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May 26, 2020 – Published in Design & Decor Spring 2012 issue

A walk of art

Words: Caroline Ciantar-Barbara

As I was doing some research on rugs and their different types, I found myself surrounded by an abundance of beautiful, rich colours and patterns. It’s not surprising that the stories of the Arabian Nights had so many descriptions of their tapestries – not to mention the tale of a magic carpet!

It really is incredible how a rug can work its magic in your home. Whether your piggy bank affords you a silk Persian rug or a more modest alternative, having a rug makes for an incredible change. Furthermore, a rug can be a clever solution to certain interior design issues.

It’s easy to notice how a room may sometimes look barren, but then again, adding furniture can also make it feel congested. Natural floor finishes can be durable and also easy to keep up, however they can make a room feel cold and clinical. Adding a patterned or textured rug in a colour which contrasts with the main tones in its surroundings, will help by adding an immediate charm and visual warmth – that, together with the wriggle-your-toes physical aspect of heat under your feet.

Rugs can be used to make noise disappear. Walking on flooring such as tile or wood can be a little bit noisy, particularly with upper floor rooms or sometimes apartments too! This can be surpassed by rolling out an area rug in the main spaces or a long sized runner in corridors in order to soften footsteps.

Another acoustically effective solution is to place a rug pad underneath. Apart from cushioning sound, rug pads are terrific in lowering the chances of your rug sliding (preventing it from becoming a hazard) and they decrease wear and tear by keeping the rug fibres from getting damaged.

Is your room on the small side? A common trick which works with paint also works well with rugs. A light coloured rug can visually alter the size of your room. The appearance of the size of a room is immediately influenced by the shades used within it. Use a light toned rug to make your room glow and look more spacious – stick to rugs of a definite colour as patterned rugs in a small room will make it look cluttered. On the other hand darker coloured rugs will make a large room feel much more inviting and warm.

Defining furniture groupings and areas in a room is another good trick. A rug has the facility to bring together pieces of furniture. The best option is to keep furniture either completely on or off your rug – depending on its size. Placing all your furniture on a rug is particularly effective with an open-plan room – helping you to define a section and ground your furniture pieces. A way we are more accustomed to, such as in living areas, is seeing furniture arranged around a rug in a way that frames it. In this case coffee tables should be placed with all four legs on the rug - it is then accepted that the back legs of your sofa rest off it, and onto your flooring.

In a dining area, the table and chairs should fit comfortably on your rug, giving you easy access to your chairs while keeping all four legs on it. Keeping your chairs half on, half off shouldn’t be an option, although other furniture pieces such as the buffet table or cabinets should be kept off the area rug. Choose a rug of an appropriate shape and size for your dining table – a long rectangular rug, for example, would be the best option for a table of the same shape. Then, if you believe that perhaps your room may need to be softened, this can be done by installing rounded chairs or light fixtures to your plan.

But what solution should you go for in the bedroom, where the bed occupies a large amount of the surface area? Although a lavish, full-blown rug adds to a sense of luxury and would undoubtedly make getting out of bed a pleasant thing, it may not fit everyone’s budget. Here again, a runner is more affordable and adds texture, colour and warmth to your space – pretty much the qualities that a large rug has, without having to break the bank. What’s more, given the size of a runner, they can easily be rolled and shifted to another room when it’s time for a change.

It’s interesting to note that most of today’s rug makers still stick to methods used by weave masters hundreds of years ago.

The size and construction of a rug, together with the time taken and the talent of the weaver are the main factors which determine the price of a rug. The finest hand-woven rugs nowadays still require ample time and care, whereas machine made rugs are obviously made quicker; but don’t forget to look closely at the appearance and texture while you’re choosing a rug. Unlike furniture, a rug is less likely to need repair and can last for years. This means it can be passed down from parents to children!

The way your rug looks, its texture and performance all depend on the materials it is composed of. So remember to do some research about what is available on the market in order to make an informed choice. Each material has its advantages and attributes, it’s just a matter of finding the right one for your needs.

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