November 14, 2012

The Art of The Carpet

‘If people can’t afford a work of art the carpet can become an artistic piece . . . a room’s personality can change with the switch of a new rug.’


As winter advances and temperatures drop, our focus turns inward, to comfortable and cosy living spaces. What better way to salute the season than by looking to carpets to define and enhance living, dining, bedrooms and family rooms.

Whether pile or flat weave, oriental, Persian, kilim or Aubusson, jute, wool, silk or nylon, woven, knotted or tufted, area carpets pull the room together, creating a focal point, bringing spots of colour and grouping seating in a natural, fluid way. Designers advise matching the colours in your furniture to the colours in your carpet for an integrated look.

With the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness upon us, it’s time to set aside the airy, light-coloured jute rugs and weaves and replace them with deeper, softer and more luxurious carpets for a more homey atmosphere. The lightweight summer sisal rug can serve as the base for a richer-toned rug placed over it on a diagonal.

“People are paying more attention to carpets, something that is almost a necessity to a room,” says Geèle Soroka, of Sublime Interior Design in Vancouver. “If they can’t afford a work of art the carpet can become an artistic piece. And it’s surprising how much a room’s personality can change with just the switch of a new rug.”

Martha Stewart has long been a collector of area rugs, likening them to a fine piece of art. Her latest collection, in conjunction with Safavieh Rugs, shows dozens of designs drawn from diverse traditions, predominantly focused on nature: representing riverbanks, blue and red poppies, grassland, woodland greens, honeycombs, acorns and thistles, to name but a few.

To celebrate the fall and winter season some designers add accent rugs in autumnal colours or crimson or evergreen, some featuring angels, bells, bows and Santa Claus himself.

“There’s definitely a seasonal component to carpet design,” says Lindsay Guenter, of Kelly Deck Design in Vancouver. “For summer you might select very reasonable seagrass woven carpets and for winter something like dark damasks and beautiful Persians.” The designer says she switches out white or soft pastel throws and sofa cushions in favour of more moody winter colours such as blues and purples to dramatically change the space. “One of my clients changes creamy, ivory and soft blue pinstripes to darker solids for winter.”

Ravi Sidhoo, co-owner of Vancouver’s East India Carpets, says some European clients regularly switch area rugs to mark the seasons, rolling up their lighter flat weaves when summer’s over to replace them with the warmer, richer winter colours found in oriental and Persian rugs. One of his carpets – Sumac, from Peru – offers reversible designs, striped on one side with a wave pattern on the other. Same colour, but with a different look. He says popular contemporary colours these days are still oranges and greys as well as blues and greys with a pop of bright yellow.

This year an intriguing newcomer, a round, wool felt rug called the Season Carpet, by Norwegian designer Siren Elise Wilhemsen, responds to temperature shifts. Each has three heat-sensitive pigments, which change colours at different temperatures. For example, red turns to yellow at 81 F, blue turns to green at 64 F, blue becomes mint at 59 F. Its prototype was unveiled during the Milan Design Week.

Sublime Interior Design’s Soroka keeps a close eye on trends in carpet design. Fall colours for 2012, she says, focus on rich, natural tones such as browns, reds, deep blues and deep greys. “This year there’s lots of tone on tone, mixing beige and grey, rust and grey, blue and grey. They’re still keeping with complementary colours: orange and blue and more muted tones. Especially luxurious are the mixes of wool and silk, which are highly reflective and feel great on your feet. The depths of colours are so vibrant you want to touch them.

“I also love the great wallpaper and damask-style carpets. The wallpaper designs take a print, then blow it up and imprint it on the material. There’s also the graffiti style, which is really bold and edgy, or Frank Lloyd Wright, Missoni or Calvin Klein’s nice grey classic designs.”

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