Contemporary or Traditional: What's Your Rug Style?

When establishing a design for a room or a home, most interior designers will begin with discovering the style that you prefer. And because a rug is a key focal point for any room, choosing a rug can be as much of a starting point as selecting other large furnishings.

You don't need to hire a designer to learn more about your style leanings. Style usually falls into one of two main categories: contemporary and traditional. When you are choosing a rug as a main décor piece, you will likely be in one camp or the other. Here's how to determine your rug style:

1. Look at a Lot of Rugs:

The first step to developing and determining your style is to expose yourself to as many options as possible. Browse the galleries of a reputable rug showroom, looking at both contemporary and traditional styles. Don't assume that you have leanings toward one style or another—go into the exercise with an open mind. You may be surprised by what you find out about your personal style. After looking at a few rugs, you want to look at the bigger picture of what attracts you to contemporary or traditional style, from furnishings to windows and walls.

2. Examine the Earmarks of Contemporary and Traditional Style:

Do you prefer open rooms with minimal clutter? (Contemporary.) Or are you into warm, elegant, ornate spaces? (Traditional.) Are you a fan of light, neutral colors with an occasional vibrant hue for an accent? (Contemporary.) Or do you prefer more earthy neutrals, with Wedgewood blue, olive, and a splash of crimson? (Traditional.) In contemporary rooms, floors are bare with simple accent rugs or wall-to-wall coverings, while floors in traditional homes are generally covered with Persian and Oriental rugs. What's your preference?

3. What Sort of Furnishings Do You Prefer?

If you like light woods, natural textures (silk, linen, cotton, wool), metal frames, glass tabletops, minimalistic lines in furnishings, and a sparing use of bright accents, you are definitely in the contemporary style camp. If you lean toward Old World, European, or Early American furnishings, with carved moldings, antique designs, and graceful lines, you are more traditional. Traditional furnishing styles include Chippendale, Queen Anne, and Sheraton wood pieces upholstered in rich solid, stripe, and floral patterns.

4. What's Your Wall?

If you lean toward contemporary walls, you are attracted to light, neutrally toned walls, with an occasional bright accent wall. Tone-on-tone wallpaper would be about as wild as you get with this minimalist style. Traditional walls tend toward the cream and ivory spectrum, but bold color has its place for added drama in a room.

5. A Window on Your Style:

A contemporary window treatment is no treatment at all, with the windows bare, perhaps only a shade for privacy in a solid, neutral color. Traditional window treatments feature classic, ornate prints, with heavy lined drapes and classic tie-backs.

6. Maybe You are Somewhere In Between:

As you look closely at your specific style preferences, you may find that you lean toward contemporary styles in some cases and traditional in others. If what you really prefer is a chic mix of both, you have an eclectic style. In this case, it's completely fine to intermingle your style values, but know your preference when it comes to choosing a rug. Because the rug is such a key artistic statement for a room, you will want to let it influence the balance of your mix.

Choosing a contemporary or traditional rug is not just a matter of picking what you like. It's about discovering your style and making the theme thread its way through your choice of walls, window treatments, furnishings, accents, as well as your flooring styles. For a complete selection of the highest quality contemporary and traditional rugs and carpets, please visit The Rug Warehouse web site or the Los Angeles showroom by calling 310-838-0450.