RUG KNOWLEDGE: DECORATING
The first question you should ask yourself, is “How will the room be used?” Anticipating a room’s use has a very practical function: some rugs may be better suited to high traffic and activity areas than others. A dark colored rug, for example, will hide the dirt between cleanings more readily than a light colored rug and might be considered for a family room or entry way. A light colored rug, on the other hand, will help a small room seem a little brighter.
THE RUG DEFINES THE ROOM
Of the three major components in room decorating (walls, floor, and furnishing), your floor covering is often the largest single design statement. A well-chosen rug will define the personality of a room. Furniture and wall decoration may make bold statements in and of themselves, or may combine together to create the atmosphere you desire, but the floor covering is, in a sense, a back-drop to the proceedings.
Defining a room’s use will start to define its look, and will help start to narrow your choice of floor covering. A “formal dining room” will certainly have a different personality than a “casual family room” or a “master bedroom” or “country kitchen.”
A well-decorated room is made up of a balance of color, texture, and pattern.
Color, in this sense, means value: light, medium and dark. You want a little of each. Different values give depth and interest to a room. A predominance of any one value will end up feeling a little “flat.” Think of value in terms of a good snapshot-a good picture isn’t underexposed (too dark) or overexposed (too light). Beautiful photographs have a complete tonal range from dark to lights.
Designers use a variety of words to describe texture: the “touch,” the “face,” the “feel.” Juxtapositions of texture create interest (hard and soft, smooth and coarse).
Finally, patterns are infinite in their variety. Florals, geometrics, stripes, plaids, and tiny repeat patterns (“minis”) are only the most common. With patterns, scale is the key: avoid a predominance of any one kind. For example a large floral patterned sofa and a striped arm chair on a repeat geometric pattern rug provide the right amount of visual contrast and balance.
DECORATING WITH AREA RUGS
The variety of area rug designs and colors offers the home decorator complete freedom and flexibility.
With careful consideration, even the most colorful and bold area rug can assume its place in the three-part harmony of color, texture and pattern.
Say, for example, that you want to build a room around a sofa covered in large-scale floral upholstery. A rug with a small repeated geometric pattern would be a fine contrast. The key is to vary the scale of patterns. Such a rug might also complement a stripe or large-scale plaid. Conversely, with solid or mini-print upholstery, a strong floral rug would provide the appropriate change of scale.
Finally, it’s easiest to approach color hue in the same way that one thinks about wardrobe. A good scarf or tie will “pick up” on other colors used. Look for the secondary colors in the rug and let those colors guide your choice of upholstery, and vice versa.