2 Top Designers Create Fashionable Rooms with Damask Rugs

Damask is an incredibly rich silk fabric that lights up everything from walls to drapery to upholstery with its combination of shiny and matte weaves. Damask rugs derive their patterns from damask fabrics and the best damask rugs also have a cut and loop texture which brings out the beauty of the pattern. You can use damask rugs as part of a full-fledged exotic theme within a room, or they can be the only exotic element in a room. How you use them depends on the look that you’re trying to create. Damask rugs often have tonal patterns which look very subtle even thought they may have a lot of detail. The best damask rugs have a cut and loop texture that looks fascinating when light falls on the rug. Some damask rugs are shaded so artfully that some details of the pattern shimmer like silk, even though the rug is made entirely of wool. The shimmery section of the pattern reflects beautifully against the more matte portion of the design and in this way damask rugs mimic the effect created by damask fabrics. Today we will learn how Victoria Hagan and Steven Gambrel, both AD100 interior designers, created very different looks with damask rugs.

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The Marbella GD wool oriental rug is an example of a damask rug with a shimmering pattern inspired by a medieval silk brocade of Saffavid origin. Hand made in a cut and loop weave with a combined wool yarn made up of five fine yarns each dyed in a different shade, this rug contains thousands of subtle shades. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.

Simple Elegant Damask Rugs in Simple, Elegant Settings

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Victoria Hagan-designed living room using a grey, taupe and white damask rug in a simple, relaxed setting. Image courtesy Architectural Digest.

Interior designer Victoria Hagan has built up a huge following thanks to her brilliant touch involving simple elegance, gorgeous neutral backgrounds and the addition of sumptuous materials and fabrics. When you walk into one of the rooms she’s designed, you feel instantly enveloped by a sense of elegance, subdued decadence. Her designs often involve layers of simple elements punctuated by a small, unexpected bit of dazzle. In this living room located in a luxury Milwaukee hi-rise, she created a peaceful haven dotted with bits of color and the subtly exotic detail of the damask rug. To create a similar space using damask rugs, do the following:

  • Use neutral paint colors to create a serene and calm backdrop for your furnishings. The soft, white walls here allow the giant windows and incredible waterfront view (not shown) to take center stage. 

  • Use furnishings that don’t detract from the damask rug. Here, Hagan used simple, white sofas and chairs from her very own collection. They’re beautiful, cozy and unobtrusive, taking nothing away from the damask rug. The frames and legs of the vintage T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings armchairs anchor the rug, linking to the black mantle and black-framed mirror. 

Use Damask Rugs with High Contrast Colors in Modern Spaces

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Steven Gambrel designed this breakfast room in a Long Island home on a damask rug with highly contrasting brown and white colors.  Image courtesy Architectural Digest. Photo: Oberto Gili.

Let’s say that you didn’t choose simple, elegant damask rugs. Let’s say you chose a bold and graphic damask rug, one that demanded attention. Designer Steven Gambrel certainly did this for a mid-century modern breakfast room located in a Long Island home. Individually, none of the pieces in the room are subtle, and yet somehow, you don’t feel overwhelmed. Arranged in the right way, a collection of unique pieces can work together to create one beautiful look that works together instead of a mish-mosh of disparate looks. To create a similar look in your home, do the following:

  • If you’re going to be filling a room with eclectic or modern pieces, choose ones that are linked by one element. It could be anything, including a color or a pattern. In this case, the pieces in the room all feature the color brown and bold patterns. They couldn’t be more different from one another, but they are linked by these small details. 

  • The vintage Stilnovo chandelier features a circular shape and circular globes. It rests above a round mahogany table. These patterns are all linked to the circular patterns in the damask rug. Linked together, everything works.

Since rugs cover such a large surface area of a room, then have a major impact on the overall look and feel of the room. Knowing this, interior designers often start their room design with a rug and then use the rug to select fabrics, wall colors and even accessories and furniture.

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