How To Choose The Perfect Rug.

Choosing the perfect rug presents a challenge, but a beautiful rug can provide the finishing touch to pull together the interior design, adding and enhancing colour, texture and warmth. If the interior is simply and neutrally decorated, a rug can provide a splash of colourful character, textural design and definition to the space. Here Esti Barnes, founder of TopFloor by Esti, gives advice about how to choose the perfect rug.

Image: Detail from the ‘Ethereal’ decoupage rug.

1. What are the guidelines for deciding on the size of a rug for your room?

It all depends on the layout of the furniture. For example, in living rooms, we suggest having the rug half-way under the front and back legs of the sofa or armchair, if the budget doesn’t allow to have the seating resting with all four legs on the rug.

Image: Award-winning ‘Esquire’ rug in an Upper West Side apartment in New York City.

In dining rooms, the ideal size should be calculated in a way that chairs don’t catch the edge of the rug when people get up from the table.

Bedrooms are more flexible; ideally there can be a large rug which covers under the bed and the bedside tables and also allows enough space to walk at the foot end of the bed.

Alternatively, there could also be two bedside runners or three, including the foot end, but non-slip matting under the rug needs to be in place to stop accidents from happening.

2. When would you opt for a different or unusual shape of rug, such as round rather than rectangular or square?

Round rugs add interest to the room. Especially these days, with a strong trend for circular seating, rooms beg for circular or oval rugs. We have been ahead of this curve by designing rugs with organic edges and using decoupage (cut-outs) from the beginning of the 2000’s and have won awards for these designs. Round rugs would also work very well with a round or oval dining or coffee table. They can even be placed at the foot of a bed.

They look inviting in large entrance halls, below a circular rose on the ceiling: below a dome and under a piano.

Image: ‘Emmenthal’ rug in an apartment designed by Jean Nouvel in New York City.

3. What types of materials are most practical?

Wool is the best. I know interest has shifted to shiny materials but nothing can beat good old wool – and what’s more, good quality, fine wool is shiny. We have mohair that can be mistaken for silk. Wool is robust, easy to clean, springs back from dents caused by heavy furniture; it is soft and luxurious in the right quality and pile height.

4. How do you select colours for a rug?

This is up to the interior designer or the client, who select from a very wide selection of poms to match the interior and if that is not enough, we send a textile sample to the mills and they match it to the dot. Using natural materials for rugs gives the best results with colour matching.

Image: A ‘Rainbow’ runner in a Paris flat.

5. When does texture work better than colour?

If there is a lot going on in the interior design, texture can be preferable to pattern and bold colour. It will enhance the look without fighting with the interior and add more interest than a plain border or just a plain rug.

'Concentrica’ and ‘Alabaster’ rugs in a Paris apartment.
Image: ‘Concentrica’ and ‘Alabaster’ rugs in a Paris apartment.

6. How do you assess the quality of a rug?

With time you develop an eye and can see quality just by looking at it. A lot of things give the quality away. For example, if corners turn up, or if edge finishing is uneven or wavy, if pile is dull and shaggy when it is supposed to be a smooth; if there is a bad smell due to cheap latex in hand-tufted rugs and due to poor quality wool in hand-knotted or hand-woven rugs. These are just a few areas to look at. A good quality rug will last for years and even for generations.

Like anything in life, you get what you pay for!

 Image: A yacht featuring a ‘Dream’ rug from the Script Collection.

Esti Barnes trained as a graphic artist in her native Istanbul. She established TopFloor by Esti in Design Centre Chelsea Harbour in 1998 and since then, TopFloor’s award-winning rugs have been sought after by the interior design community in the UK and internationally. Whether the rugs are specified for homes, hotels or yachts, TopFloor rugs have established a reputation for interesting texture, original pattern and colour and unlimited choice. Topfloor by Esti offers expert advice to designers and private clients regarding how to choose the perfect rug. The company also supplies wood flooring.

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