Choosing a Rug Style: Transitional, Traditional or Contemporary

Adding a rug to your home décor can be a big decision. Do you know what best fits your style? What works with the furniture already in the room? There are so many things to consider. Where do you even begin to make your decision?

Don’t let the questions overwhelm you. Whether you tend to gravitate toward traditional or contemporary styles, there are plenty of options when it comes to choosing the right rug for your home. We’ve broken down all you need to know about adding a rug to any room with our rug style buying guide.

Why You Should Consider Adding a Rug

A rug can be a great addition to any room. In most cases, a rug helps define the space while unifying your furniture, décor and accessories. But a rug also can help with noise control, such as on a wood floor or in room that might echo. However, rugs aren’t just for hard flooring. Adding a rug can help bring depth to a room, even if it’s carpeted.

Use a rug to:

  • Define your space:If you have an open concept design in your home, a rug can help define each area of living, such as the dining room, living room or a play area.

  • Make a room feel larger: The larger the rug, the larger the room can feel. Use this optical illusion when working in a room that seems tight.
  • Unify your décor: If a room just doesn’t feel complete, a rug might be the missing piece. Use a rug that mixes well with your décor to achieve a unifying look.
  • Keep the room fresh: If you like to change up the décor of your room every so often, a new rug is a great way to get a new look without dropping a lot of cash. Keeping your larger pieces of furniture the same but switching accessories and adding a new rug can quickly make an old space feel new again – and you don’t have to regret a huge dent in your bank account.

Choose the Right Rug Style for Your Home

Choosing a rug style is one of the biggest steps in adding this piece to your home. There are three main styles you will encounter when you’re searching for the perfect floor piece: transitional, traditional or contemporary. But what do each of these styles mean? Our rug style buying guide will explain how each one might fit into your home.

What Is a Traditional Rug?

This type of rug might be the easiest to identify. The traditional rug definition is essentially a rug that falls into the major categories of Persian, Oriental or another classic style. Many traditional rugs are ornate and have great detail in the fabric. The designs that can be found today were actually developed centuries ago, often in the royal eras of many countries. Most traditional rugs add a formal look to a room, bringing a sense of coziness with sophistication.

Characteristics of a Traditional Rug

Traditional style often follows certain characteristics. In many cases, traditional rugs, or even traditional furniture, offer classic style mixed with comfort. Look for rugs that are rooted in 18th century style, often with English sophistication or French country charm. Many traditional rugs will feature numerous colors, an ornate design and a distinct border. Some might even depict a scene or still life.

Soumaks, dhurries and kilims are also considered part of the traditional rug family, although some might argue they have a more tribal appearance. A traditional rug definition can also encompass characteristics of that particular style.

 

Traditional Rugs and Your Home Décor

Traditional rugs can often be found with neutral colors, and they pair well with warm woods or bronze décor. Luxurious draperies featuring embellishments, such as tassels, often tie-in nicely with a traditional rug. The traditional rug also goes well with furniture that features gentle curves and soft edges.

If you decorate your home in still-life paintings, chandeliers, crystals, candlesticks or flowers, consider having a traditional rug as the final component in your home décor. These rugs sometimes have a more feminine touch in a room depending on the intricate details, or they can add a bold, masculine vibe with deep colors and dark patterns. Consider pairing a traditional rug with a leather couch, recliner and lighter accessories to break it all up.

Is a Traditional Rug Right for Me?

Take some time to look around your home and determine if your style would fit well with a traditional rug. While a rug is an important addition to a room, it can also be changed out if you decide later you want to switch up the look or just refresh the room as a whole. A traditional rug can be a great way to unify your space and make it complete.

What Is a Contemporary Rug?

modern or contemporary rug is a piece of art all on its own. Instead of following the style traditions established hundreds of years ago, a contemporary rug definition is a looser fit. This rug style can be as unique as the individual who purchases it. A contemporary rug vs. a traditional rug is easy to identify. While one features a more sophisticated feel, the contemporary rug can be fun, playful, formal or romantic. No matter the color, design or style, the contemporary rug is a unique accessory on its own.

Characteristics of a Contemporary Rug

Some contemporary rugs look like pages from an architectural guide, or they might use bold colors, contrasting elements or geometric patterns. Some contemporary rugs even exhibit retro features, almost similar to art deco, while some are completely original works of art.

A contemporary rug, by most definitions, is not going to look like any other rug you’ve seen before. The patterns are often modern and less intricate. Some feature bold patterns strewn across the entire area of a rug, or perhaps they have a few bold images, such as a flower or other still life, positioned in one area of the rug.

Contemporary Rugs and Your Home Décor

A contemporary rug might be harder to nail down. With so many options, deciding which one is right for your home can be downright tricky. Consider pairing a contemporary rug with more eclectic furniture or accessories. Contemporary and modern looks often push the envelope and add an element of fun to a room. A little spunk in your home décor never hurts.

Keep these tips in mind when you start shopping round, and they should help you choose the right contemporary rug for your home:

  • Find the right size rug: In a living room, for example, you want a rug large enough to be able to put at least the front legs of each furniture piece on top of the rug. Having the rug running under the furniture makes the rug feel infinite in size, and therefore larger.

    Don’t use the rug as an anchor for a single piece of furniture alone, like the coffee table. In a bedroom, you’ll want the rug to run under the bottom two-thirds of the bed. A smaller rug can look more like a bathmat for as soon as you rise out from under the covers.
  • Don’t hide the rug: Consider the types of furniture you have in your home when you choose your contemporary rug. If you have bulky furniture, consider a rug with an all-over pattern that can still be viewed when the furniture covers some of it. If the rug has a singular design element on it, such as a large flower or other object, consider furniture with exposed legs and a more airy feeling to it. This way, you can enjoy the elements of both your furniture and the rug.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix patterns: If your furniture has a print, don’t be afraid of adding a print on your rug, too. The best style rule to follow is to look for a pattern that is a different size than the rest of the furniture. One of the smaller patterns will act as a background, while the larger one pops. If you have a pattern elsewhere, stripes also make a good contrasting design, whether it’s against a floral pattern, polka dots or something more geometric.
  • Make sure your furniture style won’t change soon: Most people keep their furniture a lot longer than a rug. This can be a plus. It can be fun to switch out a more affordable décor option, such as a rug, if you want to refresh or makeover the space a bit. But if you feel like you don’t love your furniture, or you know you’re going to change it up within the next year, consider getting a more solid grip on your furniture style before you invest in a rug.

Is a Contemporary Rug Right for Me?

Choosing a traditional vs. contemporary rug might seem like an obvious choice, if you feel you know your style. If you’re still not sure, take some time to look around the room and inventory your furniture. What are you trying to say with the space? How do you want to feel when you enter? Answering these questions can help you decide which style is right for you.

What Is a Transitional Rug?

Transitional rugs are more difficult to define because they contain elements of both traditional and contemporary designs. Instead of choosing a contemporary vs. traditional rug, mix a bit of each to best fit your individual style. Many people feel most comfortable with a transitional rug because they don’t have to choose between one extreme or the other. Being able to combine likeable elements makes a transitional rug one that can easily fit into many homes.

Characteristics of a Transitional Rug

Some transitional rugs take on the characteristics of a more traditional rug, but with a modern twist. When choosing a transitional vs. traditional rug, look for all over patterns. If you’re choosing a transitional vs. contemporary rug, you might prefer the details a transitional rug offers in the way the fabric mimics hand-carving. Some transitional styles also feature asymmetrical design elements or follow an impressionistic style that is very appealing.

In some cases, transitional rugs highlight the comforting style of the traditional look, but it strays from the formal feel, such as a rug that leaves off a border or is less intricate in the embroidery. You might also notice fewer colors or less contrasting colors in some transitional styles.

Many of the color palettes are clean and crisp. They are often more relaxed and offer a subtle addition to the room, versus a bold centerpiece. Soft carpets or warm colored wooden floors complement a transitional rug very well. It’s often considered the perfect combination of masculine and feminine features.

Transitional Rugs and Your Home Décor

As mentioned, soft colors or warm wood tones work well with transitional rugs. Barely noticeable contrasts in pattern mixed with soft tones of color make for a sophisticated yet comfortable feel. Transitional rugs fit in well with a simplistic look, such as a room with simple curtains or furniture – and perhaps a few bold accessories or an accent wall.

Transitional rugs also are great with clean, white furniture, and they can help soften the dark tones of wood floors. They also can be a nice addition over a white carpet to either add depth or texture. Think of cushy, comfortable, relaxing elements when it comes to planning how you’ll use a transitional rug. A room is often a bit quieter when it turns toward this style, so consider using it in a bedroom, nursery or library where peace and tranquility are encouraged.

Is a Transitional Rug Right for Me?

If you’re looking to add the benefits of a rug without the noise of traditional or contemporary rugs, then a transitional rug might be right for you. The balance of a transitional rug allows flexibility in style while adding the best of both traditional and contemporary features. If you simply can’t choose sides, or you like the subtle options that a transitional rug brings, consider adding this style of rug to your home.

Let INTERIORS HOME Help You Find the Right Rug

A rug style buying guide can only go so far in helping you decide which rug is best for your home. In addition to using these tips as a starting point, be sure to take a good look at the space you’re trying to complete. Remember to consider how you use the space, the way you want to feel when you enter and how you might transition through the life of the space while you live in your home.

When you think you’ve finished your homework, let a design expert at INTERIORS HOME help you find the rug that will best fit your space. Choosing a rug isn’t a task you have to take on alone. Contact INTERIORS HOME today, to find the rug that will fit your unique style – whether it’s traditional, contemporary or transitional.