Karen McCartney shares two important lessons she has learned about choosing the right rug.
I am probably the wrong person to be writing about rugs as historically I have found them difficult to get right, but through painful trial and error I have learnt a few valuable lessons which I am happy to share.
When your husband refers to one of your purchases as ‘the expensive bath mat’ you know your style credentials are heading south. To add insult to injury this particular rug also sheds – and not because my daughter is doing pirouettes on it, but seemingly because someone has merely looked at it the wrong way! It has developed bald patches even though, in rug parlance, it is in a ‘low traffic area’. Lesson one – check whether the rug you are interested in is so fragile it is better hung on the wall than placed on the floor.
In another instance we borrowed three rugs to try in our living room: all were rejected, on a variety of counts, by the presiding committee of husband, children and dog. One was too big and too red (husband), one was too scratchy (children and dog) and one just didn’t work with the colour of the brick (me). Lesson two – measure out the dimensions and think about scale: too small looks lost and too large a rug overly dominates the space. It is ideal to leave a comfortable border of timber or stone around the edges.
The other tip – lesson three – is to take a photograph of the rug in situ in order to look at it through new eyes. We all become accustomed to the decorative status quo of our homes, so whether in a bedroom, hallway or dining room, take a snap and revisit it again the next day.
The current trend for coloured rugs is invigorating, with patterns, colour and texture as key looks. If you have a lot of strongly coloured artwork, don’t choose a highly patterned rug that will fight visually for attention – go plain and textured. But for those who want an artwork on the floor, the decorative choice is yours for the taking.