An area rug can be the main design element in a room or simply exist to support the scheme. Selecting the carpet before everything else isn’t necessary. Choose an area rug that strengthens or jump starts your design by considering pattern, color and material.
An all over pattern in low-contrasting colors (left) will serve as a strong foundation for most designs. Forego a border and avoid fringe so your subtle statement makes the biggest impact. If you fell in love with a rug that has a bold graphic design (right), amp up your wall paint or select a dramatic light fixture to create an equilibrium. Furniture should take a supporting role, so don’t select pieces that are overpowering in shape or style.
Color and Contrast
If you are going for a neutral design palette, select an area rug with similar tones throughout (left). If your carpet selection is bold in color (right), don’t lose your courage with the remaining design. Rather, be selective and choose a strong supporting statement for one furniture piece or elements such as pillows and curtains.
It is important to carefully consider material because this will determine durability, softness and style. I’m a sucker for a wool flat weave because they are casual looking and easy to clean. Similarly, sisal or wool sisal is a practical backdrop for most interior schemes.
The easiest to muddy up (but often least expensive and most colorful) is a flat weave cotton rug. It is best in low traffic areas such as bedrooms. Cotton is also a great material for playrooms because children often come in contact with the floor surface and wool can be irritating.
A wool dhurrie is a flat weave as well. These feel a little more casual and look great with a large contrasting pattern. Therefore, a colorful wool dhurrie looks best as the key element in a room. They are rough to the touch, so be sure comfort isn’t your top priority.
A tufted, cut or loop pile wool carpet has a more luxurious feel. This type of area rug cleans easily and stands the test of time. Just remember that the height of the carpet pile can be a tripping hazard, so watch your placement around critical circulation and opt for a thinner felt rug pad.
When all else fails, go sisal. It has an innate camouflaging quality making every day dirt virtually undetectable. It doesn’t have to be boring if you select an off-neutral color with an interesting pattern. If you don’t find sisal cozy, a wool sisal is made to look like the natural material. It is a tightly woven wool loop often combined with a percentage of sisal. If you select a cotton border, pick something slightly darker than the rug and close in color to your flooring so it disguises dirt.