How to: decorate with patterned area rugs

By Sklar Furnishings

Designer Tips and How to Guides

March 2, 2017

Playing it safe with area rugs is not for everybody. There is an abundance of creative, colorful rugs available, meaning it’s never been easier to customize your floors. We’ve assembled a few pointers to help make extravagant, patterned area rugs work for you.

Avoiding the “too busy” trap: Perhaps the most common concern homeowners experience when choosing a patterned rug is that it might make the room look too busy — too much pattern, too many colors, too much going on. Balance and contrast are your allies here. Offset a patterned rug with solid-colored furnishings and plain walls for an effect that’s exciting but not overwhelming. Multiple patterns in a single room, in the form of upholstery, window coverings or wallpaper are for serious risk takers only.

The 60-30-10 rule: You may already be familiar with the 60-30-10 color rule. It’s a rule of thumb for devising a color scheme, and whether you are adding a rug to an existing room or designing a new look around the rug, it can be a handy tool.

To put the 60-30-10 rule into action, design your space around three main colors; a dominant color, a secondary color and an accent color. 60% of the room should feature the dominant color, 30% the secondary color and 10% the accent color. In most rooms the dominant color will be the wall color, the secondary your furniture color, and the accent will be reflected in your choice of accessories. Whether you consider your area rug an accessory or a furnishing is going to be a matter of personal judgment, but look at your color scheme as a whole and consider how each part is represented.

Proportion: When it comes to rugs, getting the proportions right can be a tough nut to crack. There are a few different approaches available to you when sizing up a rug, which frees you up to choose the one that works best for you. If you want your new rug to unify the whole space, opt for the largest one that will fit. If you’re more interested in defining independent areas within the room, one or more smaller rugs are a good bet. For a harmonious look, all your seating should relate to the rug in the same way; with either all legs on the rug, all legs off the rug, or all front legs on the rug.

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