• Melissa Sanabria

FINDING THE PERFECT RUG FOR YOUR AWKWARD ROW HOUSE LAYOUT

Hello, friends and happy Friday! For those who were wondering, yes, I’m still here!! It’s been a few weeks since my last post (which means that I need to get back on track with my theme for 2017) but the good news is that I’ve been busy with some very cool design projects that I hope to share with you guys at some point soon. For one of said projects, I have been on the hunt for the perfect rug for fellow narrow-row-house dwellers who happen to have two kiddos and a dog so there are a lot of requirements for this rug. And guess what? Finding the optimal rug solution can be VERY hard when your house is 16 feet wide.


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Even if you have a nice big room with “standard” dimensions, finding the perfect rug can be daunting. Besides being the right dimensions, a rug makes such a big design impact in the room that the style and colors have to set the right tone for the room. Add kids and/or pets into the mix and it has to be particularly durable and easy to clean (or at least provide good camouflage) and, of course, rugs are usually big-ticket items so it’s a big decision.


But if you’re house is only 16 feet wide and old with oddly-placed fireplace hearths and mysterious bump outs, finding the perfect rug given all of those requirements plus odd dimensions can be exhausting. On top of that, if you have an open floor plan and you need two or three rugs to work together in your awkwardly-shaped layout then forget it.


You can become catatonic scrolling through rug after rug online without finding anything that fits quite right. That’s when you throw your hands up in the air and say “screw it” and buy a generic, neutral rug from Ikea that you figure is at least not offensive for the time being because you cannot bear the thought of looking at yet another rug for at least one year. And before you get all defensive about Ikea, I love Ikea. But you guys know what I’m getting at…


You may also get exasperated when Pinterest is pontificating on the rules of proper area rug placement. While such rules can be helpful guidelines, if you have an awkward row house or apartment layout, please know that it’s okay if you can’t follow those rules. It’s not your fault. The struggle is real, people.


I think the key is making your choices look intentional and considered. Here are 5 rug options for non-standard size spaces that will make you look like you know what you’re doing.


1. Layer.

There are a couple of ways that you can layer rugs to make them work in your awkward or oddly-sized space. You can go with a few smaller rugs and layer them together to achieve the effect of a single, large rug. The trick to layering patterned rugs, like the ones that Emily Henderson used in the photo below, is to stick to a single color palette so that things don’t get too cray cray.


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In the next photo, they layered neutrals (same color palette) but instead of mixing patterns here they mixed textures, which keeps the look interesting and intentional and is what makes it work.


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Another option is to layer your smaller patterned rug over a larger natural fiber rug like a jute or sisal rug. My thought here is that it is typically easier to find a basic neutral sisal rug in a non-standard size like 6′ x 9′, which is often what you need in a narrow row house. Then you layer on a smaller patterned rug that you wish you had in the perfect size but could only find (or afford) in 5′ x 7′ or 4′ x 6′.


Layering a smaller rug that you love over a less expensive large neutral rug is also a great way to stay on budget but still get the look that you want in your space.


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I dream of being able to have that cream and black striped rug in my house but because people (including one very small, messy person) actually live in my house a rug that light would never fly.


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2. Buy Vintage

Vintage rugs are a great choice for so many reasons. Besides being unique, beautiful, warm and a green option (reuse!), they are available in SO MANY different sizes. It’s kind of amazing. You can find a 6’4″ x 8’7″ rug. which might be exactly what you need. Admittedly, finding the perfect vintage rug can be a labor of love and you may not have the time or the head space for it. But if you do, it can be such a great score when you do find the perfect one.


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My favorite sources for vintage rugs online are Chairish, eBay, and Etsy. You really have to sort through pages and pages (especially on eBay) but it can be totally worth it and you can find some really great deals. Be sure to search using targeted key words and dimensions (here Studio McGee shares their favorite sources and search terms for vintage rug hunting).


If you’re local, check out Woven History in Capitol Hill. They have an amazing selection and stacks and stacks of vintage rugs organized by size and style. This isn’t the type of place you can browse. It’s best to go in and ask for help and have them show you what they have in your size, price range, style (flat weave vs hand-knotted, etc.), and color. You should expect to pay at least $1,000 for a 6′ x’ 9′ rug here (a flat-weave rug will be under a grand). They also do repair and cleaning of vintage rugs even if you don’t purchase your rug there.


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3. Opt for a Custom Size Area Rug

This is an option that most people don’t even realize is out there. Some places allow you to order their area rugs in custom sizes. Caitlin Wilson Textiles makes absolutely gorgeous rugs that I am kind of obsessed with and they offer to make them in custom sizes. YES THEY DO. This is amazing and something I have been seriously considering for my own house because I have been coveting this Kismet rug in coral and navy (below) for a very very long time.


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To give you an example of what to expect for custom pricing, the CWT Kismet rug (above) is offered in the standard sizes of 5’x7′ for $995 and 8’x10′ for $2,150. I inquired about a custom 6′ x 9′ and it was priced around $1,782. I have to admit that I thought it was going to cost a lot more because it was custom, but the price fell pretty much in line with what you would expect for the sizing. It would take about 3 months to get your custom rug but how amazing is it that you can get exactly what you want?!?


Rugs Direct also offers custom sizes on some of the rugs it sells, but it seems like the custom pricing varies depending on the rug. They are very quick to respond to inquiries so it’s super easy to ask questions if you want to explore this option.


If you see an area rug that you like, it can’t hurt to ask if custom sizing is service that they offer.


4. Bind Broadloom Carpet

Broadloom carpet is the type of carpet that would be installed wall-to-wall. It’s called broadloom because, well, it’s made on a very wide loom. This is another option that might be overlooked because (a) wall-to-wall carpet is unappealing and dated or (b) it seems too complicated and you don’t know where to start.


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Regarding (a), there are lots of really nice, modern options for broadloom carpet. I installed a beautiful berber carpet in our two spare bedrooms and it looks beautiful and makes those rooms feel cozy and welcoming (and it was a whole lot less than installing hardwood throughout the entire second floor). In a nutshell, there are a lot of very nice options that are not like your grandmother’s cut-pile carpet.


By the way, this is a great option that can give you a custom sized neutral backdrop to then layer (see #1) a smaller pattered or bold rug on top. See how sophisticated you are? Custom size and layering?? This is super fancy.


For (b), this process is not as complicated as it sounds. Most carpet retailers will cut and hand bind any size carpet and don’t apply an additional charge for custom sizing. If you purchase the carpet from the retailer, they may even bind it for free. If not, expect to pay around $7/linear foot for cotton binding (there are several different options for binding a carpet, which you can read about here) or a minimum fee that can run you about $50 for a 6′ x 9′ rug. Most carpet retailer will also bind your carpet remnants, which can be a great way to create a nice runner in the kitchen or hallway.


If you’re in the DC area, C.G. Coe and Son (in Bethesda) and Carpetland (several locations around DMV) are great places to start if you want to explore this option.


5. Install FLOR Carpet Tiles

Opting for FLOR carpet tiles can be a great solution especially if you don’t want to commit to having something custom made and don’t have the patience to hunt for vintage rugs or buy multiple rugs for layering. They also make is super easy to create cool patterns to achieve a unique, custom look. I also like carpet tiles because you can order extra to keep handy in case you need to replace a tile that gets stained or damaged, although they do tend to clean up fairly easily too.


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I realize that in both of these photos the tiles look like they are installed wall-to-wall, but they can easily be used to create the look of an area rug and they are VERY easy to cut with a carpet knife (I can verify – I have used these in multiple rooms!) so you can really create the exact custom size that you need.


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Well, there you have it. Five options to help you solve all of your rug problems. Do you guys have other solutions to add to the list? Have you tried any of these? Let me know!


Thank you so much for stopping by the blog and have a great weekend!

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