A common mistake people make when decorating with blue paisley fabrics such as Brunschwig & Fils Izmir Paisley, is to pair them with blue rugs that are too similar to the fabric. The result is a room that looks un-exciting, even though everything is perfectly matched. What is missing is the energy and beauty that arises when you decorate to create contrasts in pattern, scale, color and texture. When you focus entirely on looking for rugs with the exact shade of blue or rugs with patterns similar to the fabric, you overlook the rugs that could have made the room look stunning. You can avoid these common mistakes if you keep four criteria in mind: Firstly, look for rugs with patterns that contrast with the pattern of the fabric. Second, pay attention to scale- the scale of the blue rug’s pattern should either be larger or smaller, but not the same as the scale of the fabric’s pattern. Thirdly, look for blue rugs that contain several shades of blue as well as some warm colors to balance the cold blues. Finally, look for blue rugs with a texture that is different from the fabric’s texture. If you keep these four criteria in mind, you are more likely to find a blue rug that you really like and that will also enhances the overall look and feel of the room. I will illustrate the four criteria in detail with the help of an example.
The Gold Branches Savonnerie Oriental rug works with the Izmir Paisley fabric because:
- The more open trellis pattern of flowering branches of this blue rug creates a pleasing contrast with the dense curvilinear pattern of the paisley fabric. If the pattern of the rug had been as dense, or had similar motifs as the paisley fabric, it would have made the room look un-exciting.
- The scale of the rug’s pattern is much larger than the fabric. The contrast in scale allows you to enjoy the intiricate beauty of the paisley as well as the open pattern of the blue rug
- The rug contains several shades of blue which complement the blues in the fabric and also add a feeling of depth and layering to the room. The gold and red accents in the rug balance the cool blues which makes it easier to add accessories in warm colors. This will make the room feel inviting throughout the year.
- The blue has a cut and loop texture which looks pleasing next to the smooth paisley fabric.
Here is a more detailed explanation of the approach:
Four Tips for Decorating with Brunschwig & Fils Paisley Fabrics and Blue Rugs
1. The pattern of the blue rug should contrast with the pattern of the paisley
If you pick a blue rug with a pattern that is similar to the paisley fabric, the rug and the fabric will compete with each other. But when you pair the fabric with a rug in a suitable contrasting pattern, each will enhance the other. The Izmir Paisley fabric has a dense curvilinear pattern, so the blue rug should have a more open pattern. At the same time the rug’s pattern should be strong enough to stand up to the heavy paisley pattern.
2. The scale of the blue rug’s pattern should be larger than the paisley fabric
If the scale of the pattern in the blue rug and the paisley fabric are very similar, they will compete with each other. The pattern of the Izmir paisley is quite intricate, so if we pair it with a blue rug with a large scale pattern, the beauty of both the fabric and the rug can be enjoyed and the wider range of scale will make the room look more sophisticated.
3. The blue rug should contain several shades of blue and some warm colors
A blue rug with just one or two shades of blue is not very flexible and will not work with many fabrics. A blue rug that contains several shades of blue will work with many blue fabrics and it will also add depth to the overall décor of the room. And a blue rug that has warm colors such as yellow, gold or red, will make it easier to balance the overall color scheme of the room. As mentioned in earlier blog posts, we get tired of rooms that have only cool colors or only warm colors.
4. The blue rug should have a texture that contrast with the texture of the fabric
If the texture of the paisley fabric and the blue rug are similar, the room will feel tiresome after a short time. But when you pair a smooth fabric with a highly textured rug, it adds variety and interest to the room.
History of Paisley Fabrics
What is today known as the paisley pattern was commonly found in Kashmir Shawls that have been woven in Kashmir going back to the 11th century. The popularity of these shawls grew greatly under the Mughal Emperors of India and in the late 1700’s when European travelers, explorers and members of the East India Company began to visit the courts of the Great Mughal, they were awed by the intricate beauty, luxury and warmth of the magnificent shawls worn at the court. When these travelers returned to Europe they brought Kashmir shawls as presents for their European patrons. Within a few years Kashmir shawls had become an essential part of the wardrobe of stylish women throughout Europe. This fashion was to last for the next hundred years and many copies of Kashmir shawls were made in Europe, specially in the Scottish town of Paisley which gave the pattern it’s name.
The finest Kashmir shawls were made of cashmere yarn which is spun from the soft down that grows under the exterior coat of the Capra hircus a breed of goat that thrives in minus 40 degree temperatures in the Himalayas and Mongolia.
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) – Madame Rivière wearing a Kashmir shawl