Mixing Patterned Rugs, Needlepoint Rugs, Fabrics | 6 Decorating Tips

Interior Designer Eric Guenther, founder of Whim Designs, southern California is a master of mixing patterned rugs, needlepoint rugs and patterned fabrics. In a video interview during my visit to Whim Design, Eric answers the questions his clients ask about mixing patterned rugs and fabrics and creating beautiful interiors.


1.      Heighten interest by mixing patterned rugs and adding complexity through texture

As a designer, I am not afraid of mixing a patterned rug with patterned furniture, and even patterned drapery. In fact I rather welcome it because of the complexity and the texture that you can then weave into the room. It gives you a much greater opportunity, provided there’s that bravery in making selections.

  2.      Choose two patterned rugs that have a strong color in common  

Just to kind of drive that point home further is the beauty of strong color, and how it combines two different elements together, as long as they have that color ingredient in common.

In selecting this first rug, which has only three main colors in it, and creates a very strong foundation for the space, to illustrate that the second rug, which, of course, has a much more complex color palette, sits beautifully with it, whether it is used as an entry rug, or in an adjacent dining room, or just as a companion to this.

medium scale geometric rug, red and gold geometric rug, needlepoint rug, Asmara Ascot rug 1326RGDAntique look needlepoint rug with architectural, geometric border, gold and red needlepoint rug, French Empire Needlepoint Rug, Asmara needlepoint rug, Needlepoint Design 1910A

Left: Ascot 1326RGD is a medium scale geometric needlepoint rug.Right: Empire 1910A patterned needlepoint rug with an antique leaf field and architectural border. Eric linked the two rugs through common colors, tomato and golds.


3.  Make mixing easier by buying artfully designed patterned rugs

It is that strong element of orange that is in the first rug and found in the second. This allows all these other shades to work beautifully together. The fact that the rug is well designed and there is an artful composition of color, that the tomato color works so beautifully with all the shades of green, and even the touch of pink and white, holds true not just for the rug that’s on top, but the fact that that same relationship of green to tomato carries it along, and lets it sit happily next to or on top of the rug that’s underneath it.

One really wonderful element here is that these rugs have such unusual color combinations. This allows them to be joined together by their color association.

4. Avoid coordinating with two rugs of the same pattern

There is absolutely no need to feel compelled to find a second rug that’s going to be used in the room, either under a dining room table or a runner or whatever the purpose is, to add a second rug to feel that they have to be miniature versions of one another.

 As a matter of fact, I would personally suggest that, rather than using a small and large version of the exact same pattern, that you take a leap and use a stripe, or another kind of geometry.

It’s the colors that will bond those two rugs together, and make them part of a whole that is the room, rather than the similarity of design.

5. Assure durability by buying higher quality patterned rugs

A word about living with rugs with pets, and children, and sometimes with adults: rugs, if they are made correctly, of the finest quality materials, are not nearly as fragile as one might think.  

6. Do not be afraid of using Needlepoint rugs as they are extremely durable

I’m often asked, as I love to use needlepoints that they seem so lightweight and thin, and I’m asked about their durability.

My experience with accidents and pets is that needlepoint rugs are extremely durable. It’s always a great idea to have the appropriate kind of cleaning solution handy for that occasional accident, but to know that these rugs have been in homes for sometimes fifty, sixty or a hundred years, and the same thing is true of one that is well made today.

As a matter of fact, the colorfastness of our dyes, and the better quality of the wool that’s used means that these rugs will actually last longer.

So live with the rug, and enjoy it. That’s what it’s all about.

If you find yourself so fearful of walking on your rug, that you’re not comfortable in the room, then we’ve missed our job, and that is to make sure that the rug brings a comforting element to the room, not one that says, ‘don’t come in here and don’t walk on me.’ That seems foolish.

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