Finding the perfect rug

Finding the perfect rug

I’ve talked about my new found love of dark colours and moving away from my safe space of white walls (here and here) but we’re moving house soon, so as much as I’d like to get my hands on a new decorating project, I’ll just have to wait. That hasn’t stopped me putting a little TLC into our home and ‘nesting’ as I like to call it; creating a warm, cosy space until we find a new place to live and I can get out the paint brushes. I’m also making small, little changes to tidy up our home and make it more inviting to potential buyers.

So welcome to my new addition, this dreamy, deep, dark grey and navy blue rug by Esprit from Modern Rugs. It’s my nod to the trend at the moment for dark walls and moody colours. It somehow grounds the sofa area, picking up on the dark shades of the cushions and the dusky blue of the art print, to create a cosy nook of thick textures. From the soft linen of the cushions to the warm wool of the blanket and the rug’s thick mix of jute and wool, the space appeals to the senses and invites you to just sit back, snuggle up and rest a while. I’m loving it, even if I did find it a little harder to photograph than normal, I’m used to light coloured fabrics that reflect and bounce light about. But in the end, I had to just go with the moodier shades and go over to the dark side… It’s rather dreamy, no?

Our new dark, moody rug
Our new dark, moody rug
Finding the perfect rug
The living room is now a warm, cosy space to relax in

Woven by hand in small workshops in India, the rug’s thick texture of grey-blue and black yarns make it ideal for camping out on the floor and going through a pile of magazines. I love it when a rug is so comfortable that friends coming round would prefer to sit on it and gather round the coffee table than sit on the sofa; it brings people together and creates a relaxing atmosphere.

Finding the perfect rug
What better thing to do on a Sunday afternoon than settle down to a coffee and good book…

It’s often difficult to find the perfect rug – too big, too small, too patterned, not bold enough – and I’ve had a few disasters myself so I thought I’d share some of my top tips I’ve learnt along the way:

– Think about how the room is used and how much wear and tear it is likely to get. A family living room might need a strong, durable rug in a hardwearing natural material like sisal or jute, whereas a guest bedroom might benefit from something more handmade with finer yarns. Flat weaves and low piles are easier to clean and better for living rooms, with children dashing in and out and pets dragging in dirt, whereas more luxurious deep piles and delicate vintage rugs take a bit more love and care

– Invest in something of good quality and you won’t need to replace it anytime soon. I once made a mistake of buying a cheap, thin rug that was impossible to clean, kept snagging and didn’t feel soft and substantial underfoot. It didn’t last long and I instantly regretted that I hadn’t spent that little bit more on something that would last longer

Finding the perfect rug
The sturdy mix of jute and wool of this rug make it ideal for a living room which might get a lot of wear and tear
finding the perfect rug
Our living room is really light, a darker rug makes it feel cosier and less cold

– Brighten a dark space with a light coloured rug but make a light space feel warm and inviting with a deep rich colour

– Colourwise, pick out colours you already have in a room, it might pick up on a couple of cushions or an artwork on the wall, for example here the dark grey/blue of the rug fits in with the mid-century armchair and linen cushions on the sofa

– But equally, don’t feel you need to be too matchy matchy, otherwise it might look too contrived and like something from a catalogue; it could be a chance to try out that colour you were too afraid to add to the walls, or as a way to add some pattern and intrigue to a neutral room. The key is to always make sure it fits with the style and tones of the rest of the space

– With designs, patterns and shapes, think about timelessness and longevity rather than trends you might get bored with after a few months

Finding the perfect rug
Let the rug run under the sofa to create a seamless space

– More practically speaking, measure the space where you would like to place the rug so you know how much room you have to work with and compare with measurements of rugs you’ve seen online or in stores

– You can then measure out the size of your potential rug, simply by using some masking tape on the floor or by placing pieces of furniture and books to roughly create its shape. This will give you an idea of how much room the rug might take up and how it will impact other furniture in the room without committing to one design – you can just peel off the tape afterwards. A rug looks very different in store to in your own home; it might look huge in the shop, then you get it home and it looks a bit small and pathetic, and doesn’t have the impact you were expecting, or vice versa, so always check your measurements

– I always think it’s better to go slightly bigger with rugs, the biggest blunder is having a rug too small for a room – it looks a bit like a lost ship at sea I think. You want to create a strong focal point but also so that the rug becomes part of the room, a whole seamless look, and a cosy space to be in. For example, in a living room, instead of having a gap between the edge of the rug and the sofa, be a bit more generous and let the rug run slightly under the sofa or chairs to create a warm, cohesive space. In a dining room, place a rug under the dining table that extends beyond the chairs (you should be able to pull out a chair and it still be on the rug), while in a bedroom let the rug pass under the bed to create a soft surface to put your feet on either side of the bed

– In a bigger room, especially if you have tiled or wooden floors, you can let the rug run almost to the very edge of the four walls, to unite all the pieces of furniture in a room and make a space look bigger

– Always use a rug underlay to stop it slipping out of place (much easier for hoovering too) and extend its life span

Finding the perfect rug
Invest in an underlay to keep the rug in place and stop it from slipping
Finding the perfect rug
Use your senses and go for something that’s soft, textural and homely

– Most of all, use your senses and go with touch. Don’t be afraid to take your shoes off in a shop and put your (preferably clean socked!) feet on a rug, after all you’d sit on a sofa or lie on a bed if you were shopping for furniture. Have a good feel and compare how different rugs feel to the skin so you find what you like. You’ll likely be in contact with a rug every day, placing your feet on it as you get out of bed or sitting on it when you have friends gathered round and there’s not enough seats in the living room; so you want it to be smooth to touch, comfortable and warm, not scratchy or miserably thin

Finding the perfect rug

A well thought out and well placed rug can really complete a space, transforming it from cold to warm, from mis-matched to coherent and harmonious. I hope I’ve helped you for next time you find yourself rug hunting and in need of a little inspiration.

This post was written in collaboration with Modern Rugs, all images my own.

  1. Such a lovely rug! I’ve been eyeing up a few rugs lately but wasn’t really sure what to go for. This post has helped massively – I think I’m going to go for a grey, but we’ll see…

    Thanks so much for you fab post. The tips are genuinely so useful for a first time rug-buyer like myself 😉


  2. Such a thorough post on something that actually a lot of people overlook. I bought a rug quickly without putting too much thought into it & I could have picked a lot better. On the slow hunt for something more permanent now. Love the one you chose, just got to convince the boyfriend that it’s needed now! x

  3. Lovely post and such a gorgeous rug. I have some serious house envy 😉 Ax

  4. Our house is mostly rug free due to allergies. I always have rug envy when I see a post like this. I love the drama of yours. Where did you find your To the Lighthouse print? I love those Holgarth press covers of Virgina Woolf/Vanessa Bell!

  5. Lovely living room Cate and that rug fits in perfectly.

  6. What a lovely space you have created. And that rug is a wonderful addition. It definitely makes the space feel a lot more cosy.

  7. That’s a lovely rug and great tips. Whilst I like white walls, I’d probably never buy a white or very light rug as we literally walk on it and it would show way too much dirt – not that our house is that filthy 😉 Have a lovely weekend xo

    • Yes white rugs aren’t at all practical! I’m hoping the stains and marks won’t show on this one, so yay less hoovering! X

  8. This is lovely- has an almost herringbone/suiting look to it, very boutique !

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