Underestimating the importance of a rug is a rookie mistake when it comes to décor. The overall aesthetic of your space can feel askew without the anchor piece holding all the separate pieces together. Whether you're revamping a living room or embarking on a more large-scale makeover, the rug you select can make or break the look you're going for. But before you grab your wallet and alert the search party, know that rug shopping can't be rushed.
Take it from blogger Samantha Wennerstrom of Could I Have That, who recently realized the living room and dining room of her Spanish-style Santa Barbara home were in need of a winter pick-me-up. "The rooms were looking dark and dreary, so I wanted to transform them with something clean, refreshing, and rich to reflect the cozy season," she explains. For that, the blogger teamed up with renowned Los Angeles–based rug purveyor Lawrence of La Brea, known for its rich collections of unique, refined rugs from around the world. Check out her style tips below and learn the five things you should check off your list before you shop for a rug.
On her overall aesthetic: "Overall, I've been really into the stark contrast of black and white mixed with woven or natural elements, a juxtaposition of country girl meets city girl. Before shopping, think about what your end goal is for the space," Wennerstrom advises. "Take into consideration the existing light and wall color and the other pieces you're working with. It's easy to fall in love with a rug that may not make sense."
On her dining room: "I typically lean toward muted or faded patterns, but I've been known to make an exception. The rug I chose for the dining room has a very relaxed and timeless feel to it. It's clean and bright and will easily translate through each season. I was also surprised how a lighter rug complemented the wood dining table."
On her living room: For the living space, Wennerstrom went for a muted wool rug with a subtle pattern to make the space feel bigger. "Once we laid out the vintage Turkish rug in the living room, I realized the tiles over our fireplace subtly mimic the pattern in the rug—completely different, yet they somehow work!"
Ready to start shopping? See Wennerstrom's five key tips below.
5 Key Tips for Finding the Perfect Rug:
1. Measure: Don't estimate the size of your room. Take the time to measure exactly where your rug will lie, because there's nothing worse than buying a rug and finding out that it doesn't fit.
2. Colors: Consider the existing light, the colors of your walls, and the hue of your furniture. "I was surprised to see how a lighter rug complemented our table, making the wood stand out more," says Wennerstrom.
3. Artwork: "Artwork is a great way to mirror the colors in your rug," explains Wennerstrom. "If you're still stumped as to which palette to choose, try pulling in contrasting colors from key wall décor in the room."
4. Vintage-to-Modern Ratio: Pair a vintage rug with modern furniture to create a sense of balance. You'll find that the patterns of an antique rug can be compatible with more modern big-ticket pieces (and vice versa).
5. The Door Test: Size and fit are important. But don't skip the entry points of the room in question. It's always a smart idea to consider where the door swings open in a room, because some Moroccan rugs won't fit underneath them.
Shop Wennerstrom's Favorite Rugs
Pop quiz: What North American rug style is reminiscent of the Turkish Kilim rug? Visit Lawrence of La Brea for the answer.