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Question: I have a rug under my dining table and am looking for another for my family room...

Updated: Feb 10, 2020

These rooms are actually one big room. I know the rugs should not match, but what do I look for so that the two coordinate? Also, are draperies out of fashion?

(Originally published in the Napa Valley Register)

I have a bit of insight into these questions as they come from my friend, Margie. When we were out walking the other day, I told her that I didn’t have any “ask” questions for my upcoming column and wondered if she had any. She did. Since I know exactly what her dining room and family room look like, I could answer specifically – even if I was a little out of breath while doing so.

Margie’s dining room rug is gold and red with a black border and a transitional pattern. That is, it’s in between contemporary and traditional. In her case, it leans more traditional. Her dining furnishings are also transitional and lean traditional including curule-shaped benches whose design dates back to 3000 B.C. Egypt. You could even call them “formal”.

The transitional theme extends to the family room where the predominate pieces are a taupe-brown leather sofa and loveseat. So, Margie is wondering if her living room rug should have a transitional, traditional, contemporary or formal pattern. Should it also have a black border?

I suggested that the easiest solution was a basically-solid pattern with multiple-colored yarns. One of those colors should be gold, red or black. I also told her that there was no need to look for a rug with a black border. It’s not only unnecessary, but it would limit her search.

She had seen a rug that she liked but the description called it “Oriental”. I told my friend to ignore any and all descriptions. An Oriental rug can mean many things and we never know who is coming up with these labels or how they make their determinations. (Ladies, think of all the lipsticks and nail polishes that never match their names.)

Now that Margie’s rug possibilities are more targeted, she’s optimistic and ready to shop. When it came time to answer whether draperies were out of fashion, we were trudging up an incline and I could only manage to say, “No”. But, there’s more to explain.

The real question is whether draperies are the right fit for a particular room. In many cases, draperies add drama, interest, color, pattern, and texture as well as provide privacy and protection from sun damage. Sometimes, draperies can create focal points in an otherwise lackluster space. They also can frame beautiful views beyond the windows.

Although draperies are not out of style, it’s crucial to design them in a stylish way. Besides the choice of fabric, the type of header (where it connects to the rod) should align with the style of the room. There are traditional and transitional pleats, contemporary ripple folds, casual grommets and many more options. There are other factors that determine the way the draperies will ultimately look. For example, fullness will make draperies look more luxurious and formal.

I currently have a drapery project in the works. I’m using new hardware from an old manufacturer. The rods are square, not round, and are clear Lucite instead of metal or wood. The rectangular rings, brackets and finials are in a brushed gold finish. The fabric is linen with a black and gold Greek key pattern.

While draperies are perfect for some rooms, they may be too fussy for others. Some rooms call for more structure like wood blinds or shutters. Roman shades are in between fussy and structure and are ideal in most settings. Lastly, there are rooms where window treatments need to virtual disappear or not be added at all.

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