Camille Egreteaud knows how to use rugs to highlight her favourite an­tiques (tour her home from page 78) and has in­spired Mag­gie Steven­son to ex­plore how we can use tex­tiles un­der­foot to give our homes a touch of lux­ury

Homes and Antiques Magazine - - CONTENTS -

As we move into au­tumn, add warmth and tex­ture un­der­foot with beau­ti­ful rugs and car­pets


Given its sur­face area, the floor, and most im­por­tantly its cov­er­ing, is a ma­jor in­flu­ence on the room’s scheme, so choose it with as much care as you would the wall­pa­per, cur­tains or up­hol­stery fab­ric. The colours in the de­sign can be a rich source of in­spi­ra­tion, its over­all pal­ette set­ting the tone for the at­mos­phere or pe­riod you want to evoke. Al­ter­na­tively, pick out in­di­vid­ual hues from the pat­tern and re­peat them in ac­ces­sories to cre­ate points of in­ter­est in a room fur­nished in neu­tral shades.


In a large, open-plan liv­ing room, rugs can help to map the lay­out by pro­vid­ing a fo­cus for each zone and a vis­ual an­chor for the fur­ni­ture. In the din­ing area, choose a rug that’s large enough to hold the ta­ble and chairs, even when peo­ple get up to leave. If the floor be­neath is stone or wood, this will pro­tect it from scratch­ing and muf­fle sound. A rug is the nat­u­ral cen­tre­piece for a seat­ing group, adding colour and po­ten­tially pat­tern and tex­ture, too. The fur­ni­ture should be placed fully or par­tially on the rug to cre­ate a com­fort­able zone for re­lax­ing.


When laid on the floor, rugs are usu­ally par­tially hid­den by fur­ni­ture, but hang them on the wall and their de­sign can be seen in its en­tirety. There are var­i­ous ways to hang rugs but, to avoid dam­age, Sara Ta­tum, Di­rec­tor at The Rug & Car­pet Stu­dio, ex­pert deal­ers and re­stor­ers, rec­om­mends stitch­ing a tube of linen fab­ric to the back of the rug and slot­ting a slim rod through it, then hang­ing the rod from hooks on the wall. ‘It is im­por­tant to sup­port the rug evenly. At­tach the tube across the width of the rug, close to one fringed edge, so the stronger warp threads take the weight, and the ‘stroke’ of the pile lies down­wards.’


A rug is the ideal can­vas for works of art and some mak­ers have col­lab­o­rated with well-known names in the cre­ative world to pro­duce new and ex­cit­ing de­signs for the floor. The artists’ ‘day jobs’ vary from paint­ing to fashion, fur­ni­ture, in­te­ri­ors and other fields of de­sign, but un­ham­pered by the usual con­ven­tions, they bring a fresh eye to the busi­ness of pro­duc­ing rugs and the re­sults are of­ten full of colour and orig­i­nal­ity.


Choos­ing car­pet in a bold colour is a brave move, but one that can pay off by giv­ing a room a strong iden­tity. Use it as part of a well-con­sid­ered de­sign, build­ing your room scheme around it and en­sur­ing that the floor­cov­er­ings in neigh­bour­ing spa­ces are com­pat­i­ble.


Made in North Africa for around one thou­sand years, tra­di­tional Ber­ber rugs, with their graphic pat­terns and shaggy pile, have be­come fashion items. Au­then­tic Moroc­can rugs might carry a four­fig­ure price tag, but more af­ford­able ver­sions are avail­able on the high street.


Not just the ideal part­ner for retro fur­ni­ture, pat­terned car­pet has prac­ti­cal ad­van­tages, too. It hides fluff and bits that would be all too vis­i­ble on plain floors and is slow to show wear, mak­ing it a good op­tion for hall­ways, stairs and other well-used spa­ces.


Ori­en­tal car­pets have had a place in our homes for gen­er­a­tions, and cosy, hard-wear­ing broad­loom car­pets con­tinue that tra­di­tion. Cur­rently, there’s less de­mand for highly pat­terned car­pets, but de­signs that em­ploy in­di­vid­ual mo­tifs spaced more widely pro­vide a com­ple­men­tary back­ground for vin­tage fur­ni­ture, while giv­ing the room a more re­laxed, less busy feel. De­signs that have a slightly un­even colour repli­cate the dis­tressed look of veg­etable-dyed antique car­pets, and those in earthy tones of ochre, ter­ra­cotta and red cre­ate a lux­u­ri­ous feel­ing of warmth.


An undyed wool car­pet is a good start­ing point for any so­phis­ti­cated room scheme. Made from nat­u­ral wool, it comes in a range of neu­tral tones de­pend­ing on the breed of sheep that supplied the fleece and can vary from white to grey, bis­cuit and brown. Undyed wool re­quires fewer chem­i­cals in man­u­fac­ture but the re­sult need not have a rus­tic feel, un­less that is the style you want to cre­ate. Ex­am­ples with neat wo­ven pat­terns, two-tone geo­met­ric de­signs and con­trast­ing tex­tures pro­vided by rayon silk – a plant­based fi­bre – mean you can com­bine nat­u­ral val­ues with a lux­ury look.


If the rug you have your heart set on is too small for the space, why not try com­bin­ing it with others to fill the area you want to cover? The re­sult will be a rich and sat­is­fy­ing patch­work of de­sign with a soft, sump­tu­ous feel un­der­foot. Ap­ply the same rules that you would when, say, mix­ing cush­ions on a sofa. Go for vari­a­tions of re­lated pat­terns in a range of colours for an ex­otic, boho ef­fect or, if your style is more re­strained, opt for just one or two dif­fer­ent pat­terns, adding striped and plain rugs in ton­ing colours to give the ar­range­ment a calm and airy look. Lay the rugs us­ing anti-creep un­der­lay to help them stay flat.

Tapis d’Avi­gnon rug, 175cm by 245cm, £1,192.80, Roger Oates.

Konya wool ke­lim, from 150cm by 240cm, £465, Oka.

Tipi hand­wo­ven wool rug, from 140cm by 200cm, £259, Kas­bah col­lec­tion by Brink & Camp­man at The Rug Seller.

Khali Fire 80 per cent wool, 20 per cent ny­lon broad­loom car­pet, from £89.99 per sq m, Re­nais­sance Clas­sics by Brin­tons.

Bare­foot Wool Ash­tanga Silk Hero car­pet, 70 per cent undyed wool, 30 per cent rayon silk, £94.10 per sq m, Al­ter­na­tive Floor­ing.

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