Area Rug Design Guide

Area rugs continue to be a must-have item in any well-dressed room. Not sure which style to choose? Below are four of the most popular types; discover the right one for your space.

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luxurious modern city dining Designer Shelly Riehl David opts for a traditional Oriental rug in this sleek, urban dining room.

Dhurrie: The least expensive decorative area rug is the dhurrie. This is a thick, flat-woven cotton rug made in India. It comes in a variety of color combinations, pastels being the most popular. The designs on the rug are geometric with animals, flowers and people woven in a chiseled-looking fashion. Dhurries are quite charming and fit in well with most any decor.

Bordered: Next is the bordered rug. This is simply a rug of any size or shape that starts with a base color used in the middle, then strips of border are added to the edges. The borders can be one strip in a coordinating color or they can be several strips in two or three colors. Uses of these are innumerable — for example, under a cocktail table, under a dining table, as a foyer piece or under an entire living room set.

Inlaid: Then there's the inlaid rug. Here is where your imagination can take over. Anything your mind can conjure up, a good carpet designer can manifest. Just doodle on a piece of paper until you come up with an idea of what you want. A rug designer can take it from there. Classic shapes to try are geometrics, florals, birds, stars, stripes, fans or your monogram or initials.

Oriental: An authentic Oriental rug is and always has been a symbol of wealth, and rightfully so, as they are quite expensive. To those who can afford them, they are a great investment since their value never decreases and often increases. The purchase of an Oriental rug should be preceded by careful study of the varieties available. Also, the area of the world from which they come has a bearing on the value.

The Persian Gulf produces many of the most popular Orientals. Most are made by hand, though some of the more recent examples are machine-made. Hand-woven rugs are more valuable, particularly if the knots are small. All the traditional decorations are meaningful — symbols for good health, wealth, prosperity, peace, etc.

Silk Orientals are often woven with real gold threads, adding to the value. Wool Orientals are less expensive, though still a good investment.

With the proper underlayment, all area rugs can be applied over any other floor covering, including tile, marble, wood or even other carpet. If you are building or remodeling, a popular option is to inset the rug in the tile, marble or wood so you have a flush floor throughout with no fear of tripping over an area rug.

If an area rug is on your wish list, don't be afraid to spend a little extra to get exactly what you want. Rugs are a wise investment, as they will give years of service and pleasure.

(Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, is president of Rosemary Sadez Friedmann Inc. in Naples, Fla.)

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