Inspiring ways to use rugs

Some of us buy things for the home based purely on a passionate ‘I must have that’ feeling in the gut, giving little thought to where the piece is going to go and whether there is actually room for it. Others see a gap in their home that needs filled and take a more practical approach to shopping. This is shopping with a mission. Quite honestly, we can identify with both. But in either instance, when it comes to rugs we know through talking to you that it’s helpful to have a bit of guidance on how to use them and place them. So today we’re bringing you a festival of images to fire your imagination. From using rugs as a zoning tool to displaying them in ways that highlight their artistic merit, here are some ideas to copy.

Using rugs to zone a room  

The showroom at Hay and Wrong for Hay with Emily’s House London

Inside the Hay and Wrong for Hay showroom we used a runner to follow the length of a dining table, both marking it out and leading the eye towards the window. Here, a seating area is also zoned, this time by a larger piece (together the rugs create a nice pattern of shapes on the floor). There is a tendency to place rugs in front of a sofa – use them beneath a lounge area like this for maximum cosiness and impact.

Runners are not just for hallways and can be used to divide up two sides of a room equally or asymmetrically. For instance, two thirds living room, one third study such as in this room showcasing the Capo armchair from Cappellini

Image from Cappellini

Whereas a dividing sideboard or screen would form more of a physical barrier, use a zoning rug for a purely (beautiful) visual marker. Very geekily, we also love that the chair is just nudged onto the rug, something that’s just about happening in the Hotel Tivoli in New York state, which is owned by artists Brice and Helen Marden.

Photo courtesy of Hotel Tivoli

It’s more obvious to place a runner along the end of a bed. Instead lay it lengthways to give your feet a treat when you step out of bed first thing in the morning. Honestly, either solution works so it’s down to what furniture you have to fit in and what you like the look of best.

Layering rugs

Photo courtesy of TrendPulse

This is the shop floor of Boerum in Brooklyn, which is sadly no more. It could just as well be your front room. Even if you’re dealing with a smaller scale, try layering a few different rugs on top of one another for a patchwork effect like this. The idea is about making a pattern statement, but try to find a thread of continuity whether it’s sticking to fairly muted Azilals and Kilims with a single highlight colour (burnt orange here) or going for something extremely ecclectic with a series of bright Boucherouites.

Interior by Sarah Lavoine, photo by Francis Amiand

Interior designer Sarah Lavoine has made a cosy and graphic feature beneath the coffee table in her gorgeous home in the Palais Royale area of Paris. She’s used a contemporary rug but you can mimic the look by laying 3-4 runners like this, staggered to create a statement.


The showroom at Emily’s House London

Choose a sumptuous pile rug to add a textural contast to your sofa. We’ve used a deep red Tulu rug against the navy blue Wrong for Hay Hackney sofa in the showroom, which ties in with the base tone of the rug on the floor.

Photo courtesy of Aesop

Think outside the box and steal this idea from Aesop Richmond where a kilim rug slithers down a few steps at an angle. The armchair anchors it visually, though we’d advise adding a few pins to the rug on the steps to make sure it remains safely on the them (much like fitting a conventional carpet).

Kilim rug shown by Emily’s House London

There are two great things about hanging rugs on walls. 1. It’s a clever way of bringing colour, pattern and art to blank areas – whether behind a sofa, dining table, or bed, in an alcove or hanging down two storeys of a staircase. 2. It adds insulation and warmth not to be sniffed at in winter. Try it, you won’t look back.


Image styled by Abel Sloane using a rug by Emily’s House London

Harking back to what we mentioned before, don’t stop a vast rug in front of the sofa, take it slightly under, just like Mid Century furniture specialists Abel Sloane and Ruby Woodhouse have here.

Don’t feel you can’t take your rug right up to the wall just because it’s not a conventional fitted carpet. It looks great slotted into a space it perfectly fits, or starting off at a wall floating into a greater space where it meets furniture.

Zig Zag rug with tassel detail by Emily’s House London

If your rug has beautiful tassel details or edging, place it somewhere where you will notice this. Make it the first thing you see when you enter the house, place it at the foot of your favourite armchair or even drape it over a console table so you can have it in your eyeline.


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