If you want to make a room really zingy, choose a red rug! Not only do they make a great focal point in a neutral room, they also immediately draw the eyes, so if you have a feature you want to make more of, such as a fireplace or a picture window, placing a red rug in front of it will bring it into even more prominence. The range of reds on offer makes it easy to find one to suit, but it is important to make sure they are all of the same ‘family’. Reds in particular can be hard to match, so keeping to cherries, roses, crimsons in one room and not trying to mix them together is probably a good plan.
Not just a primary
Red (with blue and yellow) is a primary colour on the colour wheel, but of course when it comes to décor it isn’t as simple as that. A pure, clear red is a very vibrant shade and will wake up any room. For this reason, it is not advised for use in a bedroom as it is too stimulating. Having said that, just adding a little of other shades to tweak the pure colour can give a very different mood; softening it to a rose can make it perfect for more restful spaces, whereas sharpening it to flame by the addition of a yellow element can make it very bright but much less challenging. There are reds for every room – find yours here.
The burgundy family of colours are very rich and look fabulous in any room, but perhaps they are most at home in studies and formal lounges. They give a depth of colour to any décor and whether they are set in a pale room to supply a single accent note or are part of a leather and firelight ambience, they will do their job wonderfully. Burgundy shades blend very well with other colours, most notably browns and greens; think the deep red of an old fashioned rose, twining with its leaves and stems against an old terracotta wall and you have just the look; stylish and traditional, warm and welcoming.
Not just wine!
Of course, burgundy shades are named for the wine and there are many different colours in the spectrum. From the lightest nouveau vintages to the oak-aged wines in dusty bottles, all of these are reflected in the rugs on offer here. Burgundy as an accent in a traditional rug is a very common addition and it brings depth and style to any design. Easier to match than a simple red, burgundy rugs will be at home in the bedroom too, as they are not challenging shades, but something that will warm a room without making it too stimulating. Because some burgundies can shade into purple, they can also be used in relatively ‘young’ settings – they are certainly not just for the ‘gentleman’s club’ look!
Strictly speaking, black is not a colour but an absence of it and along those lines it is not really possible to have different shades. Of course, anyone who is interested in interior décor knows that this is not really the case, with many shades of black being available. In nature it is easy to list a large number of different blacks – the blue-black of a raven’s wing; the bloomed black of a sloe, with hints of purple; the rolling black clouds of a thunderstorm on its way. And so it is when choosing a rug to make a real statement. Black rugs are a very simple way to make a room look dramatic and if your decorating style is on the minimalist side, it is an ideal choice.
Accent in a design
If a pure black rug is not for you, a patterned rug with black as the main component is probably the next best thing. A black pattern on a pale ground looks very dramatic and can be either traditional or modern. Thick black swirls look very effective and are easy to team with any other patterned element in a room – black can’t clash with anything because it isn’t a colour. It therefore makes a perfect partner for any other shades you are using and is in fact the only colour you can always team happily with red with no fears of visitors flinching in horror! About the only place black wouldn’t be welcome is the bathroom – think of all that talcum powder!
Blues are possibly the best shades for mixing as it is generally true that no blue will clash with any other. Taking that further, blue will mix happily with most other colours as well, having a particular affinity for green; a glance over the average herbaceous border will bear that out! Blues do come in many shades, from a clear sky-blue to a moody teal, but they all look fabulous in any room. Blue is a classic shade for boys’ rooms but it is interesting to know that in Russia, the classic blue and pink are the other way round, so using blue in a girl’s room would be fine. Blues are sometimes thought to be ‘cold’ but using navy or Mediterranean blue in conjunction with terracotta can give a very warm feel even to a north facing room.
Learn from nature
Blue is one of the most predominant colours in nature, from the iridescence of a kingfisher to the clear blue of a forget-me-not. Using any of these shades, from the palest blue of a spring sky to the deep almost purple of a hollyhock will ensure that you don’t forget the great outdoors and a blue rug in a conservatory is a sure winner, reflecting as it does the sky outside. Blue patterns on a neutral ground have become very on trend in recent years and on a flatweave rug makes a practical statement in a kitchen.
Green is considered by some to be an unlucky colour, but when it comes to interior design it is everyone’s friend. Green, like blue, goes with almost anything and from the yellowy greens of spring leaves to deepest olive, it will make any room more restful and friendly. Greens come in an almost bewildering range of shades and using a cloudy sage in large swathes on the floor gives any room a very stylish feel. A sharp bright green accent in a small rug teamed with cushions in the same palette will brighten up a room immediately and if you want to give a lift to a room which is looking a little tired, using a leaf green teamed with a leaf-patterned fabric will make it zing.
Perfect for the conservatory
Conservatories these days are not just somewhere to sit on cooler days but are often used all year round as permanent rooms in the house, whether it is as a study, a dining room or a quiet retreat. They often come with terracotta floors and green rugs look wonderful teamed with this shade and reflect the garden just the other side of the glass. Green rugs look perfect when surrounded by plants too and because all shades from acid green to almost black blend with each other, you don’t have to worry about clashes. Green carpet runners in the hall also are a good choice – for some reason that is not fully understood, green is a very welcoming colour.
Nothing says ‘luxury’ quite like a cream rug. Although they come in a variety of styles and textures, the traditional shaggy or deep pile cream rug is a staple of many bedrooms and there is little nicer than sinking your toes into a lovely warm rug in a thick, clotted cream colour in the morning. Cream can be almost yellow or as pale as a warm white, but no matter what its shade, it is welcome anywhere. Because it is so neutral, you don’t have to worry where you place it, but on a dark carpet or wooden floor it will make a real statement. Used in low traffic areas, cream rugs will keep their good looks for years as long as you are careful to clean regularly and give it a shake when you can.
Cream rugs cry out for texture
Although all rugs look great when presented in a textured finish, cream seems to go with shaggy textures or long piles particularly well. The classic long strands of the natural wool rugs which are such a design classic look marvellous wherever they are placed, but in a study with dark furniture or a family room where everyone goes to relax, it is particularly at home. Cream rugs may not be a natural choice for the hall and stairs as being a little prone to picking up dirt but when you get upstairs, using cream rugs on the landing and in bedrooms signals that here is where you start to relax and enjoy some proper pampering.
Beige once had a bad press, considered a boring colour, but that has all changed. There are probably more shades of beige than any other colour, from the warm hug of a cappuccino to the deep tones of a greenish khaki. Beige can stand as a background colour in a busy room or can be used to tone down a bright carpet or floor – sometimes less really is more. Beige goes well with almost any colour, but has a particular affinity for blue (especially the peacocks and teals) and green. With so many of the darker beiges having a greenish tinge, greens can segue nicely from a beige background, giving a very coordinated look. It is also a good way of ‘growing up’ a boy’s room, as beige is considered very on trend, especially from the camouflage end of the spectrum.
Calming tones for a chill out room
Surrounding yourself with beige is a really excellent way to chill out at the end of a busy day. Sticking to the coffee colours with accents of darker brown such as chocolate and caramel will not only calm the eye but will also appeal to the ‘eat with your eyes’ part of the brain and chocolate (the food) has calming chemical properties which are linked with most people to the appearance so without eating a single calorie, you can get all the benefits. Whether as a background or main décor choice, beige is so much more than you thought!
There is something very primeval about our relationship with the colour brown. Being the colour of the soil which provided us with food in our earliest times, we are very attached to it and most homes have more brown in than any other single colour, but there are more shades than most people think to consider. Glossy chestnut is often people’s favourite, with hints of auburn and a sunny autumn day. Different wood has different shades, from the smoky grey tinge of native oak through to the rich red of mahogany. Being a ‘nature’ colour, brown goes with almost every other colour but the chocolate end of the spectrum teams particularly well with cream.
Bright brown is not impossible
It is natural to think of brown as being quite a sombre colour, but nothing could be further from the truth. The bright browns – those with a lot of red in them – can make a very arresting centrepiece and also team particularly well with wooden floors, so if you need a rug to warm up laminate or stripped boards, one of this colour would be a good choice. Add an open fire and some leather furniture and you have a very classy room indeed, with little outlay. Brown goes well with green of almost any shade, so if it is a touch of pattern you are after, natural designs work particularly well. Brown is also a staple shade in many of the traditional designs, again across the spectrum from dust to ginger.
Anyone who has enjoyed a holiday in Italy cannot help but smile when they see the colour terracotta. In Italy and parts of southern France and Spain it is impossible to look at any landscape or cityscape for that matter and not have a view of terracotta roofs soaking up the sun. It is almost a given, then, that terracotta in all shades from deep burnt umber to almost pink, goes well with practically every other colour. To get the best out of your terracotta rug and make sure it brings the heat and warmth of Tuscany or the Balearics to your home, team it with the magenta and green of bougainvillea or the lime washed cream of the walls of the regions.
Warm up any room with terracotta
Terracotta seems to carry the sunshine with it and many people when asked to describe it with one word will say ‘orange’ but this is far from the case. Terracotta comes in a multitude of shades from washed out pink to almost brown and has every colour in-between – yes, including orange! Terracotta is one of those fortunate colours that keeps its identity even when cut with white to make it paler and so you can choose ascending vibrancy and depth of colour within the palette and know that they will all blend happily together. Rather like those tumbled tiled roofs and walls you have seen on holiday, one terracotta will never clash with its neighbour.
Golds and sands
The palette that includes gold and sand also includes yellow and, at its furthest stretch, orange. All of these colours go together happily and although yellow can be a little stimulating, it goes with everything else and is one of the rare colours that blends happily with red, almost across the spectrum. Gold can be literally that, by using materials that throw back the light, a rug can look just like Jason’s Golden Fleece – a great fun accessory for any fan of Greek mythology. Sands can be very pale indeed, almost verging on cream and if you are fresh from an exotic holiday, you can recreate at least some of that great relaxed feeling by having a pale sand rug and some sky-blue cushions as an accent.
Textures bring out the best
Using textures, either as cut pile or shaggy finishes, bring out the best in golds and sands. They also work very well as the basis of traditional designs, being very popular with their designers through the generations. Traditional rug designs tell a story or have special significance and the colours of the earth and sky are very important therefore. Gold can signify wealth or the sunshine, sand quite literally the desert in which many of the designs came to life. Using deep yellow gold or pale cream sand in a study or workroom is a good way of keeping productivity up without making the environment too jarring.
Grey is often considered a ‘cold’ colour, mainly because the word reminds most people of nasty weather. If you call grey ‘silver’ though, all that changes. This conjures up a picture of the precious metal of course, but also of crisp winter mornings with spiders’ webs powdered with frost, sparkling air and bright blue skies. So, in that respect yes, grey is a ‘cold’ colour, but not in a bad way! If you have a room which is otherwise bright with warm flames, oranges and chocolates, a splash of silvery grey will bring it down a touch and add a great backdrop to all that drama.
Greys across the shade range
Making a list of grey things brings up a whole spectrum of shades. Elephants, for example, whilst predominantly grey are very much at the brown end of the colour. Theirs is a warm and complex shade and after all, who doesn’t love elephants! Battleship grey sounds rather forbidding but the shade does go very well with all blues and most greens, perhaps because it was actually created in the first place to go with the sea and the sky. And at the lighter end, silver grey, blending to almost white, will bring a fresh, crisp sparkle to any room. Patterned rugs using grey as the design element are very subtle and lend themselves well to sgraffito-type designs.
Purples and pinks
Purples and pinks go together so well that they are almost always found together, although they can also stand alone. Add some hot orange and you are immediately back in the sixties and seventies, when the crazy patterns of Sergeant Pepper ruled. Purple goes across the board from dark plum right through to the garish, chemical magenta. Also in the palette are the paler shades cut with white such as mauve, lilac and lavender. When it comes to pink, there is also a wide choice, from pastel rose blush right through to bright fuchsia. At either end of the spectrum and indeed right through, both colours blend and contrast with each other perfectly, with no clash.
If you ask anyone what will give a room girl appeal the answer will be ‘pink’! It doesn’t have to be the sugar pink of Hello Kitty, though; the dusky pinks look great in any setting and mixed with some shell elements and perhaps a touch of lavender, it looks very sophisticated. Because it is hard to clash pinks it also gives a lot of leeway when it comes to following up with more furniture and accessories. If you have pink rugs and other elements in a room, you don’t need to carry a shade card with you when you go shopping for more, because any other shades of pink or purple will fit right in. This makes it a perfect choice if your taste tends to the eclectic because old or new, it won’t matter a bit.