Designer rugs come in all shapes, sizes, colours and pattern so which one to choose? Are you a fan of ultra-confident animal print, traditional damask, statement geometrics or earthy ethnic (à la this Helen Green design)? Here are 10 of the chicest rug styles out there and our favourite ways to work each look.
Part bohemian, part old world charm – ethnic is a favoured look for nonchalant aesthetes with a penchant for layered, lived in styling. A distressed Persian, an ikat weave design or a tribal pattern, ethnic rug designs really bring the world into your home. Team ethnic rugs with earthy hues and personal travel mementoes for a cultured space.
1. A tried and true style if ever there was one, the Fading World wool rug combines a central medallion pattern with a distressed finish.
2. Handwoven and dyed in India, the distinctive Fresco rug is decorated with Moroccan-inspired latticework to create an individual work of floor art.
3. A traditional ikat pattern meets a modern neutral palette in this bamboo silk Flamestitch rug, skilfully hand-knotted by expert artisans.
4. A repeating pattern gives this wool and silk Grid rug a tribal vibe which should be accented with hammered metal accessories.
Image Credit: LuxDeco
With its roots in ancient Greek decorative arts, the complex yet simple fret (or meander) is a timeless design for wallpaper, linens, cushions and, not in the least, rugs. The classic geometric design has been used for borders, as an all-over motif or simply as a corner detail. Fret designs work particularly well for runner rugs and work devil-may-care attitude when contrasted with other patterns.
1. Inspired by architectural details, this hand-tufted cotton Colbourns Fret rug displays a beautiful pattern across a neutral backdrop.
2. With its decorative border and beautiful choice of colourways, Eichholtz’s pure New Zealand wool Apollo rug‘s offers a timeless way to update your space.
3. Playing with a symmetrical design and a sapphire blue colourway, the Baldwin rug offers a contemporary, colourful way to enhance your space.
4. Add a dose of natural beauty and geometric impact to your interior with the leather Exquisite Rugs’ Geo Hide rug, hand-stitched by fine textile artisans.
Filigree, Aubusson, damask and floral – traditional rugs come in a wide variety but they all offer the gravitas of days gone by, adding an elegance to a space in a way that no other rug style can (just take this Bennett Leifer Gramercy Park project as proof). Designs often feature a medallion centre and a decorative border. Today’s interpretations use standard motifs in a modern way with a one-hue colour palette. Unless a beautiful antique, opt for muted colours for an updated edge which still enhances your pieces.
1. Encapsulating subtle beauty, traditional hand-weaving techniques meet the finest Himalayan wool and natural silk to create the understated Beauty Two rug.
2. The aptly named Granada rug is inspired by the stunning Moorish architecture and motifs of Spain’s southern-most region.
3. Dress your floor in the ornate damask Dumas rug – handwoven from the finest Himalayan wool and natural silk – for rich, traditional styling.
4. Aesthetes with a more classical taste will appreciate the elegant border design of the 180,000 knot per square metre Louis rug.
Image Credit: Helen Green Design
A designer favourite for its ability to add a certain tactile layer to a space without introducing any notable patterns or motifs, a textured rug can be visually or actually textured (or both). Designs can be mottled and distressed to mimic stone and oxidised metal finishes or streaked for a decidedly artistic flair. Carved rugs – where the designs are literally carved out of the wool to create raised patterns – are a good example of physical textures and have become very popular of late.
1. Utilising the talents of Flemish weavers, the Louis De Poorteere Mad Men rug is woven with a distressed pattern that pays homage to the creative energy of the iconic 1960s.
2. With its bold contemporary pattern, Gianfranco Ferré’s Concrete rug brings industrial style to classic carpet craftsmanship.
3. A stunning combination of pure New Zealand wool and Luxcelle fibres give the Calvin Klein Etched Light rug its lustrous finish for undeniable underfoot heaven.
4. With its watercolour-like movement and nature-inspired palette, the Luster Wash rug is the most beautiful way to bring a touch of the outdoors in.
Image Credit: Jeff Andrews
For all-out glamour animal print is the only way to go. Recalling the Hollywood Regency world of Slim Aarons photography, leopard, zebra, cow hide and tiger stripes are the unofficial fabrics of the glamour elite. Depending on how it’s styled an animal print can take the form of an interesting neutral (when used in a harmonious colour palette) or it can make for an eye-catching statement piece (when realised in bright colours or when contrasted with block colours). Disclaimer: not for the faint of heart.
1. Bring bold leopard print style to a space with the diamond animal print Layer rug, exquisitely crafted in wool or a wool-silk blend.
2. A modern rug with tactile credentials, the Arlequin rug is handcrafted with premium, hand-selected cowhides in natural tones.
3. Evoke exotic elegance with the boldness of the Leopard rug – a no-nonsense approach to working the look.
4. With its striking animal print and subtly distressed edges, the hand-tufted wool-blend Riviera rug flirts with a rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic.
A rustic rug is the design of choice for many a quaint country or seaside home. Materials range from breezy sisal and flat-weave rugs – with their easy-to-care-for finishes – to luxed up silky designs in earthy or neutral colour palettes with a provincial vibe. Rustic rugs are the perfect foundation for country silhouettes and weathered or painted wooden finishes.
1. Expertly hand-woven by textile artisans, the heavily textured Coast Diamond rug enhances its neutral backdrop with a diamond design.
2. Make a statement in bamboo silk with this geometric-inspired Connection rug, hand-knotted in a choice of taupe or ivory.
3. Handwoven by outstanding textile artisans, the wool blend Darcy rug delivers subtle pattern in a choice of two beautifully neutral hues.
4. Bold yet relaxing, the soft tones of the bamboo viscose Montauroux rug work with its understated pattern to bring a calming elegance to the centre of a space.
Image Credit: Millier
Often found in slick penthouses, high-rise lofts and minimalist villas, modern rugs are characterised by a nonchalant aesthetic, masculine lines and cool palettes. The look straddles abstract and geometric subjects as well as some Modern art-inspired designs, making it a fifth gallery wall. Style with a spacious corner sofa and a barely there table which will showcase the design in its entirety.
1. Its cool grey palette gives the Knit rug a masculine edge whilst its lustre is all luxury.
2. For a design inspired by the King of Soul, James Brown, nothing less could be expected than the striking confidence of this eponymous rug.
3. Grey on grey is always a good choice. Make a statement with the geometric channel lines of the Centre rug.
4. An op art aesthetic brings modern style to the classic hand-knotted craft of the Lilium rug.
Image Credit: Barlow & Barlow
A definite room game-changer, geometric rugs are a pattern enthusiasts dream. A cross-section of this prolific style offers retro circles, chevrons, lattices, tiling, oversized houndstooths and stripes which will elevate a rug from functional to statement. Throw in a colour or two and the result speaks of style confidence or opt for a muted palette for a way to work a contemporary edge into a classic space.
1. Perfect for contemporary living, fine textile artisans in India give the Matrix rug a bold geometric design in neutral hues.
2. With its monochrome palette and modern lines, Eichholtz’s Caton rug equals instant high impact..
3. Expertly formed using pure New Zealand wool, the Diabolo patterned rug offers geometric impact, a plush texture and sublime underfoot comfort.
4. Evoking thoughts of bold Op Art shapes whilst working an iconic palette, the Black Thistle rug makes a brave, beautiful choice.
Image Credit: Oleg Klodt
A plain rug is an absolute home staple and suits all rooms and shapes. In a hallway, a living room, a bedroom, a bathroom, you just can’t go wrong with a silken finish, an even cut and a simple block colour. A large-scale design is the easiest way to ground a harmonious furniture arrangement and can mimic the aesthetic of a plush carpet. Enhance its classic contemporary look with smart upholstery and a metal-framed coffee table.
1. Combining traditional hand-tufted technique with a minimalist design, Gianfranco Ferré’s Arbour rug brings a fashionable aesthetic to a space.
2. Simple and timeless, the modern Dolce rug promises soft underfoot comfort and a subtle sheen in a cool graphite hue.
3. Handwoven with the finest silky smooth pile, the plush Petrol Chrome rug is designed for modern living and offers a mature colour pop.
4. Gently shimmering Swarovski® crystals bring a subtle glamour to the exquisite Firelights rug – a must for opulent spaces.
Image Credit: Buckingham Interiors + Design
A classic rug design is one of transitional characteristics – equal parts inspired by tradition and contemporary design. Like the restrained interiors they inhabit, classic rug designs are well-considered and purposefully pared back in their design, often sporting elegant borders or refined patterns in contemporary colour palettes. Their unobtrusive aesthetic lends well to large-scale proportions which creates a cohesive foundation for a furniture arrangement.
1. The Blade rug hits the mark with its simplified design and a cool, calming colour palette that promises to slot into practically any space.
2. Combining New Zealand wool and a contrasting silk pattern, the Petite Ogee rug is evidence that geometric can be timeless too.
3. Swarovski® crystals bring a touch of sparkle to the minimalist lines of the handmade Shine Brights rug by fine rug maker Sahrai Milano.
4. A stylised botanical pattern winds its way across this modern classic rug design in tonal taupe hues.
Read our luxury rug buying guide here.