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How to Shop for Red Rugs
Red is anything but neutral.
It’s the colour of fire, passion, and revolution; invoking warmth, a bit of tension, or outright danger--depending on the shade of course.
Heels and ties? Courage.
Bags and cars? Attention.
Drapes and throws? A Bastille feel...
What about rugs though? What does red mean when applied to rugs?
Red rugs have the ability to bring a sense of warmth and vibrancy to any space.
Using a plain red area rug in the living room can be just the accent you need. Amongst the rest of the elements in the space, this combination can transform the largest room in your home into something more dynamic.
If that’s not your angle, a deeper shaded red rug paired with rich earthy tones of yellow, orange, and brown can bring a sense of groundedness into your home.
Think autumn in New York or a friendly spice bazaar steeped in an ancient culture...
Whether they’re used to stand out and capture or play an ensemble role and simmer in the background, red rugs always make their mark.
And that’s why you want one.
Be careful though, one wrong move and you go from, “making a statement” to, “that looks a bit loud”.
And “loud” is never the reaction you want when piecing together your interior design.
More so than with any other colour, you need to get red right. So let’s discuss how.
Different Styles & Patterns of Red Rugs
Go traditional. Go modern. But don’t go both.
Unless you’re skilled that is.
Imagine a fully contemporary living room kitchen combo home design; and amongst the stainless steel, kitchen marble, and vinyl sits a soft, rustic red perisian rug from another time--obviously out of place.
You better have a story to tell when asked about it.
If that level of coordination scares you, don’t worry. Let’s talk about these two worlds and how to blend them.
Contemporary rug design tends to be fitted for style as well as comfort and with the inclusion of red you’re definitely adding to the style component.
Keeping with stylish and bold, modern interior design doesn’t use red often because it understands its power.
Strong angles and shapes, and solid and unblended colours are the name of the game when dealing with contemporary patterns. Knowing this will allow you to navigate the intimidation you might feel when you decide to integrate a modern red rug into your home.
Generally, you can view contemporary red rugs as you do modern art; a bit abstract, but not too pretentious.
Persian and Oriental style rugs remind us of a warmer, more organic world. These rugs are made from a rich tradition and you and your guests will always know that.
Using red in home design through a traditionalist lens is less about style and making a statement and more about blending into a larger tapestry.
Curves, florals, ornate patterns you’d see in temples and cathedrals are what define these rugs. Because of this connection to a rich history, Persian and Oriental rugs tend to flow better with most home space decor when compared to their modern counterparts.
Though they are a piece of art, fine traditional rugs aren’t meant to be dissected the way we do modern art. Instead, like a lot of wisdom from the past: furniture, clothing, jewelry, and rugs are meant to be lived in; used to soak up stories and pass on history.
Mixing these two worlds is difficult, we’re not going to lie.
So understand this, there will always be a noticeable contrast between a modern rug in a more classic home decor scheme and between a traditional rug in a contemporary home decor scheme.
Don’t try to get around this. Embrace it.
That doesn’t mean it can’t work. There just has to be a purpose behind the rug’s placement in the space.
It could be anything from a meaningful story to identifying the angles in a modern rug, choosing more muted reds--this parts important, coordinating those angles with the geometry in your space--think bookshelves and tables--and ultimately using the modern rug to very slightly pull part of your classic living space into the modern world.
Basically, like any home design, you’re looking to harmonize the space. It has to make sense.
Word of advice: It’s easier to harmonize a traditional rug into a modern space than to try and do the opposite--that’s just the way it is.
If you find a red rug you love--Persian, Oriental, European; or modern, contemporary--but you’re worrying about how it’s going to fit into your existing home decor scheme, breathe.
The complexity of choosing patterns and styles in and of themselves can be daunting, but it is possible to tie that red rug that caught your eye into your living spaces (with a few tweaks of course).
Let’s chat about some tips for doing just that.
Tips for Decorating Your Space with a Red Rug
The Christian Louboutin Effect
If you don’t know what Red Bottoms are, we don’t know who you are. Go look it up.
Those shoes are iconic for three design reasons.
- They’re simple. Even with a bit of jewelry to flourish, they remain simple.
- They use and understand the power of red. Specifically, passion.
- Placement. Placement. Placement. (we’ll get to this one in a moment)
You can bring this “engaging, flirtatious, and memorable” effect into your home by first neutralizing the rest of the space you’re working in. This doesn’t mean everything has to be drab, but red is the star of the show here.
Blacks, creams, and stone greys will work. Keep it simple.
Next, understand that you are going to be making a statement with this red rug. Keep the patterning to a minimum and the Red Bottoms’ shade of red--Pantone 18 1663TP--is something you might want to consider toning down because rugs are larger and more obvious by nature.
Finally, placement. The reason Red Bottoms work so well is because the heel of the shoe isn’t constantly in-sight. It flirts in and out of view as you float down the street.
The location you choose to place your new rug is one that shouldn’t be in constant eyeview, like a large area rug in the middle of your living room.
Instead, try a transitional space like a hallway or underneath a bookshelf or any other shelves you walk by day-to-day.
Are You a Daredevil?
This design takes the most commitment.
If you’re in, you’re in. No maybe’s. Don’t waste my time.
Wrong moves can easily go gaudy.
What we’d suggest is to tone down the scale of this commitment by importing this design technique into a segment of a space rather than the entire space itself.
You want to think in monochrome. Different shades of red.
- a base shade--the darkest red of the palette; we’d suggest a deep blood red
- a few transitional shades--nothing too harsh; we suggest two to three choices
- an accent shade--this has to pop and should be used sparingly
Let’s take a subspace within your living room: a reading chair next to a small coffee table.
A size-appropriate red Persian or Oriental rug--deep base red with patterns based on transitions and accents--placed underneath a rich brown chair, next to a small brown-red coffee table.
This coordination scheme can help bring a “theme” of red into your home; whereby the deep red rug and brown-red coffee table both give feelings of weight and foundation for the items placed in and on them.
If you want to highlight any accessories in this subspace, try colouring them with cool greys and contrasting greens. You want to avoid overdoing it with the red.
Nothing Wrong With Natural
There is a simplicity in tradition and there’s nothing wrong with that.
This design philosophy promotes food, friends, and family; a social tapestry that brings a warmth not just to a single space or subspace in your home, but to your entire life.
This is very simple.
The golds, browns, reds, creams, and earthier tones coupled with the woods, wools, cottons, and softer textures in your home should all be reflected in the design of your new red Persian or Oriental rug.
With this approach, you weave and blend your new rug into the fabric of your home.
Try a classic, rustic Persian rug. You can’t go wrong.
It’s red. It’s there. It doesn’t have to be the life of the room. It can just take a backseat and lend you it’s natural warmth.