Rug up your home the right way
The perfect rug can achieve a myriad of objectives - it acts as the missing link needed to pull your look together, it's tactile underfoot and provides a focal point for bare floors. Often, however, it is a last-minute afterthought, leading to costly mistakes.
The Rug Company's co-founder and CEO, Christopher Sharp, says when choosing an area rug it is important to get the proportions right. 'Always go for the largest size you can as it gives a generous, calming effect to the room, and will allow you to place furniture such as sofas half on it, giving a wonderfully luxurious and flowing feel to the space,' Sharp advises. 'Small rugs can look bitty. However. if you have different areas that you would like to define, a number of smaller rugs can do this beautifully.'
Each year, The Rug Company, which is stocked at Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, enlists famous fashion and interior designers such as Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Kelly Wearstler, Tom Dixon and Nina Campbell to create new pieces with contemporary flair and combine these with traditional techniques.
Sharp says flat-weave rugs are becoming more popular because of their relaxed sophistication. 'Interesting contemporary designs are also helping their surge in popularity,' he says. 'They are great for hot climates where a rug with a pile might not be so desirable. Aubusson rugs, with their famously fine weave, are able to translate incredibly detailed patterns, which could lose their definition in a thicker weave. There is such a variety of flat weaves available in myriad designs and colours, that there is one for every style and budget.'
Other popular designs are vibrant geometric prints, stripes and bold colours. Soft neutrals in sumptuous cut piles are also big sellers.
The Rug Company has more than a thousand coloured wools and silks to work with. In addition to customising any rug from their collection (sizes can be altered, as can colourings), they can design a rug from scratch specifically to individual requirements.
Each rug is handmade in Nepal, including hand-knotting (the gold-standard of rug-making) using the finest natural yarns, by craftsmen whose skills have been handed down for generations. 'We take great pride in making everything by hand - from the spinning of the wool to the weaving itself,' Sharp says. 'While technology is always advancing, we will always continue to hand-make our rugs, bringing together the best traditional methods of production with contemporary design.
'That said, we continue to push the boundaries of rug production by using new materials and weaves in different ways. We use the Aubusson technique for making our very finely detailed cushions, and have just started using metallic thread such as gold and silver.'
Sharp says it is important to look at the manufacturing process from an environmental and ethical standpoint. A good indication of this is to check if the carpet you are buying has certification from GoodWeave, an international non-governmental organisation that works to end illegal child labour in the carpet industry and to offer educational opportunities to children in South Asia.