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  • Writer's pictureElisha Rickward

Making use of rugs in your home decorating scheme

It probably comes as no surprise that I love the use of beautiful rugs in decorating your home. Why? Because they serve multiple purposes from absorbing sound, creating warmth in your home and defining spaces . They also offer the opportunity to create an unexpected statement on top of (dare I say it?) less exciting substrates like timber, concrete or tile.

Not only can rugs can make a huge difference as to how a room looks and feels they can even impact the way a room functions by creating more intimate zones within a larger space.

When thinking about the aesthetic side of rugs and how to incorporate them in your home, rugs can either sit in harmony with the other elements of your room creating a soft layered look as shown in this room as decorated by Mike D. Sikes which actually showcases a rug layered on another rug

Image credit: Architectural Digest

or they can instead add an element of fun and surprise and whimsy to a room as shown in this light and breezy home where the soft grey from the rug is echoed on the feature wall.

Image credit:

If you like the idea of incorporating pattern and colour into a space but feeling a bit nervous about being overwhelmed by the ‘character’ of that colour and pattern, the floor is the perfect place to start. Using pattern below your eyeline makes it less intrusive when you walk into a space. It is not as visually arresting as a wall of wallpaper would be so its an easy way to ease yourself into using colour and pattern and home.

The powerful graphic nature of this rug below as used in the work of Tobi Fairley might be overwhelming on the walls but provides a big lift to the scheme below which might otherwise be a bit bland.

Image credit: Tobi Fairley

Drawing on the colours used in a rug can be a great starting point for inspiration for the rest of a room scheme as shown her in this design by Anna Spiro and featuring a rug from her own collection (available here in Australia from Designer Rugs). It looks like Anna has used the pink and green from the rug as a starting point for wall colours in this scheme. She has played with the tonal values of the pink and green so that that are not 'matchy-matchy' which in my opinion would be way too much but instead provide a link between the elements.

Image Credit: Anna Spiro

The red wedding cabinet was the starting point for the design inspiration in the client job below. My clients had a more traditional aesthetic so we looked for a Persian rug with a similar colour palette and then ran with that colour to create visual interest and tie the scheme together.

Design by Rickward Design Studio.

As evidenced above (and below) rugs are placed under large furniture items like sofas or beds so that you see a pop of pattern and colour and not an overwhelming expanse of the rug so that the overall effect is softened. This means you can be more bold with your selection than you may otherwise be if the rug is fully exposed.

Image Credit: adore home magazine

So how do you successfully introduce rugs into your space? Keep reading…

Don’t skimp on the size of the rug. This is probably the number one mistake I see when visiting people in their homes - that they have selected a rug that is too small for the space. The problem with having a too small rug is that the rug seems to float in space rather than anchor the elements of the room. Wherever possible pay for the biggest rug that the room can handle – even if it means to upsize you choose a rug that has a cheaper price point. I do appreciate that rugs can be expensive but they are generally cheaper than carpet and larger rugs certainly give a feeling of generosity and luxury.

When working with a rug under the bed remember that the rug should ideally be large enough to extend well beyond the 3 sides of the bed (assuming the fourth side is against the wall) by at least 30 cms for single and/or double beds. When you upsize for a queen or king size bed you should be more generous with your proportions – and allow for a minimum of at least 50 cm (assuming the room can handle it).

Make use of rugs to help zone large open plan spaces. Rugs are a great design tool to reinforce areas within large open spaces and creating zones so that rooms function more effectively. You can congregate and therefore link pieces of furniture on top a rug like a coffee table and sofa so that more intimate zones within a larger space are created.

Use rugs to help minimise noise in wide open spaces – rugs are a fantastic solution to help absorb sounds if you have tiled floors or hardwoods in your home and if you live in an apartment with poor acoustics there is no doubt the dwellers below will thank you for their inclusion - trust me I have first hand experience on this!

Do extend rugs under furniture wherever possible – this comes back to choosing a generous size rug at the outset. When selecting a rug if budget permits make sure it extends under all the key pieces of furniture. This is particularly important in a living room where all of the furniture should at least touch the rug. By touching I mean that at least the front legs of the sofa should sit on the rug with a minimum of 20 cm tucked beneath. See this helpful image from for a quick visual

There are so many opportunities for fun and function when using rugs in your space - I hope this has given you some ideas.

Elisha x


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