Bring Modern Vibe to Interiors with Damask Red Rugs: 8 Tips

If people talk about decorating rooms with red rugs, your automatic assumption may be that they’re talking about adding spicy, red-hot décor to their space. You hear the term “red rugs”, and you’d be forgiven if your mind automatically went to “red carpet.” The red carpet is synonymous with Hollywood razzle-dazzle, so it’s understandable to assume that anyone using red rugs is trying to create a hot, over-the-top, ultra glamorous space. It’s true that you can get a very vibrant, hot look with red rugs; you can also create cooler, calmer spaces with red rugs that still have an air of decadence about them.

The color red comes wiith its own rainbow of hues, ranging from the palest rose to an almost black burgundy. If you’re partial to using red, but you want to create a space that has an almost relaxed and cool ambiance, it can absolutely be done. It all depends on the rug, the other furnishings and accessories in the space, the lighting (both natural and created) and the color of the walls. The following tips below will help you create relaxingly decadent rooms using red rugs.

Create a Modern Living Room with Romantic Antiques and Red Rug

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A red rug with a European damask pattern in red and orange brings a stunning look to this room with exotic elements, beautifully designed by Angie Hranowsky. Image courtesy Angie Hranowsky.

South Carolina-based interior designer Angie Hranowsky is not exactly known for being a traditionalist. She’s gone against the grain of the traditional Southern home, and she’s created spaced that are exciting, vivid and eclectic. Red rugs are definitely in her repertoire. In this room, however, she’s gone a bit subtler in spite of the fact that she’s using exotic, world-style elements. This is the type of room that you want to curl up in and relax. If you’re trying to create a similar look, you can try some of the following:

  • Choose soothing wall colors that contrast with the red rug. The blue-grey tones on the wall balance the warm red and orange in the rug and create an almost cocoon-like feeling in the room. The blue and green on the walls serve to cool down the effect of the orange and red rug. It’s almost as if the wall color is cooling off the room, taking the edge off of the hotter elements within.

  • Choose accessories that complement the rug without overwhelming it. The key is trying to create a space that draws you in, allowing you to decompress from the outside world. The soft red Chesterfield, the wooden side chair with woven seat and the gold and blue silk wall panels all converge in a way that works. The printed dusty rose and cream window shades add a beautiful touch. The textures in this room make the whole space work.

  • Notice that even though all the objects in the room are traditional, the room looks modern and romantic. The reason is contrast, and the contrast is at many levels. Even though all the objects are traditional they are in different styles and from different cultures. And the choice of colors contrasts in unexpected ways-such as the shade of blue chosen for the walls which creates a unique contrast with the red rug. So the reason the room looks modern is because we can see that the person who designed it has a modern sensibility- her choices of objects and colors are not what a tradtional designer would have chosen!

Create Drama by Mixing Mid-Century Modern with Ornate Red Rug

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A red rug with a European damask pattern in red and pink on white ground adds energy to this beautiful, spare decadent room created by Robert and Courtney Novogratz. Image courtesy Robert and Courtney Novogratz.

Robert and Courtney Novogratz have a global following thanks to their television design shows and books. On their HGTV show, they’re tasked with helping people create show-stopping yet livable spaces. This beautiful living room is the definition of understated decadence. The trick is choosing carefully curated pieces. Red rugs feature frequently in Novogratz interior designs, and they’re paired with carefully curated pieces that always seem to work together, no matter how eclectic or unusual the design.

  • Choose your red rug at the start of the project and build the room around it. If the rug is bold, it doesn’t mean that you can’t choose other bold elements for the space. It just means you’ll have to be careful about creating balance. Here, the red rug is balanced out by the creamy, white French armchair. The white of the chair provides a crisp contrast to the red rug and it’s curvaceous French shape echoes the orante motifs in the rug. The picture art on the wall is bold and large, but you still don’t feel overwhelmed because the yellow is a nice complement to the red rug and at the same time it makes a pleasing contrast with the blue mid-century modern sofa.

  • Make sure your wall color remains neutral to allow the elements in the room to speak for themselves. Here the walls and ceiling have been painted white to give the room a modern, well lit, airy look.

  • Add energy by choosing objects that create vivid contrasts not just between colors but also between design styles, materials and textures. Here the industrial door of the living room contrast with the ornate traditional motifs in the red rug. The mid-century modern sofa contrasts with the traditional French chair and the simple modernity of the white fabric on the French chair contrasts with the traditional curving contours of the chair frame. There are also contrasting materials such as the shiny silvery metal of the side tables, the brown wood of the floor and the plush wool pile of the rug.

  •  Add interest by layering in complimentary colors. Here the shades of orange in the pillow add complimentary warm colors to the reds and pinks in the rug. 

  • Make the room engaging by mixing objects of different shapes, volumes and heights. Here the two metal tables are of different heights. The pictures move the eyes up from the floor and then the track of the industrial door move the eyes to the ceiling!

The two rooms in today’s post look and feel very different from each other, yet they are both anchored on traditional red rugs and look and feel modern in their own unique way. I hope this inspires you to create your own style room with a red rug that you fall in love with.

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