This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

How To Choose The Perfect Rug

Interiors

For interior designer Lauren Li of Sisällä, the right rug selection has the power to instantly lift the look and feel of a room. ‘A floor rug that has just the right amount of pattern, colour and texture is the essential ingredient to creating a magical space,’ she assures us!

However, selecting said floor rug can also be VERY time consuming, and rugs are expensive. Today, Lauren helps us with this challenge, sharing some advice to consider when hunting for a new rug, along with a bunch of seriously swoon-worthy options.

15th August, 2018

‘Go large or go home people!’ – Lauren Li.

Floor rugs tell stories of nomadic tribes in faraway places, of weavers, magic carpet rides and of age-old traditions. They are not only home furnishings; their patterns hold meaning and tell a story of the people and place where they were woven, often using ancient techniques and with a good dose of creativity and soul. Natural fibres such as wool and silk are hand-dyed and woven into a pattern resulting in the most stunning pieces, which are almost too beautiful to set foot on!

In interiors, a floor rug is essential in creating a complete room. Rugs add movement, colour, softness and ground a space. They define zones in an open-plan area, help with acoustics, feel lovely to walk on and, of course, look beautiful. The right floor rug should sit quietly in the space, connecting the colours and patterns of the room. It shouldn’t be too overpowering nor too neutral.

My personal pet-hate is when a rug is too small – go large or go home people! I have a few other rules too:

1. All of the living room furniture needs to sit on the floor rug. At least 30 centimetres of the rug needs to go under the front legs of the sofa, and depending on the layout, often the entire sofa needs to sit on the floor rug. Armchairs and side tables should also be able to fit on a rug because it should ground the space, rather than float around. Plus, a small rug will only make the room seem smaller too.

2. I am yet to see a brightly coloured, round shaped rug that didn’t belong in a childcare centre. Instead, I recommend opting for a neutral round rug or a brightly coloured rug in a more conventional rectangular shape.

3. A plush pile beige floor rug will show every mark! Unless you are able to carefully look after it, this style of rug can easily look a bit grubby. For this reason, light coloured rugs are best kept away from external doors.

4. This is an item that you’ll need to save your money for, don’t be tempted to try to save money by buying the smaller size. A rug that is too small just ‘floats’ in the space, and no matter how expensive it was, will look a bit cheap.

5. What about floor rugs under dining tables? The answer is yes, and no. It really depends on your lifestyle: if you have small children that spill things all the time, then a rug under the table is not a good idea. It also really depends on the type of rug – go for something patterned and textured that can hide small stains, and make sure it’s really large so that the table and all chairs fit on it. In an open plan space, this rug placement can help to create a zone and also with acoustics.

There are an enormous number of floor rugs on the market, however, they always seem hard to find. I’ve delved into the depths of all of the rug suppliers that I know to show you the best, in varied price points. From traditional to rustic boho, casual coastal to colourful and bold, with some neutral options thrown in, I hope that there are some ideas to get you started.

When all of the sources have been exhausted there is always the luxury of having a custom rug made for you to your exact colour, design and size. Keep in mind that custom rugs are made by human hands, sometimes they are created in the open air by multiple artisans at once. You are not only buying a beautiful piece for your home, you’re also buying craftsmanship, time and a dash of inspiration and soul. A custom-made rug is a true luxury.

Casual and Coastal

If you’re looking to keep it nice and natural, there are plenty of beautiful floor rugs to choose from. Opting for a light coloured floor rug? You’ll need plenty of interesting texture that can help disguise marks and stains. Texture is also a way to add interest to space as a lack of colour and texture can look bit dull.

Consider layering floor rugs, with a large sisal rug underneath and another patterned rug on top.

1. Rug from Tigmi Trading

2. Alpine Diamond Slate (60x90cm) rug from Dash & Albert

3. Blue Platinum rugs from Dash & Albert

4. Interior inspiration c/o Cliff Top House project by Hare + Klein

5. Latitude Collection rug Cairo in wheat from Armadillo&Co

Traditional

These rugs are timeless and work well in so many different types of spaces and architectural styles – everything from mid-century open-plan homes, to Victorian mansions or contemporary houses.

Genuine antique rugs with Persian, Anatolian, Caucasian and European origins are true investments as they don’t date and can be passed down through the family.

1. Interior inspiration c/o project by Arent & Pyke (photo – Felix Forest)

2. Rug from Cadrys

3.  Inside the home of Ferne Colls and family. (photo – Sean Fennessy)

Colour

Adding colour to a space by way of a floor rug is always a great idea.

If you’re a little bit cautious, don’t stress; furniture pieces will be placed onto the floor rug, which helps to break up a bold splash of colour.  And remember, a floor rug is in no way as overpowering as adding such bold colour to your curtains!

1. Totem rug from Designer Rugs

2. Purls of Wisdom rug from Designer Rugs

3. ‘Jan Kath Lost Weave’ (250x300cm) rug from Cadrys

Hallway

Finding the perfect hall runner feel like striking gold! I will say that the chances of finding a runner in the right colours, pattern and length to suit a particular space can often be slim. You might have to have a runner be custom made for the length of your hallway. Otherwise, one alternative is to mix-and-match a couple of vintage Moroccan rugs.

1. Nepalese ‘Jan Kath Haik’ (420x115cm) rug from Cadrys

2. Antique Bakhtiar Lori (99x230cm) rug from Cadrys

Rustic Boho

Some trends come and go but the Moroccan rug is firmly here to stay. This shaggy wool rug comes in various patterns according to its origins, and are relevant to the location in which it is created.

I’ve found that their typical natural colours and, of course, that beautiful texture make these rugs very forgiving to live with.

1. Latitude Collection rug ‘Berber Knot Zulu’ in natural shale from Armadillo&Co

2. Moroccan rug boujad in ivory and mustard brown from Tigmi Trading

3.  Interior inspiration c/o  Tigmi Trading

4.  Iranian ‘Aleph Ghaschgai Teppich’ (185x107cm) rug from Cadrys

5. Nepalese ‘Jan Kath Diamond’ (299x259cm) rug from Cadrys

Cool and Calm

I’m a huge fan of blue rugs, as I’ve seen shades of this colour works so well in many houses. It’s so easy to live with and combines with other colours and materials so easily.

1. Vintage rug in antique wash (310x413cm) from Loom

2. Interior shot featuring rug from Cadrys

3. Walter G Bungle Bungle (365x457cm) rug in natural from Cadrys

Not just for Living Rooms

Floor rugs are a great addition in just about every area of the house, so don’t just limit them to the living room. Consider the entry, kitchen, bathroom and those in-between spaces. A rug can add so much personality and totally change the way a space can feel.

Sometimes a rectangular rug just won’t suit areas of the house, such as the entryway, so here you can try a round or organic shape.  An unusual shape can often be a perfect out-of-theme addition to a space with lots of architectural straight lines.

1. Ames Sala Nudo (large) rug in blue orange ochre from Halcyon Lake

2. Perennial Collection rug Camellia from Armadillo&Co

3. Splash mat Fleck rug from Amigos de Hoy at Apartment Sisällä

Nice and Neutral

If there is a lot going on in the room, a neutral rug can be the best option. But neutral definitely doesn’t mean boring!

Make sure that there’s some interesting texture to give it a lift, and also help hide little stains so it’s easier to live with.

1. Sheepskin area rug from Hides of Excellence

2. City Wellington rug from Halcyon Lake

3. Hutton rug from Designer Rugs

Bring Everything Together

If you have a space that has quite a few eclectic elements going on, then it can be amazing to see how everything can come together with the perfect floor rug.  A rug that has a few colours in it, can ground the space and tie everything in together.

A large graphic pattern is a great way to unify through colour, without having a rug look too busy.

1. Nobsa (large) rug in rose ochre from Halcyon Lake

2. Tammy Kanat Expose rug from Cadrys

3. Tapis/Oldie Nomad 2.0 rug in blue from Loom

4. Patricia Urquiola Vision A Soie rug from Loom

Black and White

When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a black-and-white floor rug.

These are guaranteed to go with anything and always look elegant and smart.

1. Noor collection in cream/black (297x251cm) from Loom

2. DAPPLE by GN rug from Designer Rugs

3. Broken Lines rug in black from The Rug Collection

Affordable & Cheerful

You all know that obvious Swedish place to go for affordable rugs (IKEA) so I’m going to try and open your eyes to some other bargains here!

In general, flatweave rugs and rag rugs are the most affordable options.

1. Rug from HK Living

2. Rug from HK Living

3. Boho-Lennox rug from The Rug Collection

4. Moroccan Ribbed Diamonds rug from Cadrys

Grown-Up Luxury

There are some rugs that make me weak at the knees, they are just too beautiful.  The silk glistens and feels unbelievably soft, the craftsmanship is exquisite and they are works of art that you walk on.

These are to be reserved for the ‘good room’, that penthouse or the bedroom.

1. Luxe collection Cube rug in silver from Loom

2. Shibori Dots rug in earth from Halcyon Lake

View Comments

Similar Stories

Interiors

Californian Cool (And How To Get It)

From timber rafters to vintage armchairs, our new interiors columnist Lauren Li gives us the low-down on achieving the laidback look.
Lauren Li

Interiors

The Best Sofa In The World

Statement Sofas, Small Spaces Sofas, Modular Sofas, Share House Sofas... Our interiors columnist Lauren Li shares her definitive sofa recom...
Lauren Li

This Week

Interiors

A New Standard In Architectural And Interior Hardware

Linear Standard is a sleek new range of door handles and hardware, designed in Melbourne.
Miriam McGarry

Homes

The Rainbow Rental

Kitiya Palaskas shares her Pascoe Vale rental, filled with art, plants, textiles and life!

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Anna Schwartz, Gallerist

Passions for art, food and culture intertwine, in the daily routine of this inimitable Melbourne icon. 

Exhibition

A New Lens On Mid-Century Icons!

Celebrated photographer Derek Swalwell launches his latest exhibition, Farnsworth + Miller, at Fini Gallery, opening this Thursday!
Lucy Feagins
  3 hours ago

Art

Flock To The New Exhibition From ‘Bird Nerd’ Leila Jeffreys!

The photographer shares her upcoming show ‘High Society’ opening October 16th at the Olsen Gallery, Woollahra.
Miriam McGarry

Join The Conversation On Designing A Sustainable Future

Lucy hosts a dynamic panel discussion with three local leaders (and ladies!) in sustainable design – Join us!
Miriam McGarry

Interiors

These Are Officially The BEST Rooms In Australia!

Australian House and Garden's celebrate their Top 50 Rooms for 2019.

News

Australia’s Largest Celebration Of Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Art

The Tarnanthi Festival returns in 2019 at the Art Gallery of South Australia.
Sponsored

Architecture

The Perfect Red Hill Retreat

Templeton Architecture connect a collection of buildings on a rural site into a contemporary country dream home.
Miriam McGarry

Modernist Australia

A Secret Modernist Stunner For Sale On Sydney's North Shore

After cherishing this unbelievable home for over 45 years, the current owners are ready to hand over the keys to a considerate new custodian...
Patricia Callan

Photography

Celebrating 10 Years Of Photography With Broadsheet Editions

A new collection of framed photographic prints, from Broadsheet's stable of stellar local photographers.

News

Your Chance To Step Inside Tasmania’s Most Iconic Buildings + Homes!

Over 70 buildings in and around Hobart will be open to the public across November 9th-10th!
Sponsored

Studio Visit

Shannon Garson's Exquisite Hand Painted Porcelain

A studio visit with celebrated Sunshine Coast ceramicist, Shannon Garson.
Jo Hoban

Art

Muted, Geometric Paintings by Bec Smith

An exhibition of subdued and stunning paintings by Melbourne artist Bec Smith opens tonight at Saint Cloche gallery in Sydney.
Miriam McGarry

News

Billie Justice Thomson Presents Human-Sized Paintings in ‘Big Show’

A show of epic proportions (literally) by Billie Justice Thomson at Modern Times!
Amelia Barnes

Similar Stories

Interiors

Californian Cool (And How To Get It)

From timber rafters to vintage armchairs, our new interiors columnist Lauren Li gives us the low-down on achieving the laidback look.
Lauren Li

Interiors

The Best Sofa In The World

Statement Sofas, Small Spaces Sofas, Modular Sofas, Share House Sofas... Our interiors columnist Lauren Li shares her definitive sofa recom...
Lauren Li