An open concept living/kitchen/dining area means a few things. I have to teach my family to pick-up after themselves now that there aren’t walls to hide the aftershock of a Jamie Oliver 15-minute dinner (which never takes 15 minutes by the way) or a basket of the kid’s art supplies that are nestled behind the couch and undetectable to the eye (yet always weighing down my psyche).
The other dilemma I have to get over is buying rugs. To date, I have lived with Flor carpet tiles. They’re affordable making them super non-committal, plus they’re easy to spot clean and even replace, which was handy while the kid was wee. And I lived with the existing hardwood floors that my old house came with, so they served to hide their scratches and faded glory instead of drawing attention to them.
Now I’m getting brand spanking new brushed oak hardwood floors that deserve more than utilitarian carpet tiles (although, they did serve me well for so long so if you still have little ones, these will change your life). Plus, I’m into my 40s (please don’t tell anyone) and I deserve some hand knotted or woven love. But I’m a rug newbie and I don’t know where to begin so I asked Margot Austin, a former editor from House and Home Media and Style at Home and now the master of The Design Edit Blog (where her covetable cosy/classic/chic aesthetic comes to life) to weigh in.
Margot’s Tips for Buying a New Rug
Size really does matter (hardy-har-har). The minimum size is 8×10. “Having an undersized carpet is a common mistake and it’s even more noticeable it looks like a postage stamp in your space. All of the legs of your chairs and sofas must be on the carpet, especially if they’re leggy, sculptural chairs versus big, chunky armchairs.”
Say oh-no to faux, puh-leeze and thank-you. Natural fibers, whether wool, cotton or sisal, are on Margot’s hit list for any aesthetic. “They are fairly pricey, so it’s hard for people to commit to the investment so they buy synthetic ones thinking they will be more durable. Natural fibers are actually easier to clean and are less likely to stain, which means they’ll wear for longer and won’t need replacing as often, if ever”. This I can attest to. We went cheap and chic for my daughter’s playroom and after a few months, the rug already looks gross. Her budget friendly tip: “Layer your carpets. Buy a larger, affordable sisal carpet then layer a 5×8 or 4×6 hand woven or knotted rug under the coffee table.”
Consider a pretty flat. “Flat weaves are better for the dining room because the chairs move over them easily. The key to making them more comfortable underfoot is to add a broadloom carpet pad underneath. I need to do that because my dog jumps off the sofa and my new flat weave creates too hard of a landing for him—and for little humans too.”
Margot’s latest find: “This 6′ by 9′ carpet is a vintage wool flat weave from eCarpet Gallery that I got for a song, around $200 on sale.” She also loves the Bunny Williams collection available at Dash & Albert and Moroccan must-haves at Baba Souk.