Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rugs, Rugs, Rugs.

We all know the conventional wisdom about how a rug "ties a room together" - and unlike a lot of so-called conventional wisdom, this bit is actually true! A rug is usually the furnishing in a room that takes up the most square footage, and is simultaneously the piece that has the ability to take disparate colors and tones from all the other furnishings in a room and tie the whole thing together in a way that makes sense to the eye.

Unfortunately, rugs can also be one of the most difficult pieces of the puzzle to source, especially if one is decorating in a mid-century or modern/contemporary idiom. Although most things that are worth having are expensive, this seems doubly true for rugs. I often hear the same complaint from clients: "we went to XYZ rug store, and there were some beautiful pieces, but everything we liked was over $5,000!"

The paradox with rugs is that it's relatively easy to get fairly nice, decent quality "oriental" rugs (i.e. tribal designs originating mostly from Pakistan or Afghanistan or...dare we say...China) for very reasonable prices (say, $500-1500 for a nice room size rug). While it's certainly possible to integrate a tribal rug into a mid-century modern design scheme, the look is not for everyone.

The next thing that most people decorating in a mid-century scheme tend to investigate, naturally, are the "Rya" wool shag rugs that were produced in Scandinavia in the 1960s and 70s. While these rugs certainly have their appeal in certain situations, they were often executed in rather loud, garish colors that don't always blend well with a contemporary interior circa 2010. These rugs are also very much "of the period", and while it's relatively easy to reupholster or refinish a piece of vintage furniture to bring it into the 21st century, you can't exactly refinish a rug, if you know what I mean.

Then we have the melangs of styles that one is bombarded with upon entry to a contemporary rug store. Although it's certainly possible to find something reasonably priced and tasteful in such an establishment, it's likely to be the exception rather than the rule.

All of this leaves the contemporary rug buyer on a budget with few options, most of them located at the blue and yellow monster known as IKEA. If money is no object, high end manufacturers of custom rugs such as Kasthall will undoubtedly be able to fill the rug void in your life with aplomb. There are also many rug dealers that specialize in beautiful, contemporary hand-knotted Tibetan (or Tibentan-style: these days most "Tibetan" rugs are actually woven in Nepal or India - see Wikipedia for a thorough discussion of the subject) rugs - in the Portland area, we recommend our friends at Kush Hand Knotted Carpets (who, incidentally, just opened a second showroom inside Rejuvenation Hardware), and have a nice variety of gorgeous hand-knotted carpets (as their name implies) to choose from.

However, for those of us not willing to shell out the $5-10k (or much, much more) that is often required to procure a carpet from one of these vendors, we are happy to offer some alternatives. Just in to the Janus Home showroom are six fabulous small to medium room size Danish contemporary rugs that just might satiate the rug craving you've been having such a hard time filling! You can see pictures of all of them below, and then hop on over to our Bond & Bowery showroom to get all the detals (along with all of our other new arrivals)!

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