Hello fellow design enthusiasts! Below is a continuation of our three part series All About Rugs, this time focusing on Purchasing Considerations. Enjoy!
Written by Casey Cunningham in collaboration with Laura Burton.
Welcome back to Part 2 of my series: “I Love Rugs and Somebody Finally Gave Me a Platform to Talk About Them so I’m Going to Milk that with a Three Part Soapbox Rant” (Or whatever Laura named it).
Now that you understand why rugs are important and I’ve got you riled up to get your hands on your own fancy-pants rug, let’s talk about purchasing considerations. What are your needs when it comes to lifestyle, budget, maintenance, size, functionality and design style?
PART TWO - PURCHASING CONSIDERATIONS
Do you eat on the furniture? Do you have pets? Kids? Do you love to host GoT watch parties where people drink wine and yell at the TV when their favorite characters meet their untimely demise?
Sometimes people say they don’t want to spend a lot on a rug because they have kids or entertain a lot and have a high probability of spills that will surely ruin the rug. FALSE: (To be read in Dwight Schrute’s voice). A good quality wool can often hold up to spills better than a budget wool. Because, science.
How often do you like to change up your environment? There are two types of buyers when it comes to design: 1) the “buy the best you can afford once” crowd, and 2) the “fast home decor” buyer who likes to switch things up often, spend less up front, and keep things “fresh”. Which one are you?
(Side note: Keeping things “fresh” is still no excuse to make impulse purchases or compromise on quality. Even if you’re working with a budget, good design is curated and intentional. Be prepared to be patient and plan in advance rather than scrambling to decorate before a party).
Then there’s the “Barefoot Test”. How do you want the rug to feel? Does it matter if it’s a little scratchy on bare feet? Do you want it to be extra cushy? Will the kids be laying on the rug?
How often do you like to vacuum? Will your Golden Retriever’s fur blend in with it? Does that matter?
Only you truly know your budget, and everyone has one. Maybe your budget doesn’t allow for a $20k, hand knotted antique rug. But you can still purchase a natural fiber rug such as wool, jute, sisal, etc.. If your home style allows, you can get a quality flatweave style for considerably less than something hand knotted, and still have an upscale look.
Make sure it fits your room. Don’t go smaller to save money – you’ll regret it. Know what your furniture layout is going to be, and as a general rule at least the front two legs of each piece of furniture should be on the rug. If you’re dealing with a dining space, plan on allowing roughly three feet all the way around the table. This way your guest’s chairs are never half on / half off the rug. In a living room, pay close attention to the side tables. As always, careful and thorough planning helps avoid unfortunate surprises.
How much color are you comfortable with in a space? What is the architecture of your home? Are you looking for a statement piece, something to blend in, or something to provide more textural impact? Is your style trendy, timeless, modern, boho, global or traditional? There are different rug types suited for each of these styles, and the rug will either contribute toward (or detract from) the overall affect.
BONUS: BUYING TIPS
Quality rugs are pricey. Period. If you see an 8x10 patterned rug, with a bunch of detail for $300 do not be tempted! (especially if you’re buying online). It is likely a machine made of polypropylene. This has a very different look than a wool rug and may affect the overall quality of your design.
Avoid buying online without a sample or seeing it in person first. Rugs are hard to photograph, and colors are difficult to capture. They often look VERY different in person. Always try to see a sample first. If you are buying from one of the online vintage rug shops that have popped up lately, have some wiggle room in your color scheme. (Back to the rug first argument).
Make sure you are buying from a knowledgeable, reputable vendor. There can be a huge mark-up in this industry and some vendors will initially quote a price that’s several times the actual value of the rug. Sometimes they come from countries where haggling is the norm. Buying a rug from a reputable showroom with clearly marked, fair prices makes for a more enjoyable buying experience.
Hand tufted rugs are a cost-effective way to still have a wool rug, but know that they will shed. Sometimes a lot. This can be frustrating if you are a neat freak.
Ethical practices. Many vendors and weavers have programs benefiting the people who weave the rugs and their families. If this is something that interests you, ask your showroom contact or spend a little time doing some research online to get more info on companies that offer these programs.
Thanks for playing along, friends! I hope this piece presented you with some thought-provoking questions. In our third and final installment, we’ll be looking at basic styles and current trends in the rug world.