Find flexibility, value in area rugs



Sally Carson, interior decorator, calls area rugs
“art you can walk on.”

For years, wall to wall carpeting was the floor covering of choice in homes across the country. These days, people want to show off their handsome hardwood floors and cover only select spaces. You can do that beautifully with area rugs, according to Milwaukee-based interior designer Sally Carson.

“Area rugs are like art you can walk on. And there are a million possibilities, all depending on your needs and your budget,” she said.

Area rugs can be plain or fancy, with a single color or a kaleidoscope of
colors. They can even be made to match a piece of artwork, Carson said. “This works best with a piece of contemporary art that uses geometric patterns and shapes. We can copy the pattern onto a rug. I’ve done this many times for my clients,” she added. These are known as carved rugs.”

Perhaps the most commonly recognized type of area rug is an Oriental. Oriental rugs are available in a wide variety of styles, colors and price ranges. “There are so many different qualities of rugs. It is a vast market, depending on how much money you want to spend,” said Bob Kashou of Kashou Carpets in Milwaukee. “Using area rugs over hardwood flooring is more popular today than it has ever been,” he said, noting that the term “Oriental” can mean a rug that originates in a number of countries including China, Persia, Turkey, Pakistan and others. “Very generally speaking, there are two large categories—floral and geometric design,” Kashou said.

Despite what you might think, Orientals can work in any décor, according to Kashou. For example, florals work well with Victorian, traditional or 18th Century furnishings, while geometric patterns are well suited to informal and contemporary settings. “Geometrics can be dressed up or down. They are quite flexible,” he explained.

If you are planning to purchase a rug, especially an Oriental, it makes sense to consult an expert. “If you are going to spend a considerable amount, you might want to take an appraiser. And, an interior designer can help you recognize a good value. It’s difficult to do it on your own,” Carson said.

Much also depends on where you plan to use the rug. “Choose something that will suit your family’s needs. If you have a 2-year-old child, it doesn’t make sense to buy a $15,000 rug to put under the dining room table,” she said.

Kashou agrees. “If it is strictly a look that you are after, not an investment, there are numerous manufacturers producing machine made or power loomed rugs that are wonderful. If you want to buy something that will maintain or increase its value over the years, the only rugs that will hold their value are handmade rugs,” he said.

Good area rugs, whether Oriental or not, require attention. They need regular light vacuuming and professional cleaning on a regular basis, Kashou said.

“Don’t try to shampoo it yourself. If a rug is not cleaned properly, colors can fade or bleed,” he said. “A good Oriental rug properly taken care can last 100 years.”