Interior designer Gillian Segal reveals what you need to consider when picking the perfect rug
Nothing grounds a space like an area rug. Turns out, there’s an art to choosing the perfect one for your home. We sat down with Gillian Segal, founder and principal of Gillian Segal Design Inc. and co-founder of Saint Lunette, to learn her top tips for choosing the right rug for your space and getting that designer look with the help of rugs from Pacific Rug Gallery.
Here's what you need to know...
1. Remember that size matters
Pacific Rug GalleryThe size of a room helps determine what size of rug you need, but furniture placement in the room is also a big factor in selecting the appropriate size. Segal’s rule of thumb?
“Stay consistent! Place all furnishings completely on the rug or commit to having them all half off. This is not a place to mix and match with your sofa fully anchored on the rug and a side chair floating off by itself."
Although it can be tempting to choose a smaller sized rug in the name of your budget, when in doubt, go a size up. A rug that's too tiny will make the room look smaller and unfinished. A specialty rug store like Pacific Rug Gallery offers services that allow you to try a few different sizes in your space before you decide so you can make the best choice.
2. Consider material for durability
Pacific Rug GalleryDurability is important, so consider where the rug will be placed. Will it be in a family room that doesn’t get much action, or is it a runner down a high-traffic hallway or a busy living room?
For the latter, Gillian recommends natural materials like wool, silk, or blends of those two materials to ensure your rug will stand the test of time. Other great choices are sisal and jute. Both are natural fibres and softer than you may think, especially when they are quality made.
She warns to be wary of viscose, which is a man-made silk fibre. While it looks pretty, it will “crush” (flatten or imprint from heavy objects) and is difficult to clean, so be selective as to where you use these types of rugs.
BONUS TIP: Using an outdoor/indoor rug inside the home is a family-friendly option because of the durability and resistance to potential spills/stains, or in a bathroom where humidity is a factor.
3. Mix and match colour and pattern
Pacific Rug GalleryWhen selecting a rug: “First decide whether it’s the leading lady or supporting actress of your room," says Segal.
If you’re starting a room design from scratch, a bold selection (think colour and pattern) is a great place to start building your colour palette. Pull out a colour from the rug and use that to dictate other elements of your space, like the colour and style of the couch, drapes, metals and more.
Conversely, maybe you’re starting the room with a sculptural chair or patterned fabric and would like the rug to support the design as a texture piece in a more neutral shade. Mixing and matching patterns is also an option for the savvy designer!
BONUS TIP: Don’t forget to use an underlay for your rugs—it adds a sound barrier, keeps the rug in place, and feels great on the feet.
4. Think about shapes
Pacific Rug GalleryGenerally, people think of an area rug as a rectangle, but Segal says she's been having fun experimenting with rug shapes with her clients to produce something unexpected.
“A round area rug adds beautiful curves and warmth to a space that is likely otherwise rectilinear. If round feels to retro or out there for you, try even having the corners cut off a regular rug to create a custom and geometric shape.”
5. Go with the unexpected
Pacific Rug GalleryIt’s fun to use area rugs where you might not expect them, like the stairs. A stair runner can add warmth and safety as well as protection of the hardwood flooring in the high-traffic zone.
“Animal print is a look I’m excited about and like the great Jenna Lyons says, leopard is a neutral!" says Segal. "I’ve also been loving the resurgence of tiger print in fashion, which for me always translates into my interiors."
Another way she suggests you can create the unexpected is by juxtaposing formal and informal elements. Pair a casual jute rug with formal living room furniture—think sumptuous velvets and glamour. The unusual pairing will create a curated and sophisticated look.