New LR Rug Progess

I've been rug shopping for about a year now, trying to find a pretty persian for our loft living room. The striped rug suffered from a red juice incident and has never quite been the same. It is a lovely rug, but I've pretty much decided across the board that I prefer that graphic patterned rugs with any white in the pattern go in a bedroom or an office. Any time I choose a jute or a persian rug for a living room project, it just works better and looks better for longer. Function trumps form for me, but only by a little bit. :)



I am SO picky about rugs now. They are the hardest design decision for a room I think. Just like clothes, fit is everything, so often you should be buying a rug for a specific room's needs. And since rugs should be so big, the color can really change the feel of a room. And because of lighting, you almost always have to try a rug out before buying, which is a nightmare. And rugs are so gosh darn expensive. And if they're not expensive, you can tell. Tricky! (going rugless seems better and better by the day!)



I've decided to go with a jute rug in our brownstone's extra long living room. I love the texture of natural fiber rugs and I think the jute will hold up well against the residual dirt I'm sure will get tracked in from the garden (although I do know there are cleaning challenges that come with natural fiber rugs).

I used Merida's Bora Bora jute rug in Volcano for a client project recently and it is just natural fiber rug perfection. It's as cushy and soft as wool. The color is a lovely driftwood gray, not yellow like most jutes (so over yellow rugs for a while!), and it comes with a braided edging option.



The IKEA Tarnby and West Elm jutes are great rugs, but they are not nearly as soft as the Merida and I don't like that they are borderless. It feels a little unfinished and the edges have rolled up for me even with rug tape. The closest second place to the Merida rug I've seen is this Pottery Barn rug. But again, it's not as soft and the color is very light and yellow.


We need a long, narrow rug for the brownstone, and the quote back from Merida was out of our budget (almost $4000 for the custom size. Ouch!). Then over Memorial Day I did a little shopping in the ABC clearance basement, and what did I spy over in the jute corner? A handful of driftwood gray braided jute rugs.


Turns out these are not Merida, but a company called Fibre Works. Look how similar the color and weave is though!


Full price, their rugs are not all that much cheaper than the Merida jutes. But they just happened to have some in the clearance basement. So while they weren't IKEA-cheap, they ended up being more like PotteryBarn-cheap with the sale and my designer discount. 


I ended up buying two 8x11s that I'll use to make a big 11x16 rug. I'm thinking about blind-stich binding them myself with some jute twine and then the seam will be invisible. But even when they're separate and just sitting next to each other, the seam is not all that noticeable. It would be super easy to do this with the IKEATarnby if you need a big rug for super cheap. The weave of jute provides a lot of give, so you can sort of morph the edges into each other.

The tape measure marks out the LEE sofa here.


And here's where the chesterfield will sit.


I want to layer a smaller (like 6x9) persian on the jute under the seating area for a little bit of color and pattern on the floor, like the inspiration photos at the top of the post. I saw this pretty turkish rug at the flea market the same day I bought the jutes. Aren't the colors fantastic? It was not super cheap, so I was a good girl and passed. I'm sure eBay will come through for me like it always does.



So what are your thoughts about my new rug philosophy (no graphic white in the living room rug)? Feeling a little like I should get off my high horse here! :)

64 comments:

pve design said...

Are you sure we were not separated at birth? I feel as though this post is so me. I have a hard time with rugs.
Hmm,, white....but I do love those moroccan rugs....
light ground with a graphic especially on a dark floor.
pve

Giulia said...

Hi Jenny,
I think a rug really pulls a room together, but they are expensive! It took me 2.5 years to find a rug for our living room.
Question: I noticed that you stopped putting sources for your images - some of them would be wonderful to pin, but without credit I wouldn't want to do that in order to have the correct source present.

Lauren Tien said...

I agree on the jute rug and persian stand point. Even without kids, and rug with white in a big living space catches foot prints and other not so desirable marks. I love that aqua and red combo layered with the jute rugs you bought.I may try to outbid you one ebay for one similar (only kidding..) My home is a rental with dark wood floors and we have a dog and so I've been going through a rug craze to keep scratches away from the flooring. I can completely relate to being super picky, you are so right on about looking cheap vs. expensive...its a hard one! Love this post!

Georgine Jeffries said...

There's a reason you find great looking persians that are hundreds of years old- they are freaking indestructible!!! But you're right they do cost a fortune, I love rooms that incorporate a smaller one on top of a large natural fiber rug like the pictures you added!! I am so terrified of jute though- does it really do ok? I have seen it last when there's wool or cotton mixed in, but do you have a plan for jute stains? I have heard great things about seagrass, but not soft. In any case the rug you picked out is stunning!! YOu go girl with your instore measuring and photoging :) !!!

Lauren O. said...

I think your thought process makes so much sense. Even with only adults living in our apartment, I avoid rugs with white at all costs because I'd rather not hate myself when something inevitably spills. Especially when that "something" in the past has been orange soda (me) or beer cheese soup (husband).

Maggie Rose said...

Funny, I'm about to move my jute rug to the bedroom to get a graphic black and white one for the LR! But we don't have kids yet and I figure it will move to a guest bedroom when we move to a bigger place in a few years. Nice score on the rugs - making me wish again that I was in New York!

Israelsen Family said...

I think that opting for no graphic white in the living spaces is brilliant! I am a big fan of your "function slightly trumping form" philosophy. You can buy the most beautiful rugs and sofas but lets face it, red juice and sticky finger stains just aren't pretty! I used to have a bright persian rug in our eating area, I swear to you you could drop a bag of m&m's on that rug and not be able to see them!

Andrea Johnson said...

I am constantly changing my mind about rugs for my house!! It's much easier picking out a rug for a client but not when it comes to my own house. I love the idea of layering the two rugs, it will look fantastic! I'm on the hunt for a persian rug myself similar to the one in your pic for my bathroom. Ebay is a great source for that!

amber wallace said...

I like your high horse! Keep all of your opinions up :)

Stefania said...

thanks for such a great review of jute rugs! I have been looking for something for our dining room that can handle traffic and dirt (two kids, two dogs, two cats- gah!)

Albertina said...

I love the idea of layering rugs! and the contrast of a Persian (so formal and classic) to the laid back jute. Love that you found those on sale and that you came up with the idea of stitching them together. Your house will be spectacular!

Emily Davis said...

You just have to do what works best for your family! But I do agree about light colored rugs in the LR... I got a chinois style
rug off CraigsList recently that is working *perfectly* in our LR!

http://www.mainstreetchic.blogspot.com/2012/05/new-rug.html

Good luck with your rug search! xoxo, Emily

Natalie said...

I've been using fibreworks for years now and love them. They ship quickly and have been great to work with. Their prices aren't bad and I have two of their rugs in my own house as well. Rugs drive me crazy too...the picking out/"trying them on" thing is such a pain! eBay has proved quite helpful for me with work and honestly I first took your advice/suggestion in using them! So thanks :) take care!

Lisa said...

Hi Jenny
Yes you can have kids and nice things, just not light coloured rugs! I have three boys and have had a dark Persian for years and it still looks amazing. I am so tempeted to buy pretty light coloured or large open patterned rugs, but I know in a few months I'll be dealing with stains, even with my 'eat only in the kitchen' rule.
I have a question for you: Does the jute smell? I've noticed that a lot of sisal/jute has an odour. Does it go away?
Thanks

paula said...

i used twine to stitch my two rugs together. So easy!

debsfreckles said...

I think no rug is just fine. Who says you have to have a rug?

Ali (a dash of details) said...

Jenny! I love that turkish rug you found. The colors are so perfect. I wish they did not have to be so darn expensive.

xox- ali

Jennifer said...

I am a big fan of layering over a natural fiber rug. I added a small wool rug over our seagrass rug when our daughter started crawling and I love it!

Natasha Stevens said...

Hi Jenny,

I agree. Persian rugs take a beating and always look great. It always amazes me how some people are afraid of them like they're so delicate. You should see the conditions in which they were woven. They're meant to be walked on and used!
I am also a big fan of Dash and Albert's indoor/ outdoor collection. They can be hosed off and they look and feel like cotton dhurries. With a dog and 2 cats, I need rugs that can clean up easily. I've had luck with a Savafieh indoor/outdoor rug too that I ordered through Ballard. It wipes clean.

Natasha Stevens said...

Hi Jenny,

I agree. Persian rugs take a beating and always look great. It always amazes me how some people are afraid of them like they're so delicate. You should see the conditions in which they were woven. They're meant to be walked on and used!
I am also a big fan of Dash and Albert's indoor/ outdoor collection. They can be hosed off and they look and feel like cotton dhurries. With a dog and 2 cats, I need rugs that can clean up easily. I've had luck with a Savafieh indoor/outdoor rug too that I ordered through Ballard. It wipes clean.

Tokyo Jinja said...

Hey Jenny-
Great problem solving! I just wanted to write and tell you that the rug you passed up is a Khotan - or East Turkestan - pomegranate pattern. My favorite! I have a post with photos of them in all kinds of interiors (Preferring Patina Over Perfection) and there was even just one in the May House Beautiful in the living room of the home on the cover. They are the perfect combo of softened geometric pattern and would be just right for tying all your things together! I'd be so excited to see one in your new LR!!!

Jamie Herzlinger said...

I love the coffee table!!!

Mia Carameros said...

Jenny, Do you think that this rug combo (jute with persian layered rug) could work for a bedroom or do you think this is only or should only be dedicated to a living room area? I've been thinking about this combo in my bedroom, but am rethinking my decision after this post.... would love your two cents!

Kassidi Bridge said...

Wow, you are one strong girl to pass up that last rug. GORGEOUS!

Anonymous said...

I've needed a large rug for years and finally broke down and ordered a 10 x 13 fringed jute from overstock. The $320 price was unbeatable but the rug reads yellow-- not a bad thing unless you've OD'd on yellow like I have! It also comes in "natural" which looks more taupe on my monitor. I guess I'll deal with it since return costs will be at least $100. Did I mention that it smells like dirty feet? Sure as heck hope that dissipates. Ah, the joys of being a tightwad... Note to self: stop making significant purchases unless you can see and smell it in person!

Kathleen said...

I just bought a graphic black and white chevron for the living room. I have been freaking out about the white a little bit since I put it down a few days ago. No shoes, no wet dog feet, etc. The good thing it was so incredibly cheap, about $85 for a 8'x10'on a deep discount, that I'm not really worried about ruining it. And yes it is obviously not a wool rug but it looks surprisingly ok for its price. I love the graphic look and I'm not embarrassed by the quality so win-win.

Sharyn said...

Rugless! Why didn't I think of this? We have a cream-colored (inexpensive) shag rug that has served us fine for the last year & 1/2 but a) is beginning to look grungy and b) just isn't working out with an 8 month old (too tempting to eat, too hard to clean, etc.) My husband doesn't want to spend $1K on the Crate & Barrel rug I'm eying, but I'm adamant that something must be done because of the baby. I think we'll go rugless for a while. It can't hurt - it's free!

Laurie said...

Rugs are so personal - totally get that they are a tough decision (usually a pricey one too). Love the layered look.

Angeline said...

I think you don't have to have kids for nice things to get worn or ruined...and doing what we love is inspiring to our kids - even if it's finding a new rug (or two!) to love and wear out! (SO so want a beautiful persian and white painted floors in my house! Love the braided edges on the jute rugs, too.)

LMDR said...

I wonder if there is a heavy dudy fishing line equivalent to colored thread for your rug project? Invisible stitching And strong thread. If that doesn't exist it should ; )

Anonymous said...

Hi from Australia. I have a couple of wool jute look rugs from Armadillo. So soft and more easily cleaned. Hope you can source them in the US.
Jacinta from Brisbane

Kristen said...

I had a jute rug in my living room and my husband tried to clean out a spot and it bleached out in the middle! Our biggest problem with the rug was that it shed like crazy! The second we sat on it we had fibers on us...was my rug just cheap or does this happen with jute? i would love to try again...maybe I will do seagrass an forbid my husband from "helping!"

Kristen said...

I had a jute rug in my living room and my husband tried to clean out a spot and it bleached out in the middle! Our biggest problem with the rug was that it shed like crazy! The second we sat on it we had fibers on us...was my rug just cheap or does this happen with jute? i would love to try again...maybe I will do seagrass an forbid my husband from "helping!"

Rachel May said...

I really wanted to be one of those people that can have nice white area rugs in their home, but alas. I live with two boy roommates and it was so much stress and cleaning that I decided to get rid of our dingy off-white rug and settle for just hardwoods right now. I agree that persian or jute is the way to go, but I've always wondered how you clean a jute rug.

Unknown said...

This post came at the perfect time for me! We moved into our home and I could not make up my mind about the rug for the living room. Dhurrie weave in blue morocan tiles or VERY colorful persian?!? I think I finally mae up my mind, thanks to your post.
Thank you for being such an inspiration. Please come visit when you are in Sydney, Australia.
Lilac

Amberly said...

My mom always had jute rugs in our house growing up, and I still love the look! Earthy, warm and elegant all in one!

toko baju muslim said...

Its the details of our lives I think that in some respects make the impact. Its only once in a while the big picture matters. I loves these photos of the details.

Anonymous said...

I live on Long Island and there is a great macy's clearance in Westbury. They frequently have rug sales, I have bought there frequently. The prices on sale are really, really good. Also, for anyone needing beds they frequently have super good deals. I like long weekends as they usually put everything on sale.

HIllary Butler {Fine Art} said...

Jenny, I love the jute- I just got one too. So sophisticated, yet simple. And you've got my wheels turning about layering with the Persian rug. Genius!

Courtney McG said...

oh Jenny, I have that same Karastan rug in my living room (creme/grey) and I always think twice about having gatherings because of the stain factor. sad to be restricted by a rug! I need to just live and get over it -- and keep in mind the jute + overlay for my next rug!

Kate said...

Ah! So glad you have this post today as this is on my mind as well! What are your recommendations (or other readers, feel free to chime in) for a type of rug that is stylish, easy to clean, soft on little knees, and masks stains? I've got hardwood floors, and little ones at home, so I'm trying to be very practical, but I want good looks too. Do I go for an all-over pattern in a short-fiber wool? or would a natural fiber rug work as well (I do love the look of those)?

E. said...

Great finds! I'm so inspired reading your blog I made my own mood board/mock up of my couch makeover... yeah, nerdy. Would love your input!

http://voyage-on.blogspot.com/2012/06/pulling-trigger.html

Anonymous said...

I hit the accidental rug jackpot when I bought a rolled up mat in a Lao grocery store for $14. It unrolled into a 6 x12' plastic floor mat similar to those sold by Mad Mats. I use it folded in half as a runner over the hardwood floors in my kitchen. It could easily work in a family room or kids room. When the puppy has an accident I take it outside, hose it off, and let it dry in the sun. It is now three years old. Not bad for my investment!
F

Anonymous said...

Hey, where is the ABC clearance basement?

Jilly said...

Hi Jenny:
My best friend and blog partner just blogged about her rug dilemma.....they are hard to find and expensive, just like you said! She ended up getting two from IKEA and making one big one. She absolutely loves it! It's a really affordable option for someone who wants a big, neutral rug. I'm including the URL to the blog post.
xo,
Jilly

http://meandjilly.blogspot.com/2012/03/rug-problem-solved.html

MCS said...

I use jute in rooms if there is no chance anyone will sit on the floor. I used the Tarnby in my kitchen and I love it, but I layered a flat weave rug on top in front of the sink.

Anonymous said...

Where can I get the bottom rug?

Pat said...

Kids+animals= orientals
Everywhere.

Bixby and Ball - Melissa said...

I use Fibreworks all the time - they're my go-to natural fiber rug (and rug in general) You just can't beat it and I agree - I'm done with yellow. : )

johnpeterjohn said...

I agree for what Angeline said..
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Beth Price said...

I agree that rugs can be expensive, but they do make a room look very cosy! I love the idea of layering rugs, and I really want a Persian rug now!

Shelly Barney said...

I really want that same rug. Can you tell me the store you were at so that I can try calling them and maybe getting it shipped with the clearance price? Thanks so much

Beth said...

Rug discussions are great! I love hearing people say how they love their Persians, especially the vintage and antique variety. My husband and I own a boutique rug store in Portland, Maine and always encourge purchasing the best quality rug you can afford, even if that means going rug less while saving up the funds. Our house is filled with "real" rugs aka Persians and the things that I have cleaned (babies and puppies included) would blow your mind. I have a Siskiyou sisal bound with brown leather from Fibreworks layered beneath a Persian Lori in my livingroom. The odor can be the latex many grasses are backed with, or it can be simply that they are grass.
www.bradfordsruggallery.com

Jessamy said...

On the Persian rug front, my family has always bought these from Country and Eastern in Norwich, UK. Don't know about their overseas delivery policy and cost (so this may not be a very helpful comment!) but they have the most amazing range and very competitive prices. The couple who run it literally travel around picking up rugs direct from the source. www.countryandeastern.co.uk

WeirdRockStar said...

Hello from this lurker!

Oriental rugs last a lifetime ( and then a few ) because they are made from wool. Wool is a fatty fiber that " spits out " dirt from the fiber naturally. All you need to do for upkeep is simply vacuuming it to the direction to which the wool is leaning. Tend to the knots. To determine the quality of a rug it´s always best to first take a look on it on the wrong side. The best quality rugs have small, even knots and the pattern is clearly visible from the WS. Small, dense and symmetrical knots is what you are after. Larger knots suggest a lesser quality, you will want a firm base to your rug. Thicker rugs are used in rural areas where the finer, thinner rugs are known as " city rugs ". The most expensive dye in a rug is deep, dark indigo. When all of the dyes are natural, indigo is trickiest and most expensive to find.

If one is miffed about stains on a natural fiber rug such as sea grass, sisal, jute etc... you could try lightly oiling the rugs ( use a light mist and use oils that don´t get rancid in room temperature ). This will " fill up " the fiber and also moisturize it. When there are spills, they are easier to wipe out and stains won´t show that easily. However, even a light oiling will darken the fiber. Often it brings out depth but it light base is what you are after- forget about all of this. Jutes, sisals etc. usually shed when they are too dry. It pays to spray them even with water at times. Natural fiber needs natural moisture. Many fibers come from natural conditions that are best described as rain forest. So they need the moisture to be able to breath and remain supple.
Two rugs stay together best when there is a rug-felt underneath them. This also prevents slips.¨

At the time I have two large bamboo rugs in our LR neatly together. TWO= I too fail to find an area rug huge enough and I absolutely refuse to sell a kidney for a rug.
Bamboo is so cool and wonderful underneath your feet but I envision throwing a little sumthn´ sumthn´ in form of a cowhide or something come wintery months atop on the bamboo rugs. In case I´ve not replaced them with something else by then.

Jessica Davis said...

Jenny - this is a great post. I've been having rug problems myself. I have a too colorful dhurrie in our living room. We're moving back to NY now so I'm selling it but I like thinking about the options you've presented and the sources. And now with a baby, I need to think about the white thing as well.

Jenny at LGN said...

WOW! @WeirdRockStar!! Thank you for the awesome info!! I love the misting trick and will totally be using that!
xx

WeirdRockStar said...

Mon plaisir, Jennster!
I might have a history in rugs due to the other history in interiors and textiles so there is doomed to be a few subjects that reeeally get me going. Rugs is one of those.

Holly said...

I love rug discussion posts as well. I had the hardest time finding a rug for our living room - and took the longest time too. I didn't want to spend a ton but I also wanted something nice and neutral that we could use in another home once we moved. I finally broke down last year and bought the chevron rug from Crate & Barrel and I absolutely love it. It's jute/sisal/poly blend - I love the texture and the color (I forget the name of the color now and it's not online anymore - it might have been oatmeal). Long story short, I love it. It looks great in our living room and it's just a nice looking rug that I know I'll use in our next home. What a deal you got at ABC! My mission next time I'm in NY is to go to ABC and spend hours I'm sure.

Katherine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
http://www.mycustomrug.com said...

Love the changes, the jute rug and persian stand point looks wonderful with the picture. The rug adds some great color to the room.

Altax said...

Great post. I agree with you.

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Anonymous said...

I purchased this exact Merida jute rug three years ago for my family room and it made it through my son's potty training stage and a number of red wine spills. Fibreworks may be 'cheaper' but I've found Merida's quality and durability to be far superior. The linen edge finish that I used does not have a single sign of wear and it is on the first floor in the heaviest traffic area of my home.

In addition, Merida has an amazing story as they support artisans all over the world as well as have their own manufacturing in Massachusetts.

Everyone has their own philosophy and budget constraints so it may not be for everyone but I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for and sometimes cheap becomes disposable...and that's not good for our environment.

persian rug cleaners said...

Hi Jenny,

There are merely not a lot of home accessories that look as affluent, pulsating and luxurious as rugs. By themselves they formulate an attention-grabbing centrepiece and when elected to bout the overall interior decoration, it makes a style statement like no other.

i am great admirer of your interior-deco work. You just transform a space, utilizing the desires of the house owner and the space, light and budget that are available.

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