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IN CONVERSATION WITH INTERIOR DESIGNER, KATHIA EMERY

Kathia, thanks so much for chatting with us today. We're always curious to know at what point in a design project do interior designers consider area rugs?

I learned a long time ago, before area rugs were as popular as they are now, to begin with the rug. Sometimes clients say they want a new rug, but often it is something that I recommend. For example, in the "before" photo below, the client told me she hated her furniture, but thought the rugs were O.K. 

 (Before)

 (Before)

I thought her old rugs were too small and the wrong colors, so I went to NW Rugs to look for something more suitable for the elegant space I was envisioning.  I found a stunning, hand-knotted Kirman in beautiful colors of melon, gold, and pale sage green, that was the perfect starting place for this  living room makeover. You can see from the "after" shot, below, how magnificent it looks. Center medallion rugs can be difficult to work with, but in this case we were trying to open up the furniture arrangement, and the rug was a perfect fit.

 (After)

So lovely, Kathia - a whole new feel. What do you think is the biggest misconception clients have about area rugs and how they are used in a room or open space?

The most common misconception people have is that a 3' x 5' rug will be just fine in front of the (insert name of large piece of furniture) in the (insert name of large room here), mainly because they carried it all the way back on the plane from their last trip. These little rugs never look good sitting in front of sofas! The most common rug mistake people make is choosing rugs that are too small for the space. Here's another view of the living room shown above, and you can see that the small, 5' x 8' rug sits in front of the sofa. A rug needs to fill the room, and be at least large enough to have part of the upholstery sitting on it.  A 3' x 5' rug may work in a small entry, but not in a large living room.

 

 (Before)

 

With the 9' x 12" Kirman, the living room feels grounded, because most of the furniture is on the rug. Most living rooms need at least a 9' x 12' sized rug, and dining rooms need rugs  that extend several feet beyond the backs of the dining chairs, so the chairs don't bump off the rug when guests push them back.

Makes all the difference when you get the right size for the space. Do you find clients are aware of the key role rugs play in a design scheme?

Yes, especially after I have done a scaled drawing of the furnishings plan, which includes the placement of the rug. I present the floor plan along with the fabrics, samples of finish materials, and photos of the furniture and the rug (or a sample if there is one small enough to carry). Often, I will do a sketch, and if need be, will color it in like the one below. 

You can't overstate the usefulness and power of an inspiration or mood board to get a sense of a client's vision. Now with smart phones, you can carry your "design board" around with you. Makes shopping so much easier.  When selecting rugs, what is your approach?  Do you start with size, color, style or price?

That is such an excellent question, because the process of interior design is a complex one.  I always keep in mind the client's budget, so if they can't afford a hand-knotted rug, I would start with something less expensive. Always keep size, color and style in mind as you look at rugs. I don't think one can separate those things, but if I find a rug that is the perfect color and style, but the wrong size, sometimes it is available in a different size, especially if it it mass produced.

Exactly. Even with hand-knotted one of a kind rugs, many times you can find a similar rug in the larger size that works perfectly well. The challenge isn't finding a rug that works, it's more often picking one from a few very good options.

The same clients whose living room is shown above asked me to redecorate their bedroom. They already owned several small rugs that were of good quality, but they didn't help to make this room beautiful or restful. I suggested replacing the three small rugs with a large, room-sized Oushak.  The colors in the rug helped determine the color palette, particularly the pale, spa-blue color in the rug, which is echoed in the upholstered headboard and the draperies.

(Before)

The "after" shows how the beautiful rug grounds the room and is the basis for the color palette.  The room goes from "drab" to "fab." The irony here is that I told the clients they needed a 9' x 12' rug, and after it was installed (and all the furniture was sitting on it), the client asked me if  "maybe, possibly, perchance . . .could we try a larger rug in the same color and style?" They loved the rug so much that they wanted to be able to see more of it, so we ended up with a 10' x 14' rug in this room, and you can see it is exactly right.  Thank you, NW Rugs, for going the extra mile to make the room perfect for my clients. 

 (After)

Such a big difference. Getting the right size is all important, for sure. You have used NW Rugs for years as a source for rugs. What do you look for when selecting vendors for your projects?

The first thing that impresses me in any showroom is how friendly and helpful the staff is.The staff I work with at NW Rugs goes above and beyond when it comes to being helpful. That's important when juggling all the details of a project. The second thing I look for is broad selection, and NW Rugs has that more than any other vendor in the Pacific Northwest. What, 20,000 area rugs in stock?

Yes, that's right. Thank you. And on our new website that just launched we added even more rugs. We have also included online, for the first time, many select hand knotted rugs from the showrooms. This way folks around the country can take advantage of our collections.

Thank you again, Kathia, for taking the time to chat with us today about how rugs work in the overall scheme of things when it comes to home decor and interior design. 

My pleasure. I'll see you soon.

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