Interior design stars
We tend to put rugs in the same category as vases, cushions and throws but they actually play a far more important role in terms of interior decoration. Rugs are a key decorative item and so should be chosen with care! Of course, it's important to distinguish between a 'fun' rug for a child's room and a good quality rug to put in your living room - it's a question of both style and function.
What sort of rug?
A rug is a character piece that adds a finishing touch to your décor as well as influencing your choice of cushions, curtains, throws, etc. Rugs are also great for laying on hard floor surfaces (tiles, parquet, concrete, stone, etc.), so what are you waiting for? If your interior is on the 'busy' side, then opt for tone-on-tone or plain rugs and experiment with different textures. If your interior is minimalist, colourful and patterned rugs can create an element of surprise and interest. They are perfect for giving your home an individual touch, much like a painting.
The shape of a rug transforms the space in which it is placed. Rectangular rugs make spaces seem bigger while circular rugs make spaces seem smaller. Circular rugs are great for marking off spaces dedicated to a certain function. For example, a circular rug under a circular table looks great in a dining room. Square or rectangular rugs are easier to use in living rooms. They sit very well in the space between the sofa and armchairs.
In bedrooms, rugs add a touch of cosiness. Positioned on each side of the bed, they provide added comfort for your feet as you get out of bed. Placing a rug at the foot of the bed gives the room character. Here, we opted for a rectangular rug to echo the angles of the furniture.
In a child's room, rugs can be used to mark out a comfortable area for reading or resting. Rectangular or circular, it all depends on the space. A rug placed in a hallway instantly adds a touch of individuality to your home.
Rugs need to breathe and by that, we mean that their size must be in proportion to the room or the space in which you plan to put them. So, the more space you leave around a rug, the bigger your room will look. But it's also a question of style.
If you place a rug under your dining room table, make sure the rug is large enough so that the chairs sit comfortably on it. Be sure to leave a few extra centimetres so that when the chairs are pulled back, they still sit on the rug. For example, if you have a table measuring 120 x 180 cm you'll need a rug measuring at least 220 x 180 cm; for circular rugs, measure the diameter of your table and double it.
In a living room, the same rules apply, especially if you want to sit or lie on your rug. Don't forget that rugs can add to your comfort as well as enhancing your interior decoration - don't see them as simply floor 'doilies' on which to place a table. To help you work out where to put your rug or help you choose the right size, use sheets of newspaper to simulate the rug and get an idea of what it will look like.
The right size? It's all a matter of proportion
Rugs and art
The Decorum textile art exhibition held at the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris exhibited over a hundred rugs and tapestries created by modern artists (Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso, Brassaï, Anni Albers, etc.) and contemporary artists (Dewar & Gicquel, Vidya Gastaldon, Mike Kelley, etc.). The exhibition also showed how the weaving process has changed over time. Until the end of the 19th century, painters drew their designs on card, which were then woven by craftsmen, or simply included representations of carpets and rugs in their paintings (Lotto, Holbein and Delacroix). During the 20th century, European avant-garde artists revolutionised the textile design aesthetics and techniques. Artists started weaving their own rugs inspired by antique weavings and experimented with ethnic and geometric designs. They began to see this as an art form in itself, part way between painting and sculpture: highly flexible and inspired by avant-garde art, abstract art and installations. Today, a number of artists design rugs for prestigious outlets. Although in the past, this art form was considered as being minor, feminine and overly laborious, rugs have remained highly prized visual and tactile items and artists and designers continue to experiment with age-old techniques, as well as new ones.
Anni Albers, With Verticals, 1946,
Tissage pictural, 154,9 x 118 cm
Courtesy The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany
Photo: Albers Foundation/Art Resource, NY
© ADAGP, Paris, 2013
Good to know
If the rug is a key element of your decorating theme, don't forget to think about its intrinsic qualities. Rugs made from plant fibres (sisal, bamboo, hessian, etc.) or viscose are not as hard-wearing as those made from wool. It is better to place these types of rugs in areas with less footfall. Also consider its texture, which can add to your enjoyment of it. So, if you like lying on the floor, choose a rug with a soft comfortable texture. Soft-textured rugs are also great on hard floors as they absorb sound.
Finally, the golden rule: rugs should be chosen with a specific location in mind. What looks great in a hall may look awful in a bedroom. So, if you fall in love with a rug then bear these points in mind as well!