-knotted rugs offered feature two signature patterns, Sugar Rain and Mudslide, each available in four colorways. Both patterns are an organic and atmospheric take on natural elements found either in land or water. Photo courtesy of Kravet.

Silk, wool or synthetic?

Understand these three choices and you will be able to make the best choice for your lifestyle and budget.

Wool: the most resilient, flame retardant and stain resistant.

Silk: beautiful but they run into the thousands.

Synthetics: Good price point but can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. 

Sisal, jute and grass: these have a nice look and cost less but they simply don’t last. They are hard to clean and the first red wine spill will send you rug shopping (again).

Indoor/Outdoor and made from recycled soda bottles

This is a favorite if you are on a budget: The Gianna rug from Pottery Barn is woven on a hand loom and recreates the soft feel and age-mellowed colors of an antique Turkish kilim using yarns made from recycled soda bottles. Fully reversible for twice the wear, it’s yarn dyed for vibrant, lasting color. And it works indoors or outdoors.

 Ancient art and innovative eco-friendly design merge in the Gianna rug from Pottery Barn. Woven on a hand loom, it recreates the soft feel and age-mellowed colors of an antique Turkish kilim using yarns made from recycled soda bottles. Fully reversible for twice the wear, it is yarn dyed for vibrant, lasting color. Use indoors or outdoors. Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Ancient art and innovative eco-friendly design merge in the Gianna rug from Pottery Barn. Woven on a hand loom, it recreates the soft feel and age-mellowed colors of an antique Turkish kilim using yarns made from recycled soda bottles. Fully reversible for twice the wear, it is yarn dyed for vibrant, lasting color. Use indoors or outdoors. Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Don’t do this

Buy a rug from a going out of business sale.

Put a rug on top of another rug. Ever.

Buy a rug that is too small for the space.  Many homeowners purchase a small rug to go under a coffee table leaving the rest of the floor bare.  You will find that this is not a good look.

Do this

Research online, Pinterest, magazines.

Purchase from a name brand retailer.

Determine which weave works for your space: tufted, hand knotted, flat weave, braided, hooked.

Consider the pile (thickness) that is best for your room. For example, a thicker pile might be great for your bedroom where you will have bare feet but not so much for a living room where you may trip.

How to size a rug for the space

Living room: Most living rooms require a square or rectangular rug. Select a size that will allow the legs of all the furniture to be placed on the carpet OR measure it so that the front legs fit. I like to use painter’s tape to outline the dimensions of the rug to visualize what will work. Wool works best in this room.

Bedroom: Again, wool is durable, comfortable and easy to clean. For sizing, try to get all legs of the furniture on the rug. OR at least from the foot of the bed up to the legs of the bedside tables.

Bathroom: This is my favorite place to put a real rug (instead of a typical bathroom rug). A wool rug in a vibrant color gives the space a completely different look. Elegant. Try it.

 Artisan-made, Malika Persian-style rug from Pottery Barn is hand-tufted of pure wool. The beautiful colors make it a good choice for a bathroom in a 3 x 5 size. Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Artisan-made, Malika Persian-style rug from Pottery Barn is hand-tufted of pure wool. The beautiful colors make it a good choice for a bathroom in a 3 x 5 size. Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Hallway: Typically, you want six inches of flooring to show on all sides. For high traffic areas, like a hallway or entryway, an easy-to-clean woven option works. Also consider an outdoor rug.

Dining room: Honestly, I am not a huge fan of rugs in the dining room. They are crumb catchers and are just waiting for an accident. Having said that, many of my clients like them because they warm up the room and help with sound. If you want to take a chance, a natural fiber rug is best here because it’s easy to shake out.  And if you use a jute/polyester/sisal blend, there is a better chance of removing stains. When it comes to size, make sure the rug is large enough to completely fit under the table AND chairs with enough covered area to pull out chairs without catching.  The rug should be proportional to your table. In other words, do not scrimp on the size.

And now the fun part: color

If the furniture in your room is upholstered in a vivid pattern, choose a muted or solid rug to coordinate with the room. For a classic and timeless look, match a color in a patterned rug to your sofa and match a second color to your sofa throw pillows. Simple but it works.

 From Malene B for Kravet to the trade. Photo courtesy of Kravet.

From Malene B for Kravet to the trade. Photo courtesy of Kravet.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She has helped homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and to solve decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog