Bold Rugs In Neutral Rooms

Bold Rugs In Neutral Rooms

Leah Moss
Jan 5, 2011

Next to paint and lighting, there are few decor items that have as strong or as instant an impact as a good area rug. They define zones, add color, pattern, and texture, and lend a room that often elusive sense of "feeling finished." And in neutral rooms — all you banned painters take heart! — all it takes is a bold rug to set the tone.

It took me quite a while to realize just how significant a role rugs can play. They are by no means the least costly part of a room — and since they're not always as necessary as say, a sofa — they haven't always topped my priority list … until now. Some of my favorite Apartment Therapy House Tours have convinced me of their crucial role, especially when painting is not allowed or a bold wall color is not desired.

When the majority of the room is neutral, an eye-catching rug, whether bold in color or pattern, can set the rock and roll vibe or be the something "off" that makes a room feel interesting and a little unexpected. The best examples are the ones where the rug doesn't necessarily match, which is one reason why richly colored oriental rugs have long been a favorite in home decor despite the ornamentation in the rest of the room.

Before you make the investment there are a few basics to take keep in mind:

Make sure the rug is big enough.Obvious, right? Well, I've learned the hard way (twice) that purchasing a rug by sight rather than by measurement is a huge mistake. Rugs in a showroom or store can appear deceptively large, only to feel more like a bathmat when brought home. So measure, measure, measure and save yourself the trouble.

The two leg rule. In the past, the rule of thumb was that all four legs of a sofa or chair should be on the area rug, but nowadays its common and even stylish to have just the front two. Anything smaller loses the effect and can make a room appear wimpy or out of proportion.

Play up the rug color with other similarly colored accessories. This is not always necessary, but in a neutral room, any loud color shines…sometimes to the point of feeling jarring. To soften the effect or make a room feel more balanced, pick up a color from the rug through other accessories used around the room such as picture frames, artwork, or vases.

Images: 1: Apartment Therapy New York: Carl and Laurent's Bright White Live/Work Loft, 2: Leah Moss, 3: Style At Home, 4: Apartment Therapy DC: Caroline's Pint Size Retro Whimsy On A Budget, 5: Apartment Therapy DC: Allison's Playful Chinoiserie Modern, 6: Cottage Living, 7:Apartment Therapy DC: Stefan's Inspired and Eclectic Studio, 8: Apartment Therapy LA: Jason & Denise's Warm & Bright Ranch

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