Carol Maryott: A Focus on Area Rugs

We talked with interior designer Carol Maryott about our shared loved for all things area rugs!

What does the market for area rugs look like right now?

There is a rug for every taste, style and budget, and homeowners are getting more adventurous when selecting color and textures.  We are seeing wools and silks mixed together.  Non-traditional materials such as sisal, jute and abacca are being dyed and woven into rugs.

Sounds like a lot of options. What are some of the variations you can see in the cut, shape and design of an area rug?

Area rug shapes are typically rectangular and square, but are also now being made with scalloped edges.  There is a trend toward geometric and large –scale patterns.  A typical Persian rug has a smaller, intricate and balanced design, but many new rugs are asymmetrical with bold stripes or flowers.

One of the reasons for the popularity of area rugs in the past few years is due to the extensive use of hard surface flooring.  Area rugs are an easy way to change the mood of a space.  While wood floors add warmth and beauty to any space, rugs give a room comfort.  They can provide a focal point and help unify the colors in a room.  When starting to design a room, conventional wisdom says to select the area rug first.

Can a rug be the inspiration for a room?

Yes! The rug serves as the inspiration and link to the space’s other colors.  Before choosing a living room rug, decide whether to have one large rug or multiple smaller rugs to anchor different seating areas within the room.

How do I know which size rug to buy for my space?

When using one large rug, leave a minimum of 18 inches of bare floor space around the perimeter.  There is no maximum rule but 24 inches is often used. If it is a very small room, such as a foyer or entry way, you can get away with having less than 18 inches of bare floor showing around the rug, possibly, even 8 inches in a small space. Allowances must also be made for the space between the rug’s edge and a protruding hearth.

The guidelines for dining room rugs or any table that has a rug under it is that the distance from the edge of the table to the edge of the rug should be at least 24 inches. This will allow the back legs of the chairs to be on the rug when the chairs are pulled out.

So I can buy smaller rugs to make my space work?

Smaller area rugs can anchor distinct seating areas. The main seating area should have the largest rug, with smaller rugs in secondary furniture groupings.

When clustering furniture, it is preferable to have all furniture fit on the rug.  If all furniture for the room is available before choosing the rug, arrange the furniture before determining the size of a new area rug.  Multiple rugs in one room should be complementary in color and design, but do not have to be identical. Using two of the same rug in different spots in the same room helps define separate areas without causing the eye to become overwhelmed with two different rugs.

Incredible, Carol! Thanks so much for sharing your expertise!

Happy to share my thoughts and advice!

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