Choosing the right rug for the room

By Melissa Rayworth

Associated Press

A warm, cozy rug can make a room look and feel more appealing on even the chilliest fall night. And the right rug can be a source of comfort year-round.

“They’re also great in the summer, if you think about it, because your shoes are off, you’re in your shorts, the house is air conditioned,” says designer Michelle Gerson, founder of Michelle Gerson Interiors , based in New York. “You love to put your toes in a big cozy rug.”

How do you choose the perfect rug for your space?

The latest options include everything from century-old Moroccan rugs to trendy, open-weave “sweater rugs” available at the click of a button.

Here, three interior designers — Gerson; Texas-based Ashley Moore ; and Lauren Buxbaum Gordon, design director of Nate Berkus Associates — offer advice on choosing rugs and using them strategically to add color, texture and warmth to a room.

Gordon and Moore both advise clients to consider rugs as beautiful, neutral backdrops for the rest of a room.

“Instead of being bold on pattern and color,” Gordon says, she prefers to get creative with the look and texture of the material. She might choose a flat-weave jute rug in a neutral color, or “mohair, woven-knit rugs that look like sweaters,” depending on the room and the client. Really lush materials like alpaca can make a dramatic statement without bold color or pattern.

Moore’s approach is similar: “I tend to have it as a neutral palette, because it tends to be one of the most expensive pieces in the house,” she says. If a client is seeking pops of bold color or pattern, she brings that in through items like pillows and accessories that can easily be changed if the homeowner wants something new.

“It’s easier to change a pillow,” Moore says, “than it is to change a 12-by-14 rug.”

If you’re craving a bit of color in the rug, flat-woven kilims that are mainly neutral but have some color can be a good compromise, especially if they are vintage and the hues have softly faded.

Layering rugs can give you both looks in one: a larger, neutral base with something striking, like a thin Moroccan rug with a colorful, intricate pattern, laid on top.