Adding a rug is a powerful thing and I like to give credit where credit is due. Not only can they define a space, they inject colour, texture and often a soft element for comfort. And they are not only limited to hard surfaces, but can be placed on carpet to add dimension.
I remember an experienced interior designer telling me early in my career that she always starts with the rug, whilst Neale Whitaker has mentioned that he leaves the rug to last as a finishing touch – I’ll leave that decision with you.
When selecting a rug, consider colour. A deeper coloured rug can ground the space and define its function or purpose whilst a rug with soft, subtle colours and pattern can be used to complement tonal values in timber in furniture and flooring. On the other hand, a natural sisal rug can relax a space while adding subtle texture and layering against soft furnishings. The Ariel Rug from Uocmas is soft and sophisticated whilst Jonathan Adler’s Dorothy Kilim design adds interest and intrigue.
The fibres often used to create beautiful rugs include wool, silk and natural fibres, which each create a different result. When selecting the type of rug, consideration should be given to the placement of the rug in the house, general wear and tear, lifestyle including children and pets, as well as maintenance. The Max Sparrow is versatile and low maintenance for those with families.
My tips? Select a hand-knotted wool rug for its durability; an intricate pattern will also help to camouflage wear and tear. A silk or art silk and wool rug however adds glamour and enriches a luxurious look; particularly for lower-traffic areas of the house. For sheltered outdoor spaces, I suggest a natural fibre rug to bring in beautiful texture.
Size is so important and if in doubt, go bigger – 200 x 300 cm is a great size. In a dining space, ensure your rug is appropriately proportioned so that when all the chairs are pulled out, they are all still sitting on the rug, 80-100cm wider is usually enough. In living areas, I would usually set rugs 30-40cm off the walls; this allows for the floor material to still be visible and to add scale to a room with a large rug. I generally like to have the legs of furniture anchored on the rug, to help ground a group of furniture that would otherwise seem to float around. Selecting a generously sized rug will create the illusion of a grander space while a too-small rug can often look lost in the room.