Rikki Stubbs June 03, 2012
Rug up . . . a bold, geometric runner brings life to a hallway. Interior: Robyn Cosgrove.
Floors are the largest single space in a room that you usually work with when decorating, it makes a great starting place.
When I'm working on a colour scheme or decorating a room I start with the floor. It's the largest area of colour, pattern and texture and that often means a rug. Rugs define areas within an open-plan space, such as the dining or TV area.
They anchor the sofa and chairs creating a sense of place and visually hold everything together.
English decorator Chester Jones says "rugs bring humanity to a room". He believes they resolve the mood of a room. I don't want a carpet to shout at me. It has to behave."
Leading Sydney rug specialist Robyn Cosgrove agrees. I talked with her in her stunning showroom surrounded by piles of gorgeous hand-knotted rugs from Nepal, India, Iran and Pakistan, made of silk, cactus, wild nettle, bamboo and Mongolian cashmere. The rich colours sing in persimmon, pagoda pink, daffodil and indigo.
These rugs are inspired by classic designs from the Orient and Europe contemporised with a modern palette. Because they are handmade there are no solid colours. As the weaver stops and starts the colour varies like nature.
The yarn is hand shorn, carded, spun and loomed. They have a relaxed imperfection. Traditional techniques ensure the natural lanolin stays in the wool.
The contemporary rug was born in the mid-1970s when Bombay-based Shyam Ahuja launched their pastel durries. Decorators went mad for them. Until then wall-to-wall carpet with a traditional Persian rug was the norm.
In open-plan contemporary homes with hard floors, rugs are essential. Acres of bare floors don't just feel cold, they look spartan.
If you are selling your house in winter use rugs to warm up and visually lift the atmosphere. In summer, bare timber floors inevitably get gritty.
Even in a beach house I would have something casual on the floor - a flat weave cotton, rag rug or sisal.
Pure and General have beautiful small colourful rag rugs from Morocco that would look great in a children's room.
I grew up with rugs. My mother would seek out a lone dealer in Brisbane who ventured into Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan to bring back exquisite small rugs woven for dowries and prayer. We had them in every room - under the sink in the kitchen, the guest loo, hallways.
I can't imagine living without beautiful rugs underfoot. There would be a void in my rooms and in my life.
Ask Rikki your design and renovation questions each Sunday, 5pm on 2UE (954AM).