Ask a Designer: Choosing the right rug for the room
A warm, cozy rug can make a room look and feel more appealing on even the chilliest fall night. And the right rug can be a source of comfort year-round.
“They’re also great in the summer, if you think about it, because your shoes are off, you’re in your shorts, the house is air conditioned,” says designer Michelle Gerson, founder of Michelle Gerson Interiors, based in New York. “You love to put your toes in a big cozy rug.”
How do you choose the perfect rug for your space? The latest options include everything from century-old Moroccan rugs to trendy, open-weave “sweater rugs” available at the click of a button.
Here, three interior designers — Gerson; Texas-based Ashley Moore; and Lauren Buxbaum Gordon, design director of Nate Berkus Associates — offer advice on choosing rugs and using them strategically to add color, texture and warmth to a room.
NEUTRAL, BOLD OR BOTH?
Gordon and Moore both advise clients to consider rugs as beautiful, neutral backdrops for the rest of a room.
“Instead of being bold on pattern and color,” Gordon says, she prefers to get creative with the look and texture of the material. She might choose a flat-weave jute rug in a neutral color, or “mohair, woven-knit rugs that look like sweaters,” depending on the room and the client.
Moore’s approach is similar: “I tend to have it as a neutral palette, because it tends to be one of the most expensive pieces in the house,” she says. If a client is seeking pops of bold color or pattern, she brings that in through items like pillows and accessories that can easily be changed if the homeowner wants something new.
Layering rugs can give you both looks in one: a larger, neutral base with something striking, like a thin Moroccan rug with a colorful, intricate pattern, laid on top.
Moroccan rugs “look good anywhere,” Gerson says. “You can put one in a fancy Parisian apartment and it makes it look cool. Or you can put it in your kid’s dorm room and it makes it look cool.”
Moore uses one as a runner on her kitchen floor to add a burst of color. “My carpet in the bedroom is actually really dark, so I have a bright rug there,” she says. Beyond adding color, the smaller rug helps “define the space,” she says.
If you’re layering, make sure the rugs are the right size, Gerson says. “Type into Pinterest ‘layered rugs,’” she says, and search for pictures you love. Note the sizes of the rugs and their placement, so you can create the right balance in your own space.