Early in my writing career, I interviewed a designer who’d used variants of the exact same colour in her home for 20 decades. When I asked if she had ever thought about getting rid of everything and starting the palette over from scratch, then she gave me a long look and said, “You don’t just throw out your Oriental rug.”
Point shot. If you are fortunate enough to possess an authentic Oriental, you want to hang onto that baby until it is time to down it to the grandkids. So every time a pal asked me the other day just how to make different patterns work with an Oriental floor covering, I sensed an ideabook in the making.
Regardless of what its colour, scale, pattern or origin is, a good-quality Oriental rug never goes out of style, and it works with pretty much any design scheme. But there are a few keys to showcasing it at its finest.
Allison Jaffe Interior Design LLC
1. Keep patterns. You can’t go wrong with visual echoes, since this living space testifies, and this strategy is an effective way to fold a string of patterns to a pleasing package. Layers of blue tie a busy Oriental rug collectively with patterned cushions along with a grid of art.
2. Celebrate the art of the battle. This homeowner didn’t even try to pretend to coordinate with the pink throw pillow to the rug under, and the outcome displays an irresistible swagger. The trick isn’t to include too many mismatched patterns — if you go overboard, you are going to create a feeling of chaos instead of confidence.
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Siemasko + Verbridge
3. Dilute the effect. Two separate Orientals, and a global-print blanket tossed over the headboard, are separated by generous swaths of white wall paint and hardwood floors to keep them from overpowering each other.
4. Keep the atmosphere monochromatic. The walls, sofas, draperies, pillows and floors in this space have a comparable orange cast that allows the rug to take centre stage. Although there’s a sign of pattern in the fabrics, it stays in the background.
Adeeni Design Group
5. Combine classics. Timeless patterns — plaids, zebra, paisley — mingle in this masculine sitting room, underpinned by the lush Oriental rug. Like a Chanel suit and a set of spectator pumps, classic motifs and pieces will always work well together.
LDa Architecture & Interiors
6. Repeat rug colors in the furniture. The rich reds and blues in this Oriental rug are performed in the blue sofa and reddish Chinese-style chest. Regardless of another patterns thrown into the mix, the overall effect stays unified.
Edwina Drummond Interiors
7. Pay attention. A medium-scale pattern with this rug contrasts with a much smaller one on the seat upholstery and a bigger one on the draperies. Varying the scale provides an ebb-and-flow energy that brings the room to life and guarantees its patterns don’t compete.
Karen Joy Interiors
8. Add a little whimsy. A cheeky rooster print on the armchair in this space nods to the cottage-meets-traditional setting. It is unself-conscious and completely at ease, which helps the patterns get together.