Choose your Rug First or Last?

At what point should you select an area rug? 

There are two options in my book, first or last.

Love color, pattern, drama.... on the floor? Are you brave enough to make a big commitment? If yes, then rug first is the way to go. And here's a perfect example.

James Rixner chose the rug first for his sophisticated, tailored and comfortable family room/kitchen for the Kips Bay 2012 Show House.

Design by James Rixner. Photo by Linda Pakravan.
Colorful drama tastefully done.

Colorful, dramatic rugs are not shy. They take center stage and are at their best when everything else in the room is choreographed around them. This room has a fabulous supporting cast but there is no question that only one name headlines the marquee, RUG!

Design by James Rixner. Photo by Linda Pakravan.
Every element in this room was expertly selected for color, shape, texture and scale.
Note chair has only one leg on rug - this is perfectly fine.

Starting rug first does not mean starting without a plan. Before you head out to shop for your rug, make an outline drawing of the floor with measurements. Note the locations of windows, doors, openings, the cable for the TV, and such like. Then stand in the middle of your room and take pics with your cell phone. Refer to this handy info at the store; share it with the sales associate.

A good rug store will let you take rugs home to try them out. Still under the assumption it is rug first, when you get the loaner home, unroll the rug and block out some future furniture pieces with blue painter's tape. Now you'll see if the rug's future coffee table will cover up part of the medallion (if there is one), if the rug fits, how it feels underfoot. Plus they always look different in your home. 

If you're shopping on line for a colorful rug, check the return policy.

The rug is appreciated through the glass topped coffee table.
These little ottomans are delightful and their wooden bases pick up on the tiny touches of tan in the rug.
The tufted sofa has character, nail heads and style.
The colorful pillows add a casual, comfortable feel and keep the sofa from looking a big white rectangle.
Design by James Rixner. Photo by Linda Pakravan.

James Rixner in the kitchen he designed for the Kips Bay Show House. Photo by Linda Pakravan.
See below for a link to Mr. Rixner's website.

I spoke with the delightful Mr. Rixner when I toured the Kips Bay Show House. I did not inquire as to the cost of the rug. My gut and my guess tell me it is $$$. Despair not! There are plenty of reasonably priced rugs bursting with enough color and pattern to please any drama diva. I found so many they would take forever to load so head on over to my pinterest board for more rug candy. Here's a tease.

Do not overlook your local rug stores. I found this in the close-out section of my local merchant, Landry and Arcari. It is a 7'9"x9'5" Bakshaish design, wool, hand knotted, Turkey --- for $975. Value.

Faux Hide, 6'7"x7'4", $275 at FLOR in this blazing orange and a gazillion other colors. Fun.
These are sculpted carpet tiles, 100% recycled nylon. Super easy to clean.

Follow the Arrows, cotton yarn, hooked rug from Dash and Albert. Comfortable. Soft underfoot. A 5'x8' is $770.
New this season from Designers Guild, Flora. Lots of pattern but done in tone on tone and the effect is soothing. This color is called Duck Egg, viscose and wool, tufted. Elegant. Love it. A 6'6"x9'8" is $2150, may not fall into everyone's concept of reasonable but think of it as an investment, say you have it 10 years -- and there is no reason why it shouldn't serve you well for 10 years. Your cost per day to enjoy it will be $1.70 per day. Now tell me again, how much is that Starbucks latte?

Are you brave? Could you commit to a colorful rug?

Thanks for reading,
Linda Pakravan

This post was not sponsored by any of the following: James Rixner DesignLandry and ArcariFLORDash and AlbertDesigners Guild, my pinterest board with more Colorful and Patterned Rugs

If you'd like help finding that perfect rug, colorful, patterned or not, email me!


  1. Anonymous20.12.12


  2. Anonymous20.12.12

    Patty K here, (unable to post with name)... I love ALL the rugs in this past, especially the one in the James Rixner showhouse room. Actually I love everything about that room. Chairs, couch, clear round coffee table, usage of spring green with blue...
    I would love to pick out a fun and beautiful rug for my living room when I tear up the icky carpet, someday.

  3. Beautiful rugs featured here. I really like the one in the last photo. So elegant.


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