When clients are redecorating, I always advise them to choose their oriental rug before making any decisions about fabrics, wall coverings and paint. The reasoning is very simple. When purchasing an oriental rug, you have many more limitations than the other design elements that will go into the room.
You will need to determine:
- The function of the room & high or low traffic
- The room’s light quality
- Do you want a new or antique rug
- What are the minimum and maximum length and width sizes that will work
- Do you want a rug with a center medallion or an all over design (this may depend if your room has any off center architectural components such as a fireplace or bank of windows)
- What style of design do you prefer (formal or casual, geometric or floral, modern or traditional etc.)
- What is your overall color palette
- Do you want your rug to be a strong focal point or more understated statement
- What is your budget
It sounds like a lot of information but it really isn’t. Most people can answer all of the above questions in a matter of minutes, however by taking the time to do so, you will be more focused and much more likely to purchase a rug with which you will be happy.
And Now Comes the Big Payoff. Once you have purchased your rug, all other decorating decisions become much easier. Your rug acts as your generator pointing you in the direction of the most complementary colors, designs, and textures. There are literally thousands of fabrics, wallpapers, and paints from which to choose and your rug will help you make the best decisions. One of my favorite design activities is to gather a selection of fabrics and wall covering samples and place them on the rug. The colors and design of the rug will help you easily eliminate any samples that are off hue or too busy. If your selection of samples was not quite right, you will now know in which direction to go for new samples.
Over the years I have worked with clients who purchased their fabrics or wall coverings and then went shopping for a rug. Scalamandre, Schumacher, Brunschwig & Fils, Old World Weavers, Stroheim & Romann and Kravet are my favorite designer fabric and wallpaper companies. However, many of their fabrics have combinations of colors that make coordinating an oriental rug very difficult if not impossible.
Unfortunately many clients realize this after the fact.
Finally, another reason to choose your oriental rug first is because you can take the rug with you. I always recommend my clients to try to allocate the greater part of their decorating budget to the items that go with you when you move. Expensive window treatments and wall coverings can be wonderful, but they and the money you spent on them stay with the house however rugs, furniture and art go with you.
Happy Oriental Rug Shopping!