Tread and tested: the art of buying a rug
PUBLISHED: 15:39 23 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:40 23 August 2019
You'll live with it for decades to come, which may explain why choosing a rug can be a daunting task. Luckily, The Rug Studio's Rachel Simpson helps to break it down for us.
Put the rug first
Ideally you should make the rug your starting point, with complementary furnishings being next on your list, as Rachel Simpson of The Rug Studio in Holt, explains: "There are thousands of fabrics and wallpapers to match the rug but once the restrictions of atmosphere, size, and budget have been implemented the choice in rugs shrinks - especially if you want to buy well."
To get a sense of what you want, keep your eyes peeled for ideas. And that doesn't just mean fixating on the floor when you're visiting friends; "Look in magazines, rip out the pages you like, create mood boards or similar through Pinterest," Rachel suggests. To avoid your item dating too quickly, go for a timeless look rather than a high fashion or flash-in-the-pan trend.
"A rug will sustain heavy traffic, the modern family, kids, pets and entertaining," says Rachel - so it ought to be durable. "A true hand-knotted rug will achieve all these things and still outlive all other soft furnishings." Rachel advises opting for a good Persian, Indian or Afghan rug, which all have an average life of 70+ years, while one that's full of colour can constantly be redecorated around and moved from room to room.
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A matter of size
Before you buy, lay newspaper or a sheet down to help you see the impact of scale in the room, Rachel advises. When it comes to fitting around furniture, these guiding rules are useful to follow: "If the rug is going underneath a dining table, ensure all four legs will remain on the rug once people are seated and while relaxing at the end of the meal." Meanwhile, for sitting rooms, having the front legs of sofas and armchairs resting on the rug helps the room to feel bigger, and it also grounds the furniture to stop each item from "floating".
Patterned or plain?
You're signing up to live with this item for the long run; so how do you decide whether to go for a lively design or something pared back? "With patterned rugs, sofas and curtains can look fabulous if the scale and colour palette complement each other. So whether to go plain or patterned comes down to personal choice and creating a sense of atmosphere," says Rachel. Opting for plain? Look for a subtle natural tonal movement, which is both more interesting and forgiving of marks than a plain solid colour.
When you're ready to buy, Rachel recommends finding a reputable independent retailer with a cross range of styles and qualities. You should be able to discuss your brief with them and, as Rachel explains, the mark of a quality seller is that "they should allow you to take a few home to try in situ, or bring them to your place to see." You needn't pay a fortune for a rug to be good - "It just has to be original, hand knotted and made from quality materials," Rachel says. And if you're buying second-hand, always have it professionally cleaned: "One wouldn't wear a second-hand jumper without washing it, so I recommend the same for rugs. After all, you'd hate to bring bugs, moth or carpet beetle into your home."
The Rug Studio is at Holt Antiques & Interiors Centre, Candlestick Lane, Holt, NR25 6SU. For more information, visit www.therugstudio.co.uk