There are a lot of elements that work together to make a room beautiful. Each has its own role to play and, as the designer, what that role is and how it plays it is largely up to you. There are some guidelines, though. The sofa is usually the center of the living room, the bed is always the center of the bedroom, and no matter how stylish your lighting is there has to be enough of it for you to see where you’re going. The best pieces to decorate with are always the ones with the most versatility—the ones that give you the most flexibility in choosing a role for them and have the most impact on your finished spaces. And there are few options in your design toolbox that can give you the amount of versatility to be found than in a good rug. Whether you are using a rug to finish a room or building your design from the floor up, rugs can just about do it all, adding color, texture and pattern to a space among so many other things. To help you find the right role for rugs in your next design project, here are seven ways that rugs can enhance every room in your home.
One of the easiest ways for rugs to change the look of your room is by changing the feel. Rugs with a soft or plush texture can give your room a warmer look, even if the color palette is decidedly cool. In this space, soft neutral colors on the furniture and walls are warmed up with the combination of leather chairs and the Beni Ourain rug. The texture of the rug adds a layer of depth to the design that makes the room look sophisticated and cozy.
Complete the color story
There are a number of factors that make rugs a perfect way to add color to your favorite room. The first is their size. Rugs can take up as much floor space as you’d like, a feature that makes them second only to your walls as an opportunity to make a color statement at home. Second is the fact that they are essentially large textiles. Because of that, rugs share the ability of pillows and other textiles to combine multiple colors at once without looking too busy or becoming distracting in a space. This makes rugs an ideal way to complete a color story in any room. Whether your colors align perfectly or you are trying to tie together disparate colors in your space, there’s no better way to bring it all together than with a rug. The rug in this room collects and emphasizes the blues in the space making a strong contrast to the red of the brick walls. Accent colors in the rug also pick up the accent colors in the living room. Hints of yellow and red echo chairs, pillows and flowers, tying the colors of the room together in a comprehensive way.
Creating clearly defined spaces can be a challenge in a large, open-plan room where there are no walls to do the job for you. When the design of a home calls for carving several small spaces out of a single large one, rugs can be an essential part of the solution. In this open space, a large, oversized soumak is used to carve out the living area. The large rug also ties the room’s palette of pink and blue together seamlessly.
We all love to have vintage pieces at home. They add a tangible sense of age and time that gives grounding and depth to our modern designs and the spaces in which we live. Of course, antique rugs have a lot more going for them than the warm feelings they engender. Most notably, antique rugs that are made by hand following a traditional method have far greater durability and shed less than modern, machine-made pieces. And with the dazzling geometric patterns that so many antique rugs hold, the opportunities for blending colors and mixing and matching patterns are nearly endless. The antique rug in this living room is clearly the centerpiece of the design. Standing out in the neutral-heavy space, its dark, rich color palette warms the entire room. At the same time, its intricate pattern adds visual interest and layers to the design by picking up the geometric motif of the pillows on the sofa.
Create a global feel
In the 21st century, modern design is global design. Homes with a well-traveled, worldly feel have a special kind of beauty that many of our favorite design sites and shelter mags have been quick to pick up on. When looking to bring a global aesthetic to your home, rugs should always play a big part in your plans. Rug making is one of the oldest human crafts, and nearly every culture has a long, rich tradition of weaving methods, patterns and colors. The rug in this space is paired with a variety of other cultural textiles. African mud cloth from Mali appears alongside poufs and pillows in Chinese Hmong fabrics. The Moroccan Beni Ourain rug in the center is the perfect finishing touch, creating a sophisticated look that runs through every part of the design.
Connect textures and shapes
Using rugs to tie together the colors or patterns in a room is an advanced design trick. But once you’ve got it mastered there’s even further to go. Using the design of a rug to echo the shape of different pieces in your room is just another way of creating patterns. It’s a subtle trick but it adds a cohesiveness to your room design that people are sure to notice, even if they can’t quite put their finger on why. In this room, the diamond geometric pattern of the rug echoes the shapes of the white side tables.
One final trick for enhancing your space with rugs is to create layers using the rugs themselves. Much like echoing shapes, layering rugs is a high-level design move that can pay off big when you get it just right. The key to making it work is in finding two rugs that contrast each other enough to be interesting, but both should pick up on other elements in the room as well. The rugs in this example have vastly different textures and patterns which makes them an interesting mix. Yet the naturally abstract color of the cowhide reflects the abstract look of the painting on the wall; while the more structured geometric diamond shape of the Moroccan-style rug picks up the similar pattern of the throw pillow on the sofa. In addition, both rugs complement colors found throughout the room, from deep brown to stark black. Topping it all off, the cool interplay of textures, with a warm wool piece beneath a rustic cowhide, creates a moment of interest that connects the two to the entire room.