MoS Washington and I have frequently discussed how rooms without that "something old" just fall flat. Idea houses and inspiration boards nearly always leave me feeling underwhelmed, and I think a large reason is the lack of antiques or vintage pieces (I am not slamming the creative folks behind idea houses or inspiration boards, because I know that the purpose is to showcase/ highlight readily available items). On Saturday, one of my neighbors was having a garage sale, so I stopped by.
Two small oriental rugs caught my eye. I asked my neighbor about them- she said they are handwoven and belonged to a friend of hers who is recently widowed and downsizing. When I asked her the price, she insisted that I take them gratis, that she just wanted me to use them and enjoy them. I am still in awe of her kindness and generosity.
Outdoors the colors looked especially light, but inside you can better see the true colors.
While the rugs are certainly worn and faded, the colors and patterns are still beautiful. The main colors are coral and indigo blue, although both are lighter from time and wear.
Oriental rugs are quite versatile, in terms of both color and style. While a rug may contain two or three main colors, there is almost always a whole other set of colors lurking beneath the surface just waiting to be highlighted after you place them in a certain room. For instance, I never noticed the grays in my "new" rugs, but when placed on the floor of my bathroom, all of a sudden I see beautiful grays in the rug pattern.
Oriental rugs aren't just for wood-paneled libraries or formal dining rooms. They can beautifully anchor a modern room. I also loved to see them layered or used in unexpected places like a bathroom. Layering oriental rugs on top of other oriental rugs is definitely an art form, but anyone can layer an oriental rug on top of a natural fiber like seagrass or jute.
In this living room, an oriental rug adds color and pattern when placed on top of wall-to-wall seagrass.
Image via Cote de Texas
Underneath the DIY sawhorse desk in my bedroom, I used an antique gray oriental rug from my grandparents layered overtop a large jute rug.
Maximalist Maximilian Sinsteden's dorm room below perfectly layers antique oriental rugs and runners.
New York Magazine
Layer upon layer of oriental rugs makes a dramatic statement when paired with black walls.
Bunny Williams's interpretation of layered oriental rugs, with perfect symmetry, scale, and placement
A deep red rug provides perfect contrast to the clean, modern lines of this bedroom. Using an oriental rug here creates depth and interest, where something like a Madeline Weinrib Zig Zag (which I do love) would just be too predictable.
Midcentury furniture can sometimes feel a bit cold, so an oriental rug underfoot makes this sitting room warm and inviting.
An antique red rug adds instant visual appeal in this simple breakfast room.
Kristen Buckingham's fearless use of a huge oriental rug in a bathroom is inspiring. Although I don't think I could ever have the nerve to place an oriental rug so close to a bathtub. Even if it was free.
So now to think of how to thank my neighbor...