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the great rug debate

Beware, interior design questions ahead!

I finally got rid of my old, secondhand, incredibly bulky TV and media cabinet that blocked two windows and seemed to own about a third of the living room. I got a flatscreen and put it above a new cabinet I found:


It created a lot more space in the living room, but now I found the rug was a little small for all that extra space. So I decided to do some rug testing -- I ordered two, figuring I'd try them both and send one back. I put both rugs down today and took pictures. The people with me tended to a certain preference, so just in case the order of viewing is significant, I'll show you them in the opposite sequence.

The first is a traditional red, gold, and green rug. If you go to this link and click "Next" three times, it'll show you the rug from different angles and distances:


The next is an arts-and-crafts rug. Again, if you go to this link and click "Next," it'll show different angles:


And finally, here are both together:


Now that you've looked without being influenced by my ideas, I'll say that I've always loved the idea of a red-and-gold traditional rug; they seem rich and luxurious to me. My present, slightly-too-small rug is rust-and-gold, and I love to watch the firelight flicker over it on a winter night.

Then one day, a couple of years ago, I glanced idly at a picture of a Brooklyn arts-and-crafts house for sale, and in the living room I saw this incredible rug. I thought, "I must find that rug!" And after much tooling around the Internet, I did. I still think it's an incredible rug. The two movers I asked to help me with this both loved it. One said, "As soon as we started unwrapping it, I knew it was special." They put it down and we all admired it and thought it went well with the room. And as soon as the red one went down, everyone said, "No." But after we'd looked at the red one awhile, and gotten used to it, and then looked back at the pictures of the arts-and-crafts rug, that didn't seem entirely right either. One fellow said, "The arts-and-crafts one does make the room look darker... there's an awful lot of burgundy."

I haven't done a poll in ages and have no memory of how one does it, so we'll hope this works:

Poll #1815035 The Great Rug Poll

Which rug works better in this room?

Red and gold traditional
Arts and crafts
Both good, apples and oranges
I cannot be confined to multiple choice questions.

In case my poll skills are nonexistent, please feel free to tell me your thoughts in Comments. While you're there, can you tell me what these flowers are:


or perhaps what these mystery vegetables are:


Thank you, wisdom of the Internet!


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 30th, 2012 03:32 am (UTC)
I am utterly useless, as I think both work, but each one changes the room in a different way. I don't LIKE the A&C one as much (odd, for me/my usual preferences) but I love the feel it gives to the room which suits my memory of the house entire. However, the more traditional one is a nice note of contrast, and plays well against the walls.

Go not to the meerkats for council, for they will tell you both yes and no, and suggest a Navajo weave, instead... :-)
Jan. 30th, 2012 03:38 am (UTC)
Your taste in art is so very different from my own that my opinion is useless, but fwiw, I prefer the green and burgundy accents which more closely match the fireplace and chair.
Jan. 30th, 2012 03:41 am (UTC)
The "chestnuts" look like turmeric, or some other rhizome. I've only ever seen whole turmerics in an Indian grocery, and never netted together in a bunch but sold by the lb.

I recognize the blossoms but don't know their name. (They're a common addition to bouquets, I think.) They're not alstroelmeria or phlox, my two first guesses, but they might be some kind of snapdragon. If you have any close-ups of the blossoms, that will help. I blew up the picture as big as it would go on Flickr and still can't see all the details.
Feb. 5th, 2012 01:28 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, I threw out the flowers before I could get a close-up shot. They went bad surprisingly quickly. They did seem rather snapdragon-like, if Google images is anything to go by.
Jan. 30th, 2012 03:56 am (UTC)
I think the vegetables are probably Jerusalem artichokes, or, as they are sometimes called, sunchokes. I remember them as being much less interesting to eat than their shape would have suggested, but I may well be misremembering that. Or I might have hoped they would taste like chestnuts and been disappointed; it was a while ago that I tried them last. They're not turmeric, which looks more like miniature and more vividly-colored ginger root -- or, I don't think they are from this picture.

I voted for the red and gold traditional rug because while the colors of the arts and crafts rug are perfect for the room, paradoxically I find that the boldness of its graphics make it look too busy for the rest of the room. You'd think it would be the other way round, given the intricacy of the traditional rug, but its very intricacy makes it quieter; the figures are smaller and it all recedes and blends better. To my eye, at least; but of course it's your eye that matters here.

It's amazing what a difference getting rid of the giant monolithic object in the corner makes. To think it was once state of the art! A few short years later, and it looms like the big black rock at the beginning of 2001, A Space Odyssey in my mind: prehistoric and incomprehensibly huge, and certainly nothing one would want to see inside a house.
Jan. 30th, 2012 04:51 am (UTC)
Agree entirely with the above, regarding the rugs (about the vegetables, I dare not speculate).
Jan. 30th, 2012 05:07 am (UTC)
The flowers look like they could be snapdragons, but it's hard to tell for sure, even at the highest resolution.

I prefer the traditional rug. I think it ties the other elements of your room together and is a lovely pattern and color, but I also just like traditional oriental style rugs, so.

Jan. 30th, 2012 05:42 am (UTC)
The red and gold does not match the decor of the room at all, in my opinion, which for me is a thing. To my eye, it clashes. The arts and crafts is closer in style to what you have in the room, and the colors work well.
Jan. 30th, 2012 06:01 am (UTC)
I love the idea of the A&C rug, but in the photos, it seems to make the room so much colder. The red&gold rug brings a richness and a warmth that I much prefer. I also like the way it seems to tie in with the red doors in the hall, so even though it doesn't match the room itself so much, it still, to me, fits right in.
Jan. 30th, 2012 06:59 am (UTC)
I voted a&c rug partly because it goes so nicely with the fireplace, and partly because it seems to fit the room better; it's a beautiful object that demands attention as a beautiful object, while fitting in with all the other objects in the room at the same time. Like the rest of the furniture you have there. Which isn't to say that the traditional rug is ugly, not at all, just that it blends better and becomes background, which doesn't seem quite right to me here. But I think it really depends on what you're after wrt mood and style. Also how you feel about green, because wow does the a&c rug pick up the green from the fireplace.
Feb. 5th, 2012 01:40 am (UTC)
My room is becoming much more green than I'd intended... but it does look good, so I'm thinking I should just embrace my inner Kermit.

How are you doing, by the way? I'm online so seldom these days, I feel as though I've lost touch with so many people.
Jan. 30th, 2012 07:51 am (UTC)
I surprised myself by having an instant warm feeling of love with the first rug (the red & gold), and an instant aversion bordering on revulsion to the A&C rug. Which shocked me not only because my interior design opinions tend to be neutral to mild, but also because I adore that shade of green & the A&C rug by itself is way more of my color scheme. By itself, I like the A&C rug but it really didn't work for me in that space for whatever reason.

Also, I adore your cabinet!
Feb. 5th, 2012 01:36 am (UTC)
Thanks! I adore that cabinet, too. I had something completely different in mind for that corner, but when I saw the cabinet I fell in love. Oddly, the woman who sold it had no idea where it came from, but it looks like the kind of thing I've seen labeled as "Tibetan." All I know is, I feel good when I look at it.
Jan. 30th, 2012 09:57 am (UTC)
I prefer the Arts & Crafts style rug, hands-down. Something about the colors and the lines just mesh with the style and light of the room in general. The traditional rug works, but I don't feel like it ties everything together in the same way. IDK, to me it's just more generic-looking somehow, and everything else in there is so individual and special that it just seems to me like the rug should be the same way.
Jan. 30th, 2012 03:36 pm (UTC)
I prefer the traditional rug. The arts and crafts rug calls too much attention to itself. (Also, the traditional rug makes the room look warmer, at least to me -- although that may have more to do with the fact that I live in northern New Hampshire and it's January than anything else.)
Feb. 5th, 2012 01:46 am (UTC)
Here in LA I spend more time cooling the house than warming -- but on the other hand, there's emotional warmth, in the sense you want your house to be welcoming. I'm going to split the difference -- I'm keeping the arts and crafts rug, and keeping my old traditional rug, and changing off. I guess I'm not a decision maker.
Jan. 30th, 2012 08:06 pm (UTC)
Rugs aren't really my forte, but I think those vegetables are sunchokes.
Jan. 30th, 2012 08:39 pm (UTC)
At first I liked the trad rug better, but then I realized that the A&C rug has that beautiful large green motif on either end, that the furniture unfortunately covers over. If the rug could be unencumbered in the room, I feel it would magnify the greens especially, and the various design elements of the furniture. But if so much of its uniqueness must be hidden (after all the room is only so big), then the trad rug, while busy, gives back the golden shades and does not interfere with the rest of the decor. Oh, to have such choices to make!
Jan. 31st, 2012 12:21 am (UTC)
I *love* the arts & crafts rug, and I think it goes with the room, but it does seem to make the room sort of all about the rug. The traditional rug seems to make the room more about the rest of the furnishings. Of course I'm paying attention to the rugs right now, so perhaps my perspective is off.
Jan. 31st, 2012 04:01 am (UTC)
I like the Arts & Crafts rug better. Perhaps oddly, it makes the room seem bigger to me, possibly because of the wider expanses of solid color compared to the red-and-gold rug. I also think the green in the A&C rug coordinates better with the fireplace mantel, and the shapes of the abstract flowers in the A&C rug pick up on the shapes of the furniture and drums I can see in the living room. (Oh, and the gold in the A&C rug matches better with the gold of the lamp, there.) Finally, I see some Arts & Crafts influences in the artwork hanging on the walls, so I think that rug goes better with the artwork. [/novel]
Jan. 31st, 2012 03:24 pm (UTC)
I like the A&C rug. It's GORGEOUS, and the colors make a beautiful harmony with both furniture and walls. Only caveat is that it seems to demand a slightly different arrangement of furniture. The way you have it doesn't do the rug (or the furniture) justice.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 5th, 2012 01:31 am (UTC)
It is gorgeous, and I found I could not bear to send it back. I thought, "You'll never find another rug like this." For the moment I've got it in the living room and I've put the ottoman I usually have there to the side of the room, so more of the rug is exposed. Thanks!
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )


bald harpist
Jane Bluestocking

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