Since we covered chairs last week, let’s head to the next item that can make a big impact in any diplo-room: rugs. I love them because if you choose wisely, you can pick something relatively light weight and still wears well. Here are a few styles that tend to do well, no matter what:
6 Rug Styles that Travel Well Around the World:
1// Geometric – Madeline Weinrib makes the best ones. She’s expensive but ours have lasted going on seven years, two children and countless parties. Plus, when the situation gets really bad, her rugs are completely reversible, buying you a few more years of wear.
2// Stripes #1 3// Stripes #2 : Stripes have a way of making a room feel a bit younger, a bit lighter, a bit less serious but still in style and polished. Similar to the Weinrib comment above, ours came from Williams Sonoma Home (they have great sales sometimes) and have lasted through quite a bit of traffic.
4// Abstract: These are great for bedrooms; if you keep bedding simple and a light color, it becomes easy to throw in a few pillows playing off the carpet scheme. Even though the room is then remains all Drexel, it still feels personalized.
5// Hides: These forgive a multitude of sins and are easy to clean, and the ones stitched of little pieces can be quite affordable. I sometimes think they feel a bit funny underfoot if I’m barefoot but that’s a question of personal preference.
A few tips for picking out rugs:
- Prioritize lighter weights and lighter values: The best rugs hands down are of course true carpets, hand woven and all the bells and whistles. And if you have the means, go for it. But just keep in mind that true, high quality carpets are very heavy in addition to very expensive. So it’s not great if you find that your rugs might have sprouted a bit of mold while in transit (yes, it’s possible). Pick carpets with the primary goal of personalizing your space in the short-term; it makes it easier to cut the carpet loose if you have to.
- Try not to mail rugs to yourself at post: Either order rugs at home or buy them at post. It’s hard to know when carpets will ship rolled or not, despite what the lady at the other end of the 1-800 number might have told you. It becomes a hassle when something gets sent back because it’s outside of the size limitations.
- If you’re headed to a “rug post”, take advantage: If places like Morocco and India and half of the Middle East is in the cards, you can probably get the rug job done better and for less and at post. Get some good shopping advice, bring cash and brush off those negotiation skills!
- Stick to neutrals: There’s a reason why many of the carpets in the color scheme above tend to veer towards a color family. Chances are, you’ll get more mileage out of neutrals. It doesn’t meant they have to be boring, but if you’re in a relatively neutral color family, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to switch the rugs between rooms as your housing needs change. Calm, light colored rugs also neutralize, so to speak, the heavy effect of the dark Drexel. Pattern is good, but pattern in a restrained color palette is better. And it gives you the opportunity to bring in more pattern with smaller accessories, like throw pillows on a bed or a couch, that can give you more graphic punch for less visual space and probably, less money.
- Consider combining or layering two rugs: If you have a particularly large space, consider putting in two smaller rugs. The hides in particular lend themselves well to this. For example, if you have a large dining space, with the full size table, consider laying down two of the patched hide rugs horizontally rather than one really big, really heavy rug that might not work if you next post is smaller.
- Consider bringing your own rugs if you have allergies: Most foreign service housing comes with standard issue carpets, and there is a high chance those carpets have been in rotation for a while. The ones we have received certainly have been. Since the rest of the diplo-family is super-senstive to pet hair and dander and such, the issued carpets always seem to cause a problem for them. That’s actually why we first started traveling with a few of our own rugs in the first place. If you are sensitive to things like that, travel with what you know will work for you.
- FLOR Tiles: I have yet to give the FLOR carpet “tiles” a try though I know some swear by them. Knowing myself as I do, I have a feeling I would botch up the installation, but I love the concept. I hope I can give it a try, especially in a high traffic area on day.
A Few More Ideas:
We haven’t yet been to a post where rugs and carpets are made but I’ve love to one day – I think we would have a lot of fun with it. What have others learned about buying rugs around the world?