Designer Frank de Biasi explains how to choose the best one for each space, plus how to navigate dining room, bathroom, and entryway rugs.
A rug can help set the tone for an entire space. But selecting the right rug all depends on which room you’re designing. Designer Frank de Biasi, who served as the director of interiors for architect Peter Marino before founding his own firm, explains how to choose the perfect rug for each space in your home.
A bedroom rug should establish the room as your quiet, peaceful retreat. The cool raffia and cotton carpet from Patterson Flynn in the above guest bedroom of a Palm Beach oceanfront house channels a cool, spa-like environment. As a custom touch, de Biasi added a woven bind border.
“You want to keep the bedroom low-key and peaceful so it’s conducive to sleep,” says de Biasi. “I’ve never used a dark carpet for a bedroom. I like to keep the colors light and zen-like.”
In the bedroom, avoid loud, bold rug patterns that might be disruptive to the peaceful environment. Stick to cotton, wool, or silk, and avoid vinyl carpets or rugs that have quirky features like metal threads.
As for sizing? Go big.
“A wall-to-wall rug makes the bedroom softer and much quieter,” says de Biasi. “It really helps to quiet the outside and indoor noise.”
LIVING ROOM RUGS
“In the living room, you can do anything,” says de Biasi. “It is really where you can have a bold pattern.”
In the above living room in an Aspen, Colorado, house, de Biasi had the task of choosing a rug that would complement a large, vibrant painting without dominating it. The rug is custom kashmir with a mixed wool and silk tweed background and hand-woven silk circles. He based the bold carpet on the painting, but chose a repetitive pattern so it wouldn’t overwhelm the rest of the room.
“The rug shouldn’t be the dominant element in the room,” says de Biasi. “It should be a part of the overall scheme.”
Living rooms typically feature beautiful flooring, whether it’s wood or tile, so skip a wall-to-wall rug. The carpet should be small enough to showcase at least a trimming of the floor. If your living room is a high-traffic area, de Biasi suggests a wool pile cut rug. Wool is easier to clean than silk, cotton, or nylon, and it’s easier to scrub dirt out from underneath the threads of cut pile rugs than loop pile rugs (in which stubborn dirt can get caught).
Have an oddly-shaped living room? Get creative: Layer a few thin rugs to fit the room’s shape, or arrange a group of, say, small antique rugs throughout the space, says de Biasi.
The entryway rug sets the tone for the surrounding rooms. In this guest entryway of a South Florida home, de Biasi chose a Moroccan design theme complete with a vibrant rug from the early 1900s that complements the bold, striped walls.
“It transports you out of South Florida and [gives] you a sense of what’s coming,” says de Biasi.
In addition to selecting an entryway rug that immediately establishes your home’s personality, make sure it’s a durable carpet that can handle foot traffic, especially if you don’t have a “no shoes” policy in your home. This particular carpet was already worn when de Biasi placed it in the home.
“It’s an old carpet, so the client didn’t mind if it got scuffed up,” he says. “It’s super durable and a little more wear isn’t going to hurt it.”
A dining room rug is the backdrop for family gatherings and holidays.
“When choosing carpet for the dining room, I insist on a cut pile wool carpet,” says de Biasi. “With all that dragging of chairs across it and potential food or wine spills, it is the most user-friendly to clean and withstand wear.”
In this Colorado ski house, the dining room doubles as a playroom. Not only is the Gene Meyer cut wool pile carpet easy to clean, but it’s also soft for children to play on.
Step away from the low-quality bath mat: It’s not your only option in the bathroom.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, it’s worth it to invest in a high quality carpet for this utilitarian space. Look for cozy, comfortable rugs that are soft and absorbent under your bare feet — especially if you’ll be stepping on it after exiting the shower, says de Biasi.
Take Ralph Lauren executive Buffy Birritella’s Utah home, which is accented with her collection of Navajo items and Santa Fe aesthetic. In the bathroom she designed, above, two Navajo rugs add to the warm aesthetic of the room.
Another approach to take in the bathroom: light and clean. Cooler colors, such as a light blue, lend the bathroom a sanitary aesthetic. Keep in mind that rugs are best used in full-sized bathrooms, and not smaller powder rooms (which may force a rug to be uncomfortably close to the toilet).
“You can find really chic, beautiful cotton bath mats that are woven,” says de Biasi. “Yet they’re also easy to throw in a washing machine.”