How to Choose a Bedroom Rug

A bedroom area rug serves many purposes. It gives your bare feet a warm place to land when you get out of bed on a cold winter morning. It reduces noise in the bedroom, especially if your alternative is a hardwood floor (which while beautiful, can amplify sound). A bedroom rug can also accent your bed covering and window treatments.

A plush bedroom rug keeps your toes warm when they hit the floor on cold winter mornings.

A plush bedroom rug keeps your toes warm when they hit the floor on cold winter mornings.

As with most interior design precepts, there are no hard and fast rules to choosing a bedroom rug — what you like should be the most important factor in your decorating decisions. There are, however, a few guidelines to consider when shopping for a new bedroom area rug.

Placement

First, decide where you’re going to place the rug. If you have an exceptionally large bedroom, you can choose to lay smaller rugs in different areas. For example, place one rug in the corner under your sitting area and a larger, complementary rug angled across the bottom of the bed. If you prefer symmetry, place one large rug under the bed so that it peeks out equally on all sides. For a small bedroom, you’ll be best served with a-rug-under-the-bed solution because small area rugs chop up the space and make the room appear even smaller.

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The size of your bed usually determines the size of rug you need. In a traditional bedroom with a nightstand on each side of the bed, place the rug just in front of the side tables. A king-size bed is 76 X 80 inches, which means a 9 X 12-foot rug will provide adequate coverage on all sides. An 8 X 10-foot rug, meanwhile, is sufficient for a queen-size (60 X 80-inch) bed. Both of these choices leave plenty of soft surface area to walk on all the way around the bed.

Another option for your queen-size bed is to place a 6 X 9-foot rug horizontally under the bed, giving you enough rug to land on when you leave the bed, but little at the foot of the bed, which is ideal if you have a chest or blanket holder sitting there. Alternatively, you can always place matching runners along the sides of your bed with a complementary or matching 4 X 6-foot rug at the foot of the bed (although you can get away with a 5 X 8-footer if you have enough room).

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It’s always easier to match your bedcovers and curtains to the rug than it is to find the perfect rug to go with your other décor. But remember that your taste should trump any convention, especially in your bedroom. Given that overriding advice, here are some specific guidelines:

  • Stick with hand-knotted Oriental rugs to complement a traditional room with cherry furniture, high bedposts, or antiques.
  • If you’ve got a more minimalist style, use the floor to splash color in the room or continue with the overall style and use a rug with muted tones that match your color scheme.
  • Floral patterns on your linens may be more difficult to complement, but if you stick with traditional rugs, you should be able to pull out the primary colors in the room with your floor covering.

Whatever color, style, or fabric you choose for your bedroom, make sure you absolutely love it. It may be the last thing you see before putting out the light every night and the first thing you see when you climb out of bed every morning.

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Art and Practicality Converge in Gabbeh Rugs

Gabbeh (pronounced “gah-BAY”) is the Farsi word for natural or raw. In this case, it describes the coarse materials used to create early tribal rugs in Persia. The Gabbeh weaving tradition dates back as far as 3500 BC. Those first Gabbeh rugs were made by nomadic women to protect tender feet and to decorate bare homes. While they were practical, they also inspired. The artisans who wove those ancient rugs infused their designs with symbols that displayed their spirit, artistic talents, and love for family. In time, certain symbols evolved to impart love, prosperity, and good fortune to their families.

Modern families can grace their homes with those same sentiments with a beautifully hand-knotted Gabbeh rug from either India or Iran. Since both hand-weavers and modern manufacturers incorporate the emblematic characters found in early Gabbeh rugs, you can find the symbols on all-wool hand-tufted rugs and even in the synthetics used in machine-made rugs.

Each character woven in a Gabbeh rug has its own unique meaning. Some of the most common symbols found on today’s Gabbeh rugs include:

  • The Cypress Tree stands for life after death.
  • The Lion boasts of honor and victory.
  • A Camel is a common symbol for wealth and happiness.
  • Peacocks are holy birds that symbolize the spiritual nature of man.
  • The Dog serves as man’s protector, saving him from his own misdeeds and harm from others.
  • The Cock represents the devil; it’s woven into rugs to protect the owner from outside evil.
  • A Comb suggests cleanliness and brings wishes of health to the family.
  • The Hourglass reminds the family that time passes for everyone.
  • A strip of Clouds sends happiness to the family.
  • A Pomegranate is the ancient symbol of abundant wealth.
  • The Tree of Life, one of the most common symbols, expresses the belief in eternal life.

The characters are woven as small geometric shapes, caricatures of the symbols they portray. On some rugs, they are lined up in no particular sequence, bringing a wealth of wishes to the bearer. Other rugs focus on a primary wish, such as the popular Lion Gabbeh rug that contains one or two bigger lions surrounded by smaller lions in a horizontal pattern, ideal for a family of warriors. Gabbeh symbols may be also woven into a larger pattern made of a floral motif. In these rugs, you may have to look closely to see the artistic symbols imbedded in the overall pattern.

No matter which kind of Gabbeh rug you purchase, the original thoughts and heart-felt symbols can bring an aura of love and good intentions to your home. You may recognize the symbols and be able to interpret their meanings, but even if you can’t, a Gabbeh rug has an uncanny way of snuggling up to your heart and making you feel good somehow. Perhaps it’s the ghosts of the tribal Persian women who loved and cared for their families, or perhaps it’s the actual resonance of the symbols themselves.

He Likes Traditional, She Like Contemporary

He Likes Traditional, She Like Contemporary

Learn how to compromise with your partner on your home decor style preferences

How to meld opposites to find just the right rug

You’re finally ready to put the finishing touches on your newly remodeled living room. You and your partner head out to the rug store to choose the piece that will bring all your hard work together. Your space is fairly neutral, so you can choose any kind of pattern to signal your style and tastes.

All shopping screeches to stop when you get to the rug store, however. As you look through the thousands of selections, a pattern emerges. You like the free-flowing, colorful contemporary styles and your partner is thoroughly rooted in bringing a traditional motif to your room. Are you doomed to living with a bare floor or can you find a happy solution?

San Francisco psychologist Lawana Lofton says all is not lost. There’s nothing wrong with your relationship. It’s normal to have differences and disagreements in a healthy relationship. Once you’ve discovered your divergent tastes, there’s always a way to find a middle ground that will make you both happy. And in the rug business, that’s called “transitional.”

The transitional rug encompasses aspects of both the traditional and contemporary styles. It blends the classic floral and botanical motifs typically found on traditional rugs with bold colors and sharper designs of contemporary styles. A transitional rug brings ancient traditions into a new age with modern interpretations of the classics. And best of all, a transitional rug can appease the tastes of the most discerning traditionalist and the adventurous side of your more modern mate.

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