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Spaces & Design: Good Groundwork

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Start with the rug when designing your space.

spacesapril2014The right rug does much more than offer a soft surface for feet. From the bedroom to the living room, rugs can tie together the home, add visual interest and even help create distinct spaces within a room.

To ensure you’re purchasing a high-quality, authentic rug that won’t bleed, fade or fall apart, it’s worth hiring someone who knows rugs inside and out. Sharon Schenk, owner of NOLA Rugs on Magazine Street, has spent her career becoming a rug expert. She’s studied under noted rug scholars in London and San Francisco, and traveled to four continents to personally source beautiful, traditionally handmade rugs from Nepal, Afghanistan, Morocco, Turkey and other countries.

When evaluating a rug, Schenck considers dye quality, construction and condition (among other concerns). “For most people, there’s way too much that you have to learn to be able to figure it out yourself,” she says. To ensure that she’s in touch with every step of the rug-making process, Schenck travels overseas an average of three times per year.

Placement and design are also pivotal parts of choosing the right rug; to that end, Schenck works with designers to select, source or custom-weave rugs that suit their designated spaces.

Pick and Place the Perfect Rug
First things first. Because it’s easier to match other décor to a rug, focus on finding the right rug before designing the rest of a room. “With a rug, you’re dealing with particular colors and particular fabrics, so you have a lot less choice,” Schenck says. Choose your rug first, and then match paint colors, furniture and accent items to it.

Invest in quality. Price is one area where novice rug-buyers might be tempted to skimp — but it’s not worth the money you think you’re saving. “The most common mistake is to buy a rug at a rug auction,” Schenck says. “Rug auctions are known to be where you get rid of your problem rugs.” These auctions are where you’ll find rugs that are not made of the materials they claim. In addition, you’ll lose out on the opportunity to try the rug out and see if it fits your space.

A high-quality rug can be deep cleaned; even with cleaning, its colors will last much longer than those of low-quality rugs. “You want something that can be cleaned well, that’s got good dyes,” Schenck explains. “A good rug can be totally wet-washed, whereas with cheap rugs, you spill water on them and the colors run.”

Take a test run. Like most high-quality rug dealers, NOLA Rugs allows customers to try rugs out in their houses. That way, you can be sure that the bold pattern that looked so natural in the rug store won’t overpower your living room, and that the room allows adequate space between the rug’s edges and the wall.

Keep It Edgy
There are a variety of spacing and placement options to make sure that your new rug augments your space, including laying rugs at an angle to furniture or positioning them in a way that makes the room feel larger. Most designers recommend placing rugs a minimum of 6 inches and no more than 2 feet from the wall. This rule of thumb helps firmly anchor a rug in its space.