When interior designer Susan Nelson was asked to design the living room in Washington Design Center’s prestigious DreamHome, she immediately recalled seeing a gold rug with bright colors that she thought would be perfect for infusing the room with youthful energy, “My goal was to design a pretty living room that would bring a smile to anyone who entered”, said Nelson. “The first design decision was to use the Asmara Pamplona gold Savonnerie rug to center the furniture. I just love this geometric, architectural rug and can’t help but smile when I look at all those colors – yellow, green, coral, turquoise, lavender…” Interior designer Christina Murphy a member of House Beautiful’s “America’s Top 100 Designers,” would have agreed. Murphy popular quote reproduced here says, “Punches of color keep a room feeling youthful and engaging.” The best way to create vibrant punches of color is to use a gold rug as a backdrop. Because fabrics and accessories look fresher and more vibrant when placed on a gold rug. Susan Nelson’s show house living room is a great way to learn our 5 Tips: How to Give Rooms a Young Energy: Use Gold Rugs and Joyful Color.
Image courtesy Pinterest: Quotes
1. Susan Nelson described her design process in an interview with the Washington Design Center, “Once the yellow and gold rug was decided, the walls were next; the yellow glaze adds to the room’s light and airy feel, then, I had to use lavender on the tufted love seat as an exciting contrast to the yellow decorative rug” explained Susan…Both the mirrored console table and the “branch” glass coffee table have a sparkling quality about them. The bookcases flanking the fireplace echo the structured gold rug’s pattern. The aqua “peacock” chairs add a touch of whimsy..”
The Pamplona yellow and gold Savonnerie rug’s geometric pattern was inspired by classical Roman architecture and a French Savonnerie Carpet in the Directoire style. The reds, greens, blues and purples in the room become more vibrant against the backdrop of the yellow and gold rug. The cut and loop texture of the Pamplona rug was inspired by a Savonnerie carpet in the Musée Nissim de Camondo in Paris. Rug Design © Asmara, Inc.
2. “…A green awning striped chaise, blue striped pillow, purple lamp and pillows, yellow chairs and pink pillows….it works!” exclaimed Susan Nelson describing her design choices….”The hourglass chairs are covered in a yellow woven circular fabric that’s fresh and modern, and the green Greek key fabric on the sofa has the same light, fresh feeling”.
3. “…The landscape painting above the mantel, Anthony’s Nose by David Mahler, perpetuates the light fresh feeling…, and who could resist playing at the game table under that amazing aqua chandelier? I chose one of Manuel Canovas’ wonderful over sized cotton prints in purple and spring green for the drapes…” continued Susan Nelson.
“I was able to be a little more adventurous with color than I typically would be with a client. The colors I used in this room were all found in the beautiful Pamplona gold Savonnerie rug” concluded Susan Nelson.
Susan Nelson’s design process can serve as an illustration for our four decorating tips:
Five Tips: How to Give Rooms a Young Energy with Gold Rugs and Joyful Color
1. Enliven the room with a gold rug with bright top colors
As already mentioned, a rug with a yellow or gold background makes all the colors in the room look fresher. If the gold rug contains bright top colors, it makes it easy for you to develop the color palette for the entire room. In the case of the Pamplona Savonnerie carpet the top colors are a balanced mix of cool and warm colors. Since yellow and gold are both warm colors, the colors that will look the brightest against it are the cool colors- blue, green and purple, all of which are already in the Pamplona rug. So this rug gives you a great foundation for designing a joyfully colorful room.
2. Pep up to the walls and furniture with brighter versions of the gold rug’s top colors
Susan Nelson pepped up the room’s colors by choosing brighter versions of the yellow, purple, green, blue and red found in the gold rug. You can do the same.
3. Add zest with shapes that resonate with the gold rug’s motifs
Susan Nelson chose bookcases with circular patterns that resonate with motifs in the gold rug (image 1), as do the hour glass shaped chairs and the round backed chairs. Our eyes move across the room taking in the lyrical relationship between the shapes, even though we may not be conscious of it.
4. Uplift the energy by mixing plain and patterned fabrics of different scales
Since the gold rug has a colorful pattern, Susan Nelson chose covered most of the furniture in plain fabrics and used small scale patterned fabrics for pillows and a larger scale green awning stripe fabric for the chaise. The gold rug has the largest scale pattern, the pillows the smallest scale, the green awning stripe is in the middle. When you mix a range of scales, it uplifts the energy in the room. If all the patters were of the same scale the room lacks focus.
5. Invigorate the room by creating an artful mix of textures.
Susan Nelson created a mix of wide range of textures ranging from the gold rug’s cut and loop texture to the smooth fabrics on the chaise, the leather on the chairs, velvet on the sofa, the wood and glass in the bookcase, the cut glass and metal in the chandelier and floor lamp and so on. If all the fabrics and the rug had been smooth or if all of them had a lot of texture, the room would have felt uncomfortable. We create a subtle movement of energy when we create an artful mix of textures.