Traditional European Carpets and Damask Rugs, 6 Decorating Tips

For the Sea Island Company in Georgia Lisa Torbett Interiors created a space that showcases traditional European carpets in various unique applications.  From floor to ceiling, these rugs capture one’s attention.  Such original design work led us to ask Lisa Torbett and Dee Simmons for tips on decorating with traditional European rugs and carpets.

Traditional European Carpet, European Rug, Damask rug,18th Century Spanish Rug, Asmara Rug, Morena 6813GD                    Lisa and Dee selected one very large rug for the main room in the club. The major pieces of furniture sit comfortably on the rug and expand the feeling of space. The choice of cream for the walls provides a restful backdrop for the colorful fabrics, rug and pillows as well as for the wood floor and ceiling. Lisa and Dee worked painstakingly to perfect the custom coloring of this very large handmade Morena carpet  inspired by a sixteenth century Spanish rug influenced by Renaissance damasks.

1.      What goes into determining what kind of rug you will use in the room?

 It depends on the room, the use of the room, and the rug’s durability and price.  The next thing to consider are what furnishings and fabrics will be used in the room.  For example, if you are using silk damask, the style of the rug would have more formality.  On the other hand in a more contemporary setting, it may be more about texture than pattern.

2.  How do you select rugs for open adjoining rooms?

We take great care to select rugs for adjoining rooms that will not clash or jar your attention.  We like for the rugs to flow from one room to another.  We may choose a similar color and pattern or go to something much more simple and neutral.  For instance, if you have a floral rug in one area, we may select a geometric pattern for the other.

3.      Do you like to mix different textures in rugs, fabrics etc.?

Yes.  Actually, I prefer to juxtapose textures.  For instance, if the rug is sleeker, then I would use a more textured fabric to contrast and add interest or vice versa.

geometric needlepoint rug, red and gold needlepoint rug, Asmara rug, Sea Island Georgia Club, Lisa Torbett Interiors

The red benches are upholstered in a red and gold Ascot needlepoint rug that Lisa and Dee fell in love with.


4.      Do you use rug corner samples? How do corner samples help you?

Yes.  It is a design tool that we use as we work through the project since we will be determining other finishes and colors from the rug selection.  It also helps all involved to actually touch and feel for comfort desired.

5.  How do you select the colors for the fabrics and the walls? Do you derive inspiration from the colors in the rugs for the walls and fabrics?

Yes, I do derive inspiration from the rug.  However, if we select the fabric first, color selection would derive from there and rug selection would be based on this.

Barcelona needlepoint rug, Sea Island Georgia Club, Lisa Torbett Interiors, Asmara rugs

The curtains were hand tailored from the Barcelona needlepoint rug inspired by a Bessarabian rug in the personal collection of legendary Parisian fashion icon Cristobal Balenciaga.


6.  How do you determine what size the rug should be?

When determining the size of the rug, you take into consideration the furniture placement.  For instance, in a bedroom, most people would like to step onto a rug when they get out of bed.  Usually, in a Living or Family Room situation, the rug will go under the sofa and chairs to avoid tripping hazards.  I have always felt that a larger rug makes the room look larger.  You also have to take into consideration, entrances and hallways, and where the corner of a rug might end up.


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