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Decorating with Antique Rugs and Carpets: Easy Tips

There is no doubt that antique rugs transform the way any room looks. Even in spaces with already beautiful floors, it goes without saying, at least for most homeowners, that authentic Oriental rugs are heirloom pieces that you would want to keep with the family forever. Also, the fact that they never go out of style is a huge plus, especially if you want to hand it down to your children and, why not, even your grandkids. Not to mention that they can go a long way with other home accessories of different colors, sizes, and patterns. So, if you are a lucky owner of a good-quality Oriental rug, you know you have a small treasure in your hands that can match every design scheme effortlessly.

Now, when it comes to decorating your home with an antique rug, there are a few time-tested tips you can follow (although oriental rugs come in a huge variety of styles) and transform a space into the ultimate cozy and chic corner of the home for conversation, reading or just relaxing and unwinding after a long day, with the ones you love.

Choosing and Using Your Oriental Rug Correctly

1. Perfect Dimensions

First of all, before you rush to the nearest rug retail store, get your room’s dimensions. Keep in mind that the Oriental rug you will pick should look “gracious” in the space but not overly large. For that reason, pick something that is 2 to 3 feet smaller than your room’s dimension to create an illusion of space and balance. Then, you can plan how to lay out your rug. Consider key areas like floor vents, door frames, and electrical outlets as there are risks associated with placing rugs over these fixtures.

About whether you should place such a precious rug to entryways, opinions vary. However, we love the warm and inviting feel (and “grandeur”) of a home that’s welcoming its owners and guests with a beautiful, fluffy pile. As for the hallways, high-quality runners will add style. Just make sure your rug is about 4 inches narrower and 18-24 inches longer than the hallway to create an illusion of width.

Oriental runner in hallway

2. Perfect Balance

Your antique rugs should match your décor, infuse a sense of serenity and create a visual relief. The overall result should not look either rushed or as if you have gone over the board, burning your brain cells trying to impress with the newest addition to the home. The secret is in matching colours and patterns harmoniously. To achieve that, avoid large, animated patterns for bedroom rugs and consider adding a solid rug to a room with bold wallpapers. On the other hand, choose a patterned rug if your walls, pillows, flooring, window treatments, and furniture are in neutral colors (or a single colour) and instantly turn the rug into the focal point of the room. It is no secret among interior designers that a monochromatic colour palette always increases the elegance stocks of a space and helps create a serene ambiance for a room, encouraging relaxation. And, since an artwork of the same color adds delight to a harmonious setting, consider picking one colour found on the rug and pair it with accents of the same shade within the same room (i.e. an Oriental rug with rich red and blue hues paired with blue patterned pillows).

3. Perfect Size

Oriental rug in seating area next to the fireplace

Here applies everything we have talked about regarding how to choose the perfect rug size. In brief:

  • When laying a rug under a dining table, it’s best to choose a rug big enough that diners can move their chairs comfortably without the chair legs slipping to the edge of the rug.

  • For the sitting area, choose an oriental rug that can accommodate the two front legs of your chairs. Let those legs sit on your rug to create a harmonious view. This also helps separate the seating area within a large space.

  • For rectangular or oval tables, use rectangular or oval rugs.

  • Complement a square or round table with a round or square rug.

  • Make sure that the rug is at least 1 foot wider than the bed. Area rugs must provide a comfortable area to walk on when getting out of bed. The wrong size of rug, however, can look out of place.

Tip: When choosing colors, consider getting one that includes colors from furniture and accents like your bed or window treatments.

4. Perfect Balance Between Visual Appeal & Functionality

Make bathrooms and kitchens look more interesting with long, rectangular Oriental rugs. Apart from being eye-catching, they can also create a balance in these areas. For bathrooms, don’t forget to ask the rug retailer to line the rug with anti-skid materials or place rubber cushions underneath.

Important Note: We have said that the kitchen can benefit from runners that catch small spills and keep feet warm from cold floors. Although patterned rugs are indeed perfect for high-traffic areas, given that the patterns can camouflage stains and signs of wear and tear, we don’t recommend placing an oriental rug in damp places and kitchens. Oriental rugs are durable, but it will be like looking for trouble if you use them in spaces where acidic substances (i.e. vinegar) or moisture can cause damage to the colour, pattern or pile of an expensive oriental rug.

For perfect balance between colours and patterns, choose a rug colour similar to the furniture. For instance, an Oriental rug with, say, red patterns, coordinates beautifully with red throw pillows or red chairs. However, you are free to mix 2 different patterns together, as long as you keep them in balance (i.e. a sofa with a blue swirl pattern matches well with a rug in a neutral color and a similar swirl pattern).

5. Protecting your Oriental Rug

Oriental rugs are made of natural fiber, which means that they are environmentally friendly because they use few (to almost no) chemicals during production. They are also sturdy and stain-resistant that’s why they are often found in entryways. But because of their casual, airy look, they work great in every room. Just make sure you take good care of your oriental rug (in terms of proper storage and maintenance), and it will definitely reward you; turning itself into an investment worth making.

Besides taking proper measures towards maintaining an oriental rug in mint condition and keep its charm for long, you can also act proactively. Use furniture coasters to protect the rug from heavy furniture. The coasters distribute the weight from weighty objects like large dining room tables or hardwood seating. Rotate the rug often or change furniture placement at least once a year.

Final Tips:

Authentic Oriental rugs are handmade
  • Oriental rugs are more expensive than anything else you can find in that category. If you cannot afford to pay a month’s salary to get one, you can consider a more cost-effective alternative to having a single, massive piece; that of layering a smaller, colourful oriental rug over a larger floor mat.

  • Always check the label for details about the rug you are about to purchaseOriental rugs are all handmade, so if you readmachine-made” on the label, it is not an authentic oriental rug. Although they cost more, they become more valuable as they age. They can last up to more than a century if taken care of properly. Also know that handmade rugs are either hand-tufted or hand-knotted. Of the two, those hand-knotted are more expensive, yet more durable and unique.

  • Keep your rugs in place by spreading rug pads underneath – There are Eco-friendly pads made of plant-based oils that keep your floor safe. Recycled pads made of industrial fibers also make a great choice if you have radiant heat flooring.

  • You can use an Oriental rug as wall décorBrighten up blank spaces on the wall with these artsy rugs. They are attractive both on and off the floor. Plus, it can also mute the noise from the next room and create a unique, aesthetic appeal to your room.

  • Use rugs with patterns of varying sizesThis creates a movement that makes the room look lively. Use the rule of three when choosing your patterns. The largest patterns should cover the largest area such as a wallpaper. The second one should be about half as large as the first pattern but in a different design. You can use it on area rugs. The third pattern can be the same with any of the first two, but the pattern should be smaller than the second. Use it on throw pillows or table runners.

Oriental rugs are an essential foundation to seating areas that add old-world warmth and style. Is it by chance that you can see oriental rugs laid down to chamber music concerts or on stage, used by rock bands when performing live? Besides allowing musicians to achieve a deader acoustic in a too-live space, oriental rugs are also classy, timeless pieces that give the musicians an extra way to express their creative side and get a more homey feel when performing in front of tens or hundreds of thousands of people. So, there is no doubt that antique rugs and carpets bring multiple benefits to any home, besides keeping feet warm and creating a soft and comfortable cushion. Mastering all the above will allow you to use your antique rug to break the monotony of traditional flooring, add color to an otherwise boring space, and soften the look of hardwood tiles!

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