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I’ve been looking for a simple and timeless rug for our living room since, well, I had to throw the old one out. The last one broke me. Really. I saved hard for the most beautiful woven jute rug that I used to have in my home workspace in Rochester but when we moved into ‘The Chatham House’ it ended up in the living room. No longer in the safe confines of my workspace, it was subjected to all sorts of spills (milk included) and other child-related detritus so that in the end, I had to give up and say goodbye. I couldn’t take picking bits of grape and pizza out of it any longer.
Finding a more family-friendly alternative hasn’t been an easy task but since our living room has needed pepping up for a while, I asked Habitat to help me find a solution. Because their selection of rugs is on-point. Always. With the living room currently boasting someone else’s decorative choices albeit on the neutral side, ultimately, this rug would have to shoulder the job of carrying the room through this in-between stage before we renovate it. Quite a heavy task for an accessory but as I can’t stand the amount of bright orange pine there is in here I knew a large scale rug would help defuse it a little.
Enter ‘Roderick’ (incidentally sharing the same name as my step-dad). He’s a smart, stylish Scandinavian. Just enough texture without trapping crumbs and dust, dark enough to hide any potential spills (we have a not-on-the-rug policy now though) and he’s a handwoven, wool design which feels soft underfoot. It’s quite a large piece at 170x240cm and the deep grey is a warm base against our light grey corner sofa, drawing your eye away from the orange pine floor. I think I love this room 100% more than I did without it.
Choosing the right rug for the right space can be a hefty investment so I always recommend to look for something neutral that will compliment any interior. Here are a few points to consider:
• Upscale your floor. Here’s the thing. Small rugs in small rooms make the room look smaller. Go for as big a rug as you can afford and see the difference it makes to the feel of the room. It will open it up. Promise.
• It’s all in the placement. The general rule of thumb in the living room is to have the front legs of your sofa and armchair(s) on and the back legs off the rug but that depends largely on the size and set-up you have. This guide from A Pair & A Spare is pretty brilliant. It also helps to mark out the size of the rug on the floor with masking tape first to give you a visual aid – I did this to check the ‘Roderick’ was large enough for our living room.
• Fabric and weave. Thicker piled rugs like the Berber style and anything with a highly textured weave will need more maintenance. This might include brushing it out to stop the strands and tassels from matting. In which case, these styles are better in low traffic areas. Flat woven, cotton rugs are better suited to heavy traffic areas as they’re generally easier clean.
• Shape. Remember to pick a style that fits with the shape of your room. I prefer rectangular rugs for ease of use (most of us have rooms this shape anyway) however a large, round rug can work well when the room is large enough – usually in a dining space with a round table. Referring to the placement guide (above) will give you an idea of how the right shape works.
• Stick to neutrals. A good quality rug, chosen well, will last. Find something in a muted colour palette that complements the room whether you have dark or light walls. Neutral doesn’t mean boring either – don’t be afraid to go for pattern, look for tone on tone designs or a raised, tufted weave against a flat base for interesting textures that draw the eye.
I’ve picked out 10 timeless rugs from the Habitat collection to suit any Scandi-style interior. There’s a good mix of highly textural Berber styles for a laid-back Bohemian look (hello Benson and Tallulah) and good solid earners like Hurley with a sturdy leather and jute weave. I do have a soft spot for Alexander though, love the gridded jute. Quite the statement. What’s catching your eye?