by Jenna Bratcher

July 1, 2021

Jenna Bratcher is StyleBlueprint Nashville’s Associate Editor and Lead Writer. The East Coast native moved to Nashville 14 years ago, by way of Los Angeles. She is a foodie through and through and enjoys exploring the local restaurant scene bite by bite.

The trend of using rugs as a form of artistic expression has long been a part of the design scene, and it’s continuing to make its mark. “Rugs are pieces of art just like art on the wall or anyplace else,” confirms Helen Kiser of Kiser’s Floor Fashions in Memphis. From vivid floor coverings to reupholstered furniture pieces in need of pizazz, rugs are a statement worth exploring. Here, we take a look at four creative ways to incorporate rugs into your home design.

A rug used as a throw blanket on a bed, accented by a tray with food and wine

Whether it’s being used as a decorative throw blanket or a wall tapestry, a rug can be a versatile addition to your home design.

4 Ways to Make a Statement with Rugs

Put A Pop of Color on the Floor

The beauty of a neutral room is that it lends itself to the introduction of color. You might be tempted to paint the walls emerald green or offset the room with bright, whimsical pillows, but don’t overlook the value of an eye-catching floor. While it may be the most common use of a rug, bringing in color “at the ground level” is an opportunity to open up the room and add a cozy element to any part of your home. Interior Designer Beth Haley of Beth Haley Design says, “For me, building rooms is an art form. They say you have six walls in a space — four vertical walls and the ceiling and floor. A lot of times we don’t think of some of those spaces as being artistic, but they absolutely are! We use rugs to boost a project. Sometimes, they’re the finishing touch and pull the room together.” Nashville architectural photographer Alyssa Rosenheck” agrees. “Art isn’t just for our walls; it starts with our floors,” she says. “I look at spaces from the ground up, with rugs anchoring the space, and the art on the walls as jewelry. A room comes to life through its layers, and rugs are an opportunity to honor heritage and story.”

A Living room with colorful rug and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves

“The people who make these rugs are true artists, and it’s captivating to watch them work,” says Beth Haley of Beth Haley Design. “It’s so detailed — there are so many knots in each rug, and the patterns that are created from tiny pieces of yarn are incredible! It’s an amazing gift.” Image: Nick McGinn

An all-white room with a red rug. Jennifer Robbin Interiors, Image: Alyssa Rosenheck

An all-white room serves as a serene and monochromatic backdrop for this stunning red rug. Interiors: Jennifer Robin Interiors | Image: Alyssa Rosenheck

A blue patterned rug in an all-white room with gray chairs

This luxurious and plush rug from Loloi is the focal point of a new build in Oak Hill, Tennessee, designed by Sara Ray Interior Design. “The rug was chosen to provide visual texture and color and to warm up the space aesthetically,” says the company’s founder and designer Sara Ray. “The veining in the rug helps lead the eye to the fireplace, which is the room’s focal point.” Image: Gieves Anderson

A blush-colored rug from Knotted Turkish Rugs stands out against interior design by Kara Miller Interiors

A blush-colored rug from Greenville, South Carolina’s Knotted Turkish Rugs stands out against an interior design by Kara Miller Interiors. Image: Carmel Brantley

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Hang A Vibrant Tapestry

A far cry from the Medieval tapestries of long ago, modern-day rugs are making their mark as contemporary wall hangings. Whether they adorn a bold wall or serve as the focal point in a more monochromatic space, rugs are a creative substitute for the average painting or picture frame. More akin to abstract art, they provide warmth and an eye-catching pattern on which to feast your eyes. Above a couch, behind a bed, or in the living room, one thing is for certain: this trend is sure to be a conversation starter, no matter what room it’s in!

Bright red wall with geometric tapestry, behind a white loveseat with tapestry-covered pillows

The wall is actually a Murphy bed,” says Paige Albright, founder of Birmingham’s Paige Albright Orientals, of what lies behind this woven wall beauty. “[My client] wanted it to feel like a pulled-together room, and the shape and colors of this piece were perfect!” Image: Paige Albright

A framed rug from Kiser's Floor Fashions

Vintage rug squares make for beautifully framed art! Image: Helen Kiser

Incorporate A Textured Dining Accessory

Sure, you have your go-to tablecloths, runners, and centerpieces, but have you ever considered a rug instead? Using a vintage rug as the foundation for your modern tablescape (or vice versa) makes for an eclectic dining setup that wows. It also puts your rug front and center for the attention it deserves! Bring in some lush greenery to add warmth, enhance the ambiance with colorful candles, and don’t be afraid to layer contrasting patterns for an edgy yet elegant look.

A round dining table with a rug as a tablecloth

Textiles going tabletop? Paige says it’s a trend worth trying out. “I love the pinks in this piece, especially as a tablecloth in my dining room against my Tibetan rug,” she says of the creative rug use. “It has great color and texture, and it’s something just a little different from your everyday tablecloth.” Image: Paige Albright

Use it as Furniture Fabric

Whether you reinvigorate a vintage chair, create a one-of-a-kind curtain panel, or add a touch of unexpected flair to your sofa with a carpeted throw pillow, rugs are a versatile interior design source. With fabrics that range from Navajo and Tibetan to Moroccan and Turkish, there’s no shortage of beautiful and unusual finds out there. Not to mention, it’s a unique way to create a special piece that can hold sentimental value.

Wood tray with planters and dog statue on top a rug-covered ottoman

This boldly patterned ottoman from Birmingham’s The Mercantile by Miller is a repurposed Turkish Anatolian room runner from vendor The Oushak Rug Co. Image: Laura Lawler at The Mercantile by Miller

A rug-covered throw pillow

“I love rugs (obviously, since they are my business), but I personally needed some texture,” says Helen Kiser of Kiser’s Floor Fashions in Memphis. “I needed something different than normal pillows. I’ve had these for at least 13 years; they were made in Pakistan but were a part of a larger rug. Image: Helen Kiser

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A rug-covered ottoman in a living room

Nashville resident Robin Kress recently had this ottoman made from a rug that she inherited. “My father was mildly obsessed with Oriental rugs and was always buying them for our house,” she says. “There’s a rug he had in his entry hall that I inherited after he passed. I had it as an area rug in my den, but then I switched up my furniture in that room, and the rug no longer worked.” A friend suggested turning the rug into an ottoman, and Robin jumped at the chance to give the treasured heirloom a special makeover. “Cool Springs Upholstery made it for me based upon an inspiration picture I sent them,” she tells us. Image: Robin Kress

Cheers to inspiring home design!

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