My Decorating Struggle: Area Rugs

On yesterday’s post, someone urged me to be sure to write down all of the details of my decorating plan so that I wouldn’t forget between now and when I actually get to the decorating.  That was great advice, so last night I started making some detailed notes.  And that’s when I realized that my decorating plans always seem to have something missing — area rugs.

I never know what the heck to do when it comes to area rugs.  I don’t now if it’s that I’m just very picky, or maybe that I have very boring taste when it comes to rugs, but I find that I just simply don’t like most area rugs.  I love the idea of area rugs.  I like the function of area rugs (to define various areas of the home).  I like the softness that area rugs can give to a room.  But it’s the design of the area rugs available that seem to stump me.  And so I always seem to tend towards something that is very neutral, possibly with some texture, but little or no actual design.

So let’s take the dining room and entryway, for example.  The plan is:

Three walls will be painted white (Behr Polar Bear).  The fourth wall — the wall to the left as you enter the front door — will have wainscoting similar to that in the bathroom, minus the tile.

DIY decorative shower curtain 11

Since it’s a larger room and a wider wall, the sections will be larger.  And I’m also considering doing the upper section of the wall as well. It would be this general configuration…

…but obviously not that style.  The style would be that of my bathroom walls.

In fact, it would probably look more like John & Alice’s living room that I decorated back in 2011, but instead of the wall being painted blue, mine will be white.  And instead of the recessed panels being covered in blue chenille fabric, mine will be covered with light neutral grasscloth (similar in color to the linen I plan to use on the draperies).

Are you still with me?  ‘Cause I’m just getting started!  😀

My dining table will be painted black.  Solid black.  Nothing distressed or antiqued…just solid black.

dining table 4

The fireplace will remain just where it is in the picture above, sitting between the two smaller windows.  I plan to build an overmantel, painted white to match the fireplace, and I’ll hang some artwork on it.

The windows flanking the fireplace, as well as the other large nine-foot window, will be dressed in the linen draperies with the green accent along the leading edge.  I’ll be adding a black accent to either side of the green trim so that the white and oatmeal aren’t right up against each other.  I have some other linen samples on order, so I might go with one that’s oh-so-slightly darker for a bit more contrast.

dining room fabrics - 1

A few of you suggested replacing the oatmeal/natural linen with white because the white in the trim makes the oatmeal linen look “dirty.”  I really think the addition of the black trim will fix that.  Also, right now I’m not considering white simply because in my mind, it’s this oatmeal-colored linen on the dining room side of the room that makes the light, natural-colored grasscloth work on the entryway-side of the room.  In my mind, without the natural-colored linen on the one side of the room, the natural grasscloth on the other side makes no sense.

Anyway, the two fully-upholstered captains’ chairs at the dining table will hopefully be covered in the floral fabric pictured above.  Unfortunately, they sent me a small sample that didn’t include even the tiniest spot of the green that’s in the fabric.  I have another sample on order, and have specifically asked for the green to be included.

fleurish raspberry fabric from New South Home Couture

The colors in general seem to be a little bit “off” in that picture, though.  The flowers that look purple in the picture above actually look more dark pink in person.  The blues look more turquoise and teal to me.  So I’m crossing my fingers that the green is actually what I’m looking for, because I love this fabric!

The rest of the chairs will be slipcovered Parson’s chairs.  I haven’t found the perfect style just yet, but I like ones with slipcovers that show legs.  And I really like how this one combines the oatmeal and the white linen.

slipcovered parsons chairs from Custom Slipcovers By Shelleyvia Custom Slipcovers By Shelley

However, I am not a gathered ruffle kind of person, and I don’t think my house is a gathered ruffle kind of house.  🙂  I am a pressed, tailored pleat kind of person, so if I can take the above slipcover inspiration, but make it more tailored and pressed, that would be perfect for me.

And then back to the entryway side of the room, I’ll be using my new-to-me buffet on the panel + grasscloth entryway wall.


Right now, it’s a bit drab.  I plan to wake it up with color, and I’d like that color to be the deepest, richest pinkish red color that will complement the floral fabric of the captains’ chairs.

And last, flanking the buffet on that wall, I will finally use my favorite chairs that I’ve been waiting years to reuphoslter and use.  I can’t find a picture right now, but they’re kind of like wingback chairs, but not.  They’re more transitional in style.  Anyway, they’ll be upholstered like this…

black wingback chair with white piping from Design Spongevia Design Sponge

Yep, black with white piping.  But mine aren’t quite wingback chairs.  And mine have tufted backs (where I plan to use white buttons).  And mine is skirted to the floor.  I wish I could find a picture, but you get the idea — black with white piping.

So, that’s probably a lot to take in.  I know.  But I can see it clearly in my mind.  What I can’t see, however, is what kind of area rug will work under my dining table with all of the above.  I always default to some sort of sea grass rug.  They’re definitely my favorite, simply because I love natural textures (linen, grasscloth, sea grass rugs, woven baskets).  And quite honestly, I think they almost always look good in a room, and they can be used with so many different styles of decorating.

natural woven rug from Overstock

I think it would look fantastic under my black dining table.  It’s a neutral that wouldn’t compete with the bright colors I want to use, while at the same time it would complement the other natural elements (linen and grasscloth) I want to use.  But then I think that I gravitate towards it simply because it is my “default” setting.  🙂

If I were forced to get out of my comfort zone, I think I could consider something like this…

wool rug from Overstockvia Overstock

I like both the ivory (the one that’s flat) and the black (the top rolled one).  I do NOT do gray, so that’s not an option.

I like the subtle pattern in it.  I worried that it might make my eyes crazy, but the reviews on the rug are great, and only one that I read mentioned the pattern making her eyes crazy only until she added furniture.  Then she said it was fine.  So I like the pattern, and I like that it’s still neutral and won’t compete with other items in the room.  But I’m just not sure if it’s right.

Persian rugs (and anything Persian rug-inspired) are generally my absolute least favorite rugs of all.  They just look so unbelievably busy to me, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that has colors that actually appeal to me.

And these geometric rugs…well…I don’t know.  They come in all kinds of patterns, and almost every “color + white” combo imaginable.  I used to really like them, but then it seems like they became so ubiquitous that I just got sick of them.

rug from overstockvia Overstock

I did see this one that I really like, though.  Again, it’s the combo of oatmeal and white that I just seem drawn to.

That is such a pretty rug!  I could definitely see that in my dining room, and I think it would look very nice against my dark wood floor.

So I’m kind of stumped when it comes to area rugs.  I guess it’s not bad to stick with what I love — natural, light, neutral, and nothing with lots of color or pattern on it.  I can’t see that anything else would work with what I have planned for my dining room.  Can you?

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  1. I say; stick with what you know you like. If it’s oatmeal coloured sea grass, stick with it. It won’t compete for your eyes’ attention. You have lots of lovely ideas; I love reading what you think up!

  2. Lots of stores are putting their outdoor rugs on clearance at this time of year and some are really pretty and take a beating.lol

  3. Thinking of you painting your dining room table. My daughter-in-law just painted her oak table using Amy Howard at Home One Step Paint. She painted hers black and it turned out beautiful. No stripping, no harsh chemicals, no sanding. I don’t know anything else about this product such as durability or cost. Just one more suggestion from a loyal follower!!

  4. You could skip area rugs completely, except by the front door. I have hardwood throughout my house and the only area rug is right inside the door. This isn’t because I don’t like rugs. I can never find one I like that isn’t super expensive and I think they chop a room up. Plus cleaning is easier when I don’ t need to move a rug :).

    1. I agree with you Susan. We have three small dogs and one reason I went with all hardwoods was because carpet collects dog hair. The other reason is because they are so darn expensive plus I never could find the correct color combo. I have a small rug at our front door and that’s it.

  5. Rugs are hard for me, as well. I have found, however, that taking photos of the space on my phone and then using said photos when I’m out and about looking at rugs (and decor in general) has TOTALLY helped with decision-making (which I’m not so good at). I know you’re purchasing most of your items online (and I do, as well) but I like to window shop the stores first to see what works and then google to my heart’s content when I get back home.

    By the way, I’m so happy to see all your posts again. I missed your blog while you were on a much needed (and deserved!) vacation. Welcome back!

  6. I loveeeee where you’re heading with this! This post was great because I can totally picture what your room will look like. In my head when picturing the room, I see a neutral rug happening. Anything with too much pattern will take away from all of the patterned/colorful fabric you’re using. I think you should go with your gut on this one and stick to what you know/love.

  7. Seems like you’ve got some lovely, lively, pattern, texture and colour filled ideas already. No wonder you want a neutral rug! I agree!

  8. I have to comment … And you may not like what I say… HOWEVER…

    From your floral fabric, to the green and white geometric, to the black table, (all stunning by the way)
    all of these are clear bright colors. The oatmeal fabric DOES NOT FIT. The trim of black will not fix it.
    To do the oatmeal fabric to make the grass cloth work does not make sense. You need to rethink the grass cloth. Again staying with bright colors. (I include black in that group) It’s the same reason why the fabric in the bathroom never worked for you. Background just looked dirty against all the cool colors.
    I LOVE your blog. You are amazing.
    But… you will never be happy with the oatmeal with the white and green fabric. You will put all that work, time and money into it and never be happy with it. What about just using the green and white for the main part with some black trim? Then with that floral……. wow amazing! For an area rug… solid color, pulling out one color out of the floral fabric.

    1. I have to say – I concur with this comment 100%.

      I believe you need to rethink that natural linen as well – especially with that floral fabric on the chairs. You can choose a bleached linen and still get the texture but a black line of ribbon or fabric isn’t going to make that field of natural linen disappear.

      Your new fabric for the bathroom curtain has a whiter background than the previous floral fabric – I think that beige background is one of the reasons you can’t find a home for that floral in your new place and why you’ve ultimately decided against it in the bathroom. It looks dingy against the white wainscot.

      The natural linen will look like that in your dining room with all that white wainscot and the fireplace and the whitened tile around the firebox. And your dining room will be open to your kitchen – where the green is set off against a backdrop of white.

      If there’s been a pattern to your decorating choices lately it’s been to get rid of the beiges as neutral backgrounds in your place and gravitate to cleaner and brighter whites. You have a tendency to go to the beige neutral as a default and then find yourself displeased with it and opt for a white which works with your new directions.

      1. Let me just add – when you posted all those inspiration picks a couple of weeks ago you noted yourself that one of the common denominators was the white walls/backgrounds with the bright and contrasty colours.

      2. Yes! Bleached linen, but not bright decorator white, more polar bear. Just experiment. We will enjoy and learn from your process. LOVE the fabric, it is lovely, languid, translucent and CLEAN! That’s the word I’ve been searching for. Your look in your kitchen is fresh and clean and bright and colorful. Brown and oatmeal backgrounds look dirty with it. If you can pull it off, I will have learned something.

      3. I concur with the above two comments the beigey linen is just so offsetting in a negative way with the green fabric and please don’t change that fabric as that ties your design together so well with the kitchen and the doors. Also the fireplace art does your comment about the art work above NOT be what your mom painted and ypu framed so beautifully? If not I hope you can find a special place for that beautiful piece.

      4. I totally agree with the ladies here and whoever mentioned dirty vs. clean colors was spot on. I read a great blog by Maria Kiliam a color expert and she talks a lot about the dirty vs. clean and why they don’t work together. Well worth an evenings reading. Which is why that beige rug (the one with the tepee on it) wont’ work either. It might even be worth it to wait until everything else is put together before looking into rugs, then you’ll have a much better feel for it. I would also use the pink floral as throw pillows on the not-wingbacks and maybe use black trim on the parsons chair with the pink floral.

    2. Okay, I’m listening. And contemplating. 🙂 I wonder if I can find white grasscloth. What important to me is the texture, and not so much the color. I default to “natural” color grasscloth, but white might be beautiful as well, especially with the bright floral fabric. And then I could use white linen for the windows., and not the color. I like that idea!

      1. You might look at the paintable textured wallpapers out there. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a grasscloth “look-alike” that you could paint white. I agree about the linen, grasscloth being too drab for you. Remembering the lively inspiration pictures you posted were just that…..lively. Go with a “happy” solid color for the rug under your table pulled from your sample. Cheers

      2. I just googled white grasscloth wallpaper and it looks like there are lots of options! Most have a silvery undertone with grays in them, so it might take some work to find the right one.

        I like your natural rug idea. If you need another pattern, though, why not do a wide black and white stripe rug? You love stripes and it would be very striking. I personally do not have a rug under the dining room table because of young kids and spills {it’s our primary eating area}. Instead, I painted the table top in a muted harlequin pattern.

        1. Black and white striped rug under your black dinning table and floral print chairs?? OH MY WORD!!!!!!!! I can so see that!!! Such a fabulous idea!!!!!!!!!!
          I can see it all clearly in my mind and it looks amazing!

      3. What about the beautiful walls you did in the music room with the whisk broom, couldn’t you do that with shades of white that you like?

  9. I am SO PICKY when it comes to rugs. I like the idea of layering area rugs, but I only ever got as far as a natural jute in my living room because I couldn’t find a second one I liked enough to spend $300 on. When in doubt, I go with a neutral. If I’m feeling particularly crazed, I’ll go with a very subtle pattern -still neutral- but that’s pretty rare. Some bold patterns look absolutely fantastic, but so rarely align with the furniture pieces/upholstery/curtains I’ve already chosen/fallen in love with- which probably means I very obviously didn’t start with grounding the space when I should have.

  10. I would wait till you finished the room… Leave it without a rug for a while as you may decide you don’t need one under the table. Sure would be easier to clean the floor without one!! I used to have a rug under my table and ended up putting it in another room..

  11. I love the colors and your entire plan. I can’t wait to see the buffet painted. I hope the fabric you have planned for the chairs has the right green in it because I love it. I also agree with what others are saying about the rug. Stick with a neutral rug and let the colors in your buffet, chair fabric and curtains be the star. Of course, any artwork and staging on your fireplace will also add color and visual appeal.

  12. I do like the idea of a solid color rug with all those gorgeous patterns you have planned. But it doesn’t have to be a neutral color; I just don’t see you as a neutral color person! What about pulling just one color from the patterned fabrics and using it for the rug to highlight those beautiful colors that you love? BTW, I leave my floors bare in the summer (it’s hot here in Iowa) and put down an area rug in winter (it’s really cold here in winter!)

    1. It might help if you keep in mind that “beautiful” is highly subjective. 🙂 What one person considers “beautiful” wood, another person may consider to be not pretty at all. I personally love wood, and generally have issues with painting beautiful wood. But for my taste, this buffet doesn’t qualify as “beautiful” wood, so I have no problem painting it. 🙂

    2. There is nothing sacred about wood grain. Trees are out there forming cambium layers all the time, constantly. And wood grain is generally brown, a color that you have to work into your pallet. Brown is not a neutral, it is orangey or reddish much of the time.

      1. I agree Brenda…I painted my mother’s mahogany dining room set..it was just too dark and heavy for my style and house…so many in my family were appalled..I said…you know..u can always have to stripped and refinished…I think my mother would love it…wood is not sacred…your furniture and your house are meant to bring u joy!!

    3. Hi, Marcia! There are two of us here named Marcia, and I’m the one who thinks wood isn’t sacred. I share the design philosophy of Sister Parish who kept stained wood furniture to a minimum in her iconic rooms. She had no problem painting expensive pieces of wood when that contributed to the beauty of a room. That wood buffet in its original state would look as if it found its way into your home by mistake. However, painting it will give it real design impact.

      Speaking of paint, Kristi, I understand that chalk paint works wonderfully well on furniture. Haven’t tried it yet, but plan to. There’s tons of info about it online and on FaceBook.

  13. Kristi..I want to share something..with u and with your other readers…I learned this from my mother and this may be something you all already know but here goes…..when I need area rugs and budget is a consideration..and it always is to some extent…I go to carpet warehouse type stores…I look thru their carpet remnant pieces…in some cases they have huge pieces of carpet in other cases not so much..but i can often find a carpet that i like…I happen to like shag rugs….just a holdover from my younger days..but I found a very reasonable piece of carpet bought it and then had a carpet “binder” they actually come to your house and for a fee..very affordable..they will cut and sew…or bind the edges of the carpet..you can have them cut to any size…i have runners..large area and small area rugs and use them in the kitchen and even my closet…plan to have a new one cut for our living room….dark green shag…and i hope a very shaggy shag if i can find it…but this is a reasonable and also something you can adapt to your house….you never know what you can find at these carpet warehouse places….unique colors..patterns….as i said this may be old news to you and others but just wanted to share if youre stumped for area rug options…this can even be a temporary option until you can afford exactly what u want..or until u make up your mind exactly what u want…all your pictures are beautiful by the way…im sure whatever you decide on will be wonderful!!

    1. I’ve used this and it works wonderful. Also, it is very custom looking, while being very reasonably priced.

      1. My mother…a child of the depression..always did this..even when she could afford more…her house was always decorated beautifully…strictly her design..no professionals…she loved houses..as do I…and she always said..your home should tell your story…it should express u and your family…I love that philosophy and I do not hesitate to use family pictures…in unique ways in my public rooms…the old rule..if im not mistaken..was no family or personal pictures in the living room…Life is less formal now….its about what u love…

        1. Kristi has addressed my worst nightmare in the décor world, and Nonna has potentially solved the problem!!!!
          I like patterned rugs and unless you are either the mod squad or Orientally oriented, patterned rugs are hard to find!
          I will take myself off to the carpet company next week and see what I can find!
          Thank BOTH of you ladies for helping me out and relieving my nightmare!
          You are the BEST!!
          Blessings and happy July 4th to you all,

    2. I have used the same type of places and they will actually cut and bind the carpet for you. Cutting is free and binding is $1.00 a foot. I also have a place that sells carpets and installs them. They also clean carpets so when I want my Persian rugs cleaned I call them and they pick them up, clean them for a reasonable price bring them back and put them in place. Years ago I had two Karastan throw rugs that matched my foyer and living room rug. I bought them because they were a good buy. I got the idea that I would like to have carpet on my front stair case and of course I wanted the Karastan to match my foyer and living room. Well when I priced it I thought I would have a heart attack. My husband would just drop dead on the spot. I went home and sat down in the living room and thought and thought and thought. I got up and got the measuring tape and measured the throw rugs, then I measured the stair treads and counted how many there were. Once I did the math, I knew I could get stair treads for the front stairs, but not the landing half way up, but I really didn’t care about that. I had an antique chair there and it was enough with the artwork on the walls. So off I went to my binder, told him what I wanted him to do, he told me I was crazy, that these were expensive rugs. I said I understood that, but they were kind of useless and to do the stairs was going to cost almost $2000. Now the pattern was not the same but because of the turn in the stairs we were able to lay them out that it really didn’t show. The binding cost me less than $200. because I agreed to let them keep the fringe from both of the rugs. So there are lots of ways to get what you want, you just have to think outside of the box, and remenant rooms are a great place to start.

  14. What is the return policies on the rugs? I’d be tempted to order the crazy eyes rug and a neutral rug. Try them both in your finished or nearly finished room and keep the one that works the best. Even if you have to pay return shipping it might be worth it.

    1. I’m not sure, but I think they’re really great about returns because I’m always reading in the customer reviews about people returning things that didn’t quite work out in their home, and it seems like it’s pretty painless. I might end up doing that as well!

  15. Of the ones you picked, I definitely liked the bottom one the best. Of course, you should go with what you like! Rugs can change a lot about a room, so if you get one you end up not liking, or that is too bold for the room… you’ll probably end up REALLY hating it!

  16. I love your fabrics! The area rug might look great in a solid green or a solid green with a white border. It would unite the green from the kitchen into the front of the house. I also think they are right about the off white/oatmeal color. It will make the white look dirty and the off white dingy. I had the same experience when trying to find fabric for my kitchen.

  17. I think that bold bright color in an area rug is for only if there are no other bright colors in the room. So no bright furniture, maybe a wood tone or all one plain color. I feel the there should be only one focus in a room, either the floor or the furniture or the walls, then the rest should “match” or co-ordinate with it, not fight against it. I think you are on the right track with the plain neutral.
    I saw a room years ago that had all the dining room chairs a different bold bright color, the table was another color with the legs matching the chair colors, the walls were all a different color and the floor was painted a very weird pattern, of course with bright bold colors and the ceiling was black and had this very weird light fixture, of course with bold bright colors….. you just didn’t know where your eyes should go, they went all over the place! It wasn’t calming at all, it was like you and that reviewer mentioned it was “crazy” and hyper.
    I guess it was what they wanted, and that’s okay for them. If I was a visitor, I would probably be able to stay in that room for only about an hour and then with any more time I would probably go gaga… LOL

  18. Kristi— I’m loving the excitement in your voice! When a plan comes together, it comes together…do you hear the angels singing??
    As for the area rug, I think you are missing the final knock out punch by going with sea grass. I know they’re everywhere but … the black and white stripe rug (in three panels) for example would totally make this room pop and add a little unexpected youthfulness to the room. (I think there was an example of a Nantucket traditional home that used it in the last issue or two of house beautiful.) if that’s too trendy, I would totally support the black graphic rug you were looking at.
    And I am in the “cleaner colors” camp as well!
    (Love the new floral fabric and the black w/ white piping!)

    1. Okay, I actually did have an example of a black and white striped rug that I almost included in this post (and was actually contemplating as I looked at rugs last night), but then as I was writing this post, I totally chickened out!!! 😀 I think I’m going to look at it again. If anything could get me out of my comfort zone, it would be my beloved stripes, and I really do think that black and white would look amazing.

  19. I’m SO excited to be following you through this journey. Personally, we have a few area rugs throughout our home (hardwoods) and we stick to what we like too; neutral sea grass. Those rugs never compete with our furniture/fabric/colors – I don’t want a rug to be the focal point of the room, just added texture 🙂

  20. Hi Kristi-
    I think your room will be amazing. I love your selections so far.
    I have struggled with area rugs as well. I tend to love really bold colors & lots of pattern. I see rugs with all of these things & then they overpower the room & don’t allow you to have pops of color & pattern in pillows & window treatments.I actually used to have an indoor/outdoor rug that had the look of jute or sisal, but was much easier to care for. It was a nice neutral room size rug with that added a little warmth & texture to the room, but didn’t distract from all of my other ‘stuff’.
    Could you tell me where you found the colorful fabric you’re planning for the captain’s chairs?

  21. I don’t like rugs under the dining table personally. I love both your choices–the Seagrass or the patterned beige one. The black rug would have a much heavier look and compete with the beautiful chair fabric.

  22. Have you made a design board with all your ideas on it? Sometimes once you do that you can see if your paint colors, fabric, paint and rugs are going to be cohesive. I can’t picture two chairs with that bright fabric on them that’s going to be a lot of bright pattern on two surfaces.(But we all have different tastes) 🙂 Maybe throw pillows in that fabric? There are also rugs that have writing on them, like the Le Poeme rug at Ballard Design. It’s the story of an ant and a cricket in French. http://www.ballarddesigns.com/le-poeme-indoor-2foutdoor-rug/13282

  23. I am in the process of having a house built and I haven’t been able to find rugs I like, in the sizes I will need. I also have a hard time with choosing rugs.

    I have been looking at FLOR (www . flor . com) at carpet squares. Lots more options than I ever thought were available in carpet tiles. You can use them more like rugs rather than wall to wall. Their Sweater Weather tiles are my favorite at the moment, but I keep finding more that I like.

    Bonus is that we have 5 pets, so if something happens to one tile, I will just replace it.

  24. I wanted a colorful rug at the foot of our bed, but I didn’t want a lot of pattern in it. I was lucky to find an ombre rug in colors that work perfectly with my color scheme. Colorwise, I usually start decorating a room with the fabrics and work my way out, finally choosing a wall color at the end, as well as any rugs. However, once I saw this beautiful rug (which is handmade of wool and cotton and inexpensive), I realized it was the one. Now my fabric patterns can be lively without competing with a rug pattern.

  25. As someone who, like Matt, uses a wheelchair, I want to bring up another whole issue (though, while I’m at it, I’ll put in a vote for a neutral sea grass rug). For me, rugs present a real headache and can even be a literal source of pain. Maneuvering on and off of them can be difficult; the height differential impedes fluid movement, let alone what can be momentum-stopping forays into thick weaves. Think trying to walk through molasses. I’ve badly strained my upper body attempting to move over some carpeting and rugs.

    Maybe one under the dining room table wouldn’t be so bad (though it could make it more difficult to position one’s wheels where you want them), but the thought of having rugs scattered throughout the house makes me wince. Bare wood floors are one of the best surfaces for smoothly and easily steering a wheelchair with the least amount of physical effort. If you’re going to go with scattering rugs throughout your house, please consult with Matt about what will and won’t work for him. And if you do end up using them, obviously, the tighter and smoother the weave and the lower the height, the better.

    Another consideration is that wheelchair wheels pick up all sorts of crap when you’re out and about — and all of that will be tranferred to any rugs inside. So, while it might not be gorgeous, a practical Rubbermaid-type mat or runner right inside the entrance Matt will be using (via the garage?) is the one rug that really makes sense to me.

  26. Personally, I used to have a rug under my dining table, and it was a disaster. It was difficult to push the chairs in and out; no matter how careful we were in our dining, somehow food always managed to find its way to the rug. and it was hard on my back to clean it under all the chairs and the table. I understand that this is a formal dining room that will not be used on a daily basis, but that means even more people eating around the table when you do have family and friends over. Just my two cents’ worth.

    Having said that, I agree with those above who suggest listening to your gut and staying with a neutral rug that won’t compete with all the colors and fabrics you’ll have in the room. OR, waiting until everything else is in place will also give you a better idea as to whether another pattern will work in the room, or if neutral would be better.

    One last thought – how will Matt be able to negotiate around the table if you have a rug under it? Any problems with that?

    1. BTW, I love the room you showed a few posts back with the black table, colorful fabric on the two wing chairs at either end of the table, and the parsons style side chairs. I think it had a bright green china cabinet too. That room just looks like you, Kristi. It sounds as if that’s the direction you’re heading, and I can’t wait to see it done!

      Onward and Upward!

    2. I always stick with thin rugs, so they shouldn’t be a problem for Matt. The seagrass rug that used to be in the front room (when it was the living room) is now in our bedroom and he doesn’t have any problems with it.

  27. I really like the new direction- the floral fabric is really fun and colorful, playing into your love of abstracts. Its also a really nice contrast to the black & white chairs. If you google “black and white area rugs” you will get a wide variety, also on pinterest too.

  28. Rugs are difficult. I would have a custom rug made from carpet. I would either have the main rug be black and run a contrasting border around it in blush pink or I would do the opposite and do a blush pink rug with a black band bordering it. Of course you could use oatmeal and black but I like the blush pink idea with your buffet and watercolor fabric.

  29. Oh, also if it were me I would not use a black band to separate the white from the oatmeal on your drapes. White and oatmeal can go together, just commit yourself to it and don’t hesitate about the combination. It will look fine. A black band addition in my minds eye would make it too fussy.

  30. Your plan sounds really good and I like the cleaner colours in the new fabric. The previous fabric colours were too muted and dusky looking. I think the raspberry buffet will look completely awesome.

    I too dislike patterned area rugs, I like the look of sea grass textured rugs but can’t stand the way they feel. My solution for a large area rug was to get a piece of good wool carpet with a textured look (not too dissimilar from the rugs you have above) and edged it with grosgrain ribbon. Very happy with how it turned out.

    Personally I think the zig zaggy rugs you have above are awesome and would look amazing in your space.

  31. And as long as I’m commenting, It will really be much too busy to use grass cloth panel inserts on the top part of your wainscotted walls. Don’t do any panels on the top and just use solid sheets of grass cloth on top in oatmeal it will be stunning and bring your whole scheme together.

  32. I’ve always gone for neutral rugs when it came to choosing them. And then a year ago, I changed the offwhite one under our dining room table and replaced it with a grey and white one that has a rather lively traditional Scandinavian pattern. It enhances the entire room – people keep complimenting about the “new” table (which was there before!). Of course, getting it from the Scandinavian furniture shop meant the rug was not too expensive and I could have taken it back – so not much of a risk there. But I’ve learned a lesson from that and will from now on try different things before settling on the choice of least risk… So I really concur with the comments above which advise you to try different options if you can give back any rugs you don’t like. Though with all the pattern you are planning in that room, a neutral one might be the best choice in the end – go try it!

    Love your colour combination of black, green and the colourful fabric and think that an (off)white fabric for the curtain matches the other fabrics better, too. I can’t wait to see all this coming to life!

    1. and a PS: I’m really curious about the look of the painted sideboard. I think your colour choice for it is fantastic and leaving it brown is not an option for what you have planned for that room – it’ would just not be Kristi 🙂

  33. I really like the grasscloth area rug and think it would be great under that black dining table. Don’t doubt your taste or choices because when you do, you generally go back to what you originally thought was a good idea and it usually is!! Area rugs that are neutral can often be used in more than one room so if you get tired of one, it can be used in another place, as well.

  34. Please read my comment as a question with no judgment or criticism intended! With Matt in a wheelchair, would rugs just impede his progress through a room? Maybe not, I have no point of reference. Do you have to have a rug? Is that what makes a room “complete”? Do rooms feel not quite finished without a rug? I only have one area rug on my hardwoods – an ugly brown one that was $50 necessity purchase because my dogs couldn’t get up on the furniture or my lap because they kept sliding on the hardwood – because I can never figure out what style or I’m not willing to pay so much for one. Anyway just curious if rugs are “required” (for lack of a better word).

    1. I think it depends on the room whether or not a rug will make it feel complete. I personally like area rugs in dining rooms, living rooms, and bedrooms, but it’s just a personal choice. I always make sure that I’m purchasing thin/low pile rugs that Matt can maneuver over. Flat weave rugs work well, and the seagrass rug in our bedroom is thin enough to not be a problem for him.

  35. Hi, I’m using a similar ( actually I think it’s the same) fabric. It is about $10.00 cheaper than what you found. It is at Sailrite.com. P/Kaufmann Pattern Play Tutti Frutti Fabric. Just thought you’d like to know. have you thought of using a green grasscloth and what about an animal print area rug I think they call it a cheetah print. White with black dots.

  36. I totally relate! Area rugs are a tough one! I’ve been looking for one for my dining room for a month now. Online and in stores, doesn’t matter. What I sort of like the price is too high to justify. What I really like doesn’t come in the dimensions I need… good luck to you!

  37. Sorry I don’t get what you’re struggle is. Your first choice is perfect. Your rug doesn’t need colour with all the other choices you’ve made. The rugs and drapes will be a perfect compliment to your room.
    Remember not long ago, you decided to trust your choices and not over think things….well you didn’t quite put it that way.

  38. Love your design plan. What I love about your pick of a neutral sisal rug under the dining room table is that with the painted fireplace, painted table and chairs and painted buffet, using a rug that is all about texture is the perfect compliment to all the slick painted surfaces. Plus with all the dark and light tones in the room a medium toned rug will be welcome to the eye. For your curtains using a medium tone color for the field would set off the green and white border with black accent nicely. Maybe a medium coral textured fabric that would speak to the buffet?

  39. I love what you are doing. Go with your gut- you are spot on when you do. Get everything you know you want to do finished and then try different rugs. You will know which one works. Do you have a place that will bring several options to try? Trying to envision all of it is too much for me, but I trust you will do the right thing and I can’t wait to see it. Art can bring it all together and I don’t just mean wall art-although I am a big believer in that. But as you know, glass pieces, lamps etc-all good. You go girl!

  40. Hi Kristi,
    I love your new ideas. Personally, I think this room is screaming for something like a “cool Persian rug.” There are GORGEOUS Persian rugs out there. And, they are cool!! And, with your wainscoting and wood floors and painted white, crisp walls, and black doors, and the tailored look you keep mentioning that you love…this room is screaming for a colorful persian rug!! (IMHO) I pasted some examples. I got carried away because they are so awesome. But, if you have a second, you might enjoy some of them! 🙂

    SO enjoying your process!!







    and, this is just too awesome not to include!!! (a swimming pool that looks like a persian rug!!!)




    and look at this GORGEOUS green kitchen… 🙂


    1. Well, great. Now I have to add “built Persian-rug-inspired swimming pool” to my list of things to do in my back yard. 😀 What unbelievably amazing vision they had for that! I can’t even imagine how much that cost to build!

      1. LOL! I know! I’m starting to think that we might as well settle for an above ground pool at our house. Because the most normal looking, (not even persian rug inspired!), in-ground pools seem to stay just out of reach! 😉

  41. I love the whole design scheme you just laid out, Kristi. It flows beautifully with the feel of the kitchen and the bathroom. Your vision with mixing the natural color grass cloth with the white wainscoting and then carrying that over to the mix of the two colors and textures on the slipcovers and also the beautiful green and white fabric banding the edge of the natural color linen panels is brilliant! My only suggestion would be to find a bright color patterned rug instead of the bright color patterned upholstered chairs. Then you could do the captain chairs in the solid color you plan to do the hutch in! What do you think?

  42. Typing this as I am sitting on my seagrass rug! I use them throughout my house and layer smaller rugs on top of them when I am looking for a little change…everything from a fun, colorful smaller rug in my guest room to a white fur rug layered on top in the winter. To me, they are the only way to go for people who love to change their decor without spending much money and they can be dressed up or dressed down. I do love the “crazy” patterned one you showed too though and don’t think that it would compete with all the other elements in the room.

  43. I think the room will look amazing with the new ideas. If I were you I would get it all done and leave the rug for last and then decide what you think will look best. You may like it without one under the dining table and just putting a rug from the front door towards the music room in front of the buffet. I do love the black chairs but don’t you have cats? I can’t imagine trying to keep them fur free and every speck of everything will show on that black fabric. Just something to think about. I look forward to seeing how the music room ties into your ideas for your “new dining and entryway area. Glad your back, I missed your posts.

  44. I love love love the direction you are taking with your dining room. I think your kitchen is so beautiful and high design that you really needed to have everything up to that level in a way. This design has been right there waiting to come out you just needed to take the right steps for your plan to form. You are always amazing me and I can’t wait more than ever to see your plans become a reality.

  45. Sorry if this was already mentioned, but have you considered using wall-to-wall carpet as an area rug? I know a guy with a binding machine; for $2/lin. foot he will bind a piece of carpet to make an area rug out of it. Then you get to select from the thousands and thousands of roll goods out there…including textures, patterns, sisal, etc. The bonus is that you are not stuck with standard area rug sizes.

    I don’t have an area rug under my dining room table. Easier to clean that way, and I feel like there’s enough other stuff going on that I don’t need it for design purposes.

  46. Ugh, I feel your pain. I spent all of last summer schlepping over 20 rugs home and back to the store and being so very, very frustrated — until I found Flor. Have you considered Flor tiles? We’ve had them in our main living area for a year now, and I am so very pleased. Perfect for the thousands of neighbor kids who come through my home daily (or maybe it’s just six or seven?) and our dog. I think they would be very wheelchair-friendly, too. We have Carry A Torch (I think it only comes in cream). Flor has a sale at the end of the summer on all their tiles, so I would definitely wait for that, if you go that route.


    We’ve also had fantastic luck with Dash and Albert indoor/outdoor rugs. In fact, we have one in each bathroom as our bathmat. It’s possible they are indestructible. To clean them you take them outside and hose them off. Perfect.


    (For the record, the Demin color in real life the color is far closer to indigo.)

    Good luck!

  47. Check out this blog for natural rugs. She’s a big proponent of natural and using the same rug throughout the home. http://cotedetexas.blogspot.com/. A beautiful clean look – can’t go wrong.

    Thankfully I found Maria Kiliam before we decided many of the finishes in our home. http://www.mariakillam.com/. I only made one mistake vs many. She gives excellent advice.

    Unless you are using natural rugs throughout, I learned the best way to make decisions on colors throughout a home is to start with a rug for a key room. It all falls into place after that. You really can’t go wrong as you will naturally pick a rug that has colors you love.