How Do Interior Designers Pick Rugs for Their Clients?

How Do Interior Designers Pick Rugs for Their Clients?

The job of an interior designer or decorator is to look at the room and think, 'how can I make this more beautiful?' Aesthetics take precedence, no matter the client, no matter the room. And that goes for any element of the room, including the rugs.

But how do interior designers and decorators decide on what rug works for our room? Is there a specific system they follow or is it all down to what they think might work? Well, that's what we're here to find out. In this article, we will cover rug selection in modern interior design. Then, we will try to figure out if there's a particular method behind the selection and, more importantly, why it might work. 

Difficulties Behind Choosing the Right Rug

As odd as this might sound, most decorators and designers don't know the first thing about rugs. To be precise, they don't know the difference between various types. They also don't necessarily keep up with all of the modern rug trends. Another thing we should state is that the same applies to other elements of the room, such as sofas, lamps, coffee tables, shelves, plant pots, etc. 

To a decorator, the visual appeal of the room is everything. In other words, they will follow current trends to a point to keep up with the demand. But broadly speaking, they will mainly focus on what works for a particular room, even if the rug they choose might be 'outdated' or even if it comes from a no-name manufacturer. Furthermore, they have to work within the client's budget and sensibilities, so they aren't exactly free to pick and choose whatever they want. 

And while an average designer might face all of these problems and end up simply following their gut, they tend to follow specific rules when it comes to picking the right rug. Of course, we use the term 'rules' very loosely here. In reality, these are just a few scattered guidelines that a designer might (or might not) consider when rug shopping.

Rug Size

Let's say that a decorator has a spacious, lofty living room that needs some floor coverage. They will usually try to assess the space and decide what size of a rug will fit. Sometimes, it will be a big area rug that goes underneath the furniture, in the center of the room. Other times, a few small, rectangular rugs might give the room a certain appeal. It depends on what kind of room the designer is working with. There are even times when they might combine two rugs, one on top of another, to create a different flow in the room and save money they might have spent buying just one big rug.

If you'd like to learn more, we suggest reading our guide on “How to Layer Rugs”.

Rug Colors and Patterns

Generally speaking, American homeowners prefer soft palettes, while Europeans and Latin Americans experiment with their colors. The same goes for pattern designs. For example, Americans tend to prefer so-called all-over design rugs. In other words, the design is spread out across the upper layer of the carpet, giving it a nice, even feel. On the other hand, Europeans usually go for a central medallion design, i.e., one where a central pattern dominates the rug. 

Color choices will also vary depending on the room. For example, vivid and intense colors are usually not perfect as living room rugs or dining area rugs. Instead, most designers opt for subdued, soft, and elegant colors like nutmeg, beige, brown, and cream. The same goes for wild patterns — a simple, unassuming pattern will always look good in a living room. However, in bathrooms, children's rooms, or workout space, some color and a touch of whimsy might work better, which is why designers opted for those solutions when designing said rooms. 

Rug Materials

Rugs can be made from a variety of materials. Some of the carpets we often ran into were usually made from one of the following materials:

  • Wool
  • Silk
  • Cotton
  • Jute
  • Bamboo
  • Leather
  • Hide
  • Sheepskin
  • Polypropylene
  • Faux fur or hide
  • Synthetic materials (microfiber or polyester)

Each of these materials has its benefits as well as its setbacks. For example, some of them stain easily, others are hard to vacuum or clean, and more than a few are not a good idea if we have pets in the house. And with so many materials out there, the decorator's job of picking the perfect rug becomes much more difficult. 

Method of Rug Creation

Not all rugs are made the same. Very broadly speaking, we have several different rug types: 

  • Hand-tufted rugs

  • Hand-knotted rugs

  • Machine-loomed rugs

The exact choice will depend on several different factors, and the designer usually goes with whatever fits the decor of the room best. Sometimes, a hand-knotted rug will not look good in a modern, futuristic-looking kitchen, for instance. 

Client Personality

Interestingly, there's a bit of a stereotype that interior designers are pretty stubborn when doing their job, sometimes even arguing with the client over said client's supposed 'ignorance' or 'lack of taste'. And while there are designers like that out there, they are few and far between. 

Most designers nowadays take client input incredibly seriously. After all, the client is the person who has to live in that room for the rest of their days, and they are a paying customer. So, even if the client wants striking and daring colors in a neutral environment, the designer must obey.

Of course, nearly all professional designers will pay close attention to the client's tastes. In addition, they will discuss all possible options with their client and put their ideas forward. For example, a more subdued client might indeed want a more subdued rug for his bedroom, but a cordial conversation with the interior decorator might change their mind (and save them money in the process).

Price of a Rug

Both the client and the interior designer want the best rug out there. However, sometimes the client will have budgetary constraints. After all, buying a new rug is merely one part of redesigning and redecorating one's interior, and designers know that very well.

Generally speaking, a client will let the decorator know what budget they are considering for the rug. It then becomes the decorator's job to find the best, most fitting rug with that same price tag or an even lower one. Naturally, if they think that a different, pricier rug would fit the room better, they can always talk it over with the customer. We might never know if the customer might change their mind over their rug selection.

If you'd like to learn more about cost of rugs, we suggest reading our guide on “What determines the price of a rug

Final Thoughts

As we have shown, an interior decorator has to think about multiple things before choosing the client's right rug. Yes, a few methods apply, but the most common one, following one's own gut, still remains their favorite.

It's simply the nature of the business, and more often than not, it pays off quite well — both for the client and the interior designer.

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