The Right Rug For The Right Room

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I have gone my entire adult life with one lone rug. I know Henry David Thoreau was referring to doormats when he said:

“A lady once offered me a mat, but as I had no room to spare within the house, nor time to spare within or without to shake it, I declined it, preferring to wipe my feet on the sod before my door. It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil.”

But somehow, I always think of this quote when debating on a rug purchase. Instead I have lived a happy home life with wood (OK, laminate wood) flooring, almost completely rugless. Somehow now that I have upgraded from my “starter house” to my new fancy, dare I say it, “forever home” -- I suddenly feel like I need rugs. Lots of rugs.

Shopping for rugs is tricky business. First of all, apparently you can’t just think a rug is pretty and go with it. There are all kinds of rug rules I didn’t know about. You can’t put rugs on carpet. Rugs under dining room tables have to be a certain size so that your chair does not get tangled in the fringe trimming along the edges. Outdoor rugs have UV protection. You need rug pads or else your rug acts more like a Slip n' Slide on hard flooring. Who knew there were so many nuances about rugs? In typical Jennifer Perkins fashion, I decided rules were not for me and I started going with my gut instead.

My obsession with rugs started with this Kilim beauty from Tuesday Morning. Our eyes met across the discount store, and I knew I had to make her mine. It took a bit of maneuvering and a few weeks to work up the nerve to drop the money on my first big-girl rug; it even sold once--thank the decorating gods it was returned. I was told to wait on this purchase by wiser designers than I, but I know a badass rug when I see one. The dining room at the new digs is a work in progress, but this bad boy fits perfectly. All other decorating in this room will revolve around this rug.

Across the hall from my dining room is my new “formal sitting room.” (Geez, when did I get so old that I have formal sitting rooms and couches that I scream at my children for even looking at when they have a popsicle in their hands?) Anywhoo, this is the new home of my zebra-skin rug. Actually, it is cowhide dyed to look like zebra, which makes me feel a little less guilty in a PETA sort of way. Either way, I love this rug. It is the one rug I had at the other house. It is really easy to keep clean, and looks good no matter what kind of decorating mood I am in. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I need to remove the carpet in this room. Give me a break; I have only been in this house four days.

The third rug in my world currently is this colorful little gem from Home Goods. I have tried it in several rooms thus far, and have yet to find it a forever home. All I know is that it is going somewhere all the world can see. It even makes my ugly black leather couches look better-- even if just a little.

So now, let’s talk about the rugs I don’t have yet. The rugs I am coveting. The rugs I am laying in bed nights thinking about how to make mine.

First up, I need an outdoor rug. I have searched high and low with no luck. Sure I have seen plenty that would work, but I’m dreaming of something ah-may-zing! I saw the perfect indoor/outdoor rug on Joss and Main this week, but during the hubbub of moving, the sale ended--and now I can’t locate my dream rug anywhere. Girl desperately seeking hot pink zebra skin rug for patio. My new house has a pool, so I have a feeling a good portion of the rest of my life will be spent supervising kids outside--I need this space to be an oasis. I envision it being equally as fabulous as the interior of the house. This means a perfect rug.

Speaking of indoor/outdoor rugs, I am thinking that might be the way to go for my “middle room.” I’m not sure what to call this room; it’s just kinda in the middle. Currently there are marble floors, which don’t bother me that much, especially since this room is the main thoroughfare to and from the pool. Wet feet and wood floors or carpet don’t mix well. There is a green stripe around the perimeter that I could do without, but again, that is nothing a good rug can’t hide. Since this room is going to see a fair amount of wet feet, I’m thinking an indoor/outdoor rug is the way to go. If you thought these rugs only came in shades of tan, you were wrong: I’m kinda in love with this funky ethnic model from Overstock. Now will it match my wood burl coffee table and the Jonathan Adler sofa I am dreaming of?

Did I mention rugs are expensive? That part kinda sucks. Spending a ton of money on something that kids will spill drinks on, my 150-pound dog will sleep on, and dirty feet will walk on kinda sucks. Maybe I’ll make a rug. I don’t mean weave it; I mean following the lead of this clever Sweet Verbena and make my own.

So do you have any pearls of rug wisdom to share? I'm new to the rug game--I need advice.

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