by Georgina Callan
Area rugs present a tremendous opportunity to add color and texture into the home, as supportive
design components or as statement pieces. While there are certain practical approaches to
identifying an area rug for a room (see details below), there’s a good case to consider a rug
as “art”, even to hang it on the wall.
|Having once viewed the powerful work of Italian furniture designer Paola Lenti, it’s not
difficult to be inspired, even to rethink an entire room to accommodate one of her
|The “rope” material, made of 100% polyolefin, is woven into distinct geometric designs,
with gradations of color that have become hallmarks of this manufacturer’s designs.
|A loop pile rug in one of just many colors available.
|Felt rug by Paolo Lenti artfully stitched into a geometric design with careful handling
of the color palette.
|AREA RUG “HOW TO”
In choosing an area rug there is a set of logistics that needs to be navigated. Is the
furniture “off the rug” or “on the rug”, are questions often asked. One way to address
this is to look at the room as a whole. How does the rug fit in the overall space? A rug
that is too large will give the furniture the impression that it is drowning a sea, lost on
an ocean of “rug” that is far too big for the seating group, and, possibly, the room.
Choose a rug that is too small and the seating group feels forced and contrived,
and somewhat uncomfortable, like a person whose clothes are too tight. Either way,
having a rug that is too large or too small makes socializing a particular challenge.
As in most aspects of design the selection of an area rug must speak not only to
function but to design (pattern and color) and texture. Once the measurements
have been figured out, and it’s a good thing to be flexible here, because unless
you are buying a fully customizable rug, you will be bound by manufacturer’s
sizes, which run along the lines of (largest to smallest) 11 x 14’, 9 x 12’, 8 x 10’,
6 x 9’, 5 x 7’ and 4 x 6’.
There’s a reason why most rugs are rectangular. Circular or oval rugs are challenging
because the furniture placement may fight with the scale of the rug, and it is for this
reason that circular or oval rugs are often used only as statement pieces rather than
Material choice is important. Wool, felt, silk, synthetic and blended materials are all
options, but the actual material selected is often subordinate to the overall decision
about size, color and texture.
In identifying the right rug for a room, assess the space. What is the traffic pattern?
Where to people enter and exit the room? How do they navigate the furniture?
Do you want one large rug upon which most furniture items sit, uniting the room
practically and in a visual sense? Or is the rug to serve as an accent piece,
perhaps under a coffee table. Do you want the rug to delineate the room,
as a foundational piece, or does it serve as color support for other pieces in the
room. All these questions will help determine the size of rug that will fit the space.
All rug images by Paola Lenti, available at www.be-design.us