Area Rugs Are Fun

There is one common element I find in every new home I furnish, and that is the unlimited flooring possibilities the new home owner can choose from. No longer is wall-to-wall carpet the standard for rich and luxurious elegance. Stone, tile and wood is now the accepted standard, and within those three mediums, the choices are almost unlimited in regards to colors, materials and textures. With that now the norm, the popularity in area rugs has gone up dramatically, creating an entirely new focal area within a room.

Area rugs have a unique way of bringing together all of the elements of a room, by pulling together various colors throughout the room and décor. But the benefits of area rugs extend far beyond style. Here are a few to consider.

Comfort

It’s obvious that carpet is a lot softer than hardwood or tile on your feet, and most will agree that carpet is more comfortable to stand on than that of hard surface floor. Not only does the carpet feel softer to the touch, but its softness gives it flexibility, which allows the carpet to absorb some of the impacts of your footstep. This literally takes some of the pressure off your body.

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Noise

An area rug will significantly decrease the noise in your room by eliminating sounds reverberating off walls and floors, especially in larger rooms. It acts as buffer by absorbing sound from the air. Lay down an area rug, and listen to the difference.

Warmth

Although winter temperatures in Las Vegas are rather moderate compared to many cities, it can still get rather chilly giving carpeting an advantage to hard surface flooring. An area rug placed in the center of your seating area will not only help retain some heat in that area, but it will make walking with bare feet more comfortable.

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Anchor

A properly placed area rug will instantly anchor the furniture within a room, which in turn will create a cozy, intimate living space. I always choose a rug that is large enough so that the main pieces of furniture (sofa, love seat, chair, coffee table) are all sitting on the rug, or at minimum have the front legs on the rug. Without the rug, it can feel as though the furniture is ‘floating’ in the room.

Finding Center

If you subscribe to feng shui or similar beliefs, or even if you just intuitively sense it, an area rug helps slow down the energy that flows through a home. In other words, its helps ground a space by providing resting place for both body and energy.  Energy travels quickly over hard surfaces, creating feelings of excitability or anxiety.  An area rug introduces a sense of calm into the space by slowing the energy.

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Choose the Right Rug

Be sure to choose a rug to match the space. Skimp on size, and your room will look smaller, choose one too large and you'll loose the ascetics of your hardwood or tile flooring. In a living room, the rug should define the conversation area, and be large enough so at least the front legs of the furniture are on it.

Layering

Don't be afraid to layer an area rug over existing wall-to-wall carpeting. It will add playfulness while still pulling together the rooms boundaries.

Start at the Bottom

When I'm asked to design a room from scratch, I often choose the rug first and work my way up. After all its the biggest, most impacting piece that will tie the room together.  Then I select the furniture, throw pillows, textures, and then textiles for curtains.

Color & Texture

I will often use the area rug to introduce color and contrast into the room. An interesting pattern or texture to the rug will instantly create a focal point, drawing the eye to it before moving up to the furniture and beyond. Its a wonderful way of adding color to a room designed around neutral colors and textures.

Lastly, area rugs are fun! They can be changed out periodically and each time it will completely revitalize the space and feel of the room. They can even be stored and re-used again at a later date, or swapped out to a different room or space. I think of area rugs much like a persons wardrobe. Something to change to suit the mood, climate or purpose.

Step Up to the Bar

I can't think of anything more fun and enjoyable than entertaining friends and family at home, whether it be around the Christmas Tree or out by the pool, it will always be one my favorite things to do year round. No matter the season or the reason, entertaining always entails having plenty of wine, cocktails and my favorite, those deliciously sweet and tangy frosted drinks. The only question is where and how to serve them.

Most of the luxury homes we decorate have built-in elaborate bars with every built-in gadget and feature that would easily rival the biggest and best bars on The Strip. Others have a modest counter area set aside as a bar, other homes have nothing at all. Regardless where your home falls into the mix, creating a home bar should be next on your to do list.

Lets assume that your home was not built without a dedicated bar room or an elaborate built-in bar in your family or living room. The first thing you’ll want to do is decide where to put your home bar. Common places include kitchens, dining rooms, and family rooms as people often entertain guests in those rooms. If you live in an area with great weather year-round, you could even consider an outdoor bar. If your undecided, I have solution for you as well.

Space, the First Frontier

More often than not, all you're going to need is a little space, a near-by electrical outlet and a little imagination. Lets take a look around. Perhaps your home has a space under the stairs, or a recessed wall in the family room that us too small for a sofa ,or too far from the TV. These make perfect bar areas.

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Built-in or Road Show

Now that we found the perfect spot in your home for your new bar, the question remains whether to build it in or create something free-standing or portable. A built-in dedicated bar can be as simple as a counter with a few drawers, cabinets and a power outlet. If space permits, a small refrigerator can also be incorporated into the unit. The second option is to go portable, which would include a stand-alone freestanding bar or even a bar cart. The later has become very popular the last few years for a variety of reasons, first and foremost in that they do not take up a lot of room, and they can be wheeled outside during the nice weather. At Furniture Market we carry a great selection of portable bars and bar carts to suit every taste and budget.
 

 The Martini Bar from the Elite Modern Collection

The Martini Bar from the Elite Modern Collection

Storage

Using built-in cabinets or large furniture can make your bar look more distinguished and showcase your liquor, drink ware and other bar accessories. Built-in cabinets are the most expensive option, but they also give your bar the most stately, permanent look. If built-in is too big of a task, using a buffet table, cabinet or bookshelf is another way to incorporate storage in your bar and feature fun pieces of furniture.

An Island

A built-in kitchen island can double as a bar and serve several purposes. Islands provide ample space for preparing and serving drinks or hors d’oeuvres at a party. With the addition of few bar stools, guests can sit at the bar and socialize. If your island has a sink which will help you clean glasses quickly and serve drinks faster, then you're ready to go.

Make Room for Guests

Seating is key to having guests linger in your bar area, whether with traditional bar stools or comfortable lounge seating. You want to have room for your guests to socialize comfortably; this can be as simple as adding a few vintage chairs near the bar or rearranging your space so that chairs, couches and other seating complement the bar area.

 The Tyler Bar Stool from the Elite Modern Collection

The Tyler Bar Stool from the Elite Modern Collection

Appliances

If you’re going to be playing bartender, you’ll need some ice and a place to keep your beverages cold. Small refrigerators can be placed within the lower cabinetry of your buffet or console, and come in a wide variety of styles and prices. A vintage ice bucket will create a focal point on the bar as will a modern stainless steal drink mixer.

 The Molino Serving Cart by Elite Modern 

The Molino Serving Cart by Elite Modern 

New Drink Ware

Once you’ve set up your bar, complement it with great service-ware such as shakers, cocktail napkins and a variety of glasses for all types of beverages. You can spend as much or little money as you’d like doing this, ranging from matching cut-glass pieces to quirky antiques and flea-market finds.

 The Profil Bar from the Cattelan Italia Collection

The Profil Bar from the Cattelan Italia Collection

Regardless how small or elaborate your bar may be, you'll learn that having one will become the catalyst for a good social event. Last of all is a good reason to invite your friends over for an evening of fun and drinks, keeping in mind that sometimes the best reason is no reason at all. Cheers!

Designing the Perfect Dining Area

One of the most important rooms in your home, perhaps only second to the family room, is the dining room. It's where friends, family and special guests gather to enjoy each others company and dine on a fine meal. Although good food tends to be the focal point of the gathering, the dining room itself is essential to enhancing the total dining experience. Here are the basics I go by when tasked with designing 'the perfect dining room'.

Furnish to Scale

This may sound simple, but its usually where people go wrong from the start. Its like the old saying of 'putting the cart before the horse'. You find a piece that you really like and then squeeze into a space hoping the room will enlarge around it. It rarely happens! For extra-small or corner spaces where you don’t do a lot of entertaining, consider a round table which is easier to navigate around and takes up less space than one with corners. For larger spaces, long rectangular tables are ideal. Many of our tables here at Furniture Market have adjustable extensions, some of which are powered and will tuck away under the table with a touch of button.

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Most table heights are about 28-30″, so you’ll want your chairs to be at least a few inches taller, with seat heights at about 18″. If you choose chairs that have shorter backrests they will end up looking tiny. Chairs with long angular backrests are my favorite in larger spaces with high ceilings or open floor plans. Keep in mind that tall-backed chairs are great way of separating the dining area, but can otherwise cramp a smaller room.

Let there be Light

Your lighting should likewise be sized to the room, but more importantly to the table. In general, the bottom of your light fixture should be more or less about 30″ from the table surface, although this number can go up with higher ceilings, I personally like to keep fixtures lower. When the table is long, one that seats 8 or more guests, I often select a light fixture that is long and wide, or a series of pendants in the same shape.

The main rule is to ensure you have enough bulbs in your pendant or chandelier to adequately light the room in the evening, and compensate if needed by adding a lamp or two on a sideboard. Lighting operates on the same principle as scaling your furniture, the larger the room, the more light you'll need.  

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Rug or Not to Rug

Many of the contemporary homes I design for have beautiful wood, tile or stone floors that enhance both the light and space of the room. To add a little warmth to the room I sometimes suggest an area rug under the dining set. In this case I usually recommend choosing either the largest rug for the table, one that goes beyond the legs of the table so the chairs still sit on the rug when pushed back. This looks nice plus it helps protect your floors from scuffs!

Texture and Contrast

Visual contrast and textures is what brings a room alive, and creates points of interests. I like to create a contrast between tables and chairs, either of material, style, or both. A beautiful console or sideboard is an excellent space to add contrast or texture and makes a great home for a sculpture, center piece or floral arrangement. Speaking of floral arrangements, if space permits, consider a large potted tree or greenery which instantly adds life to a room. At Furniture Market these are custom made for each room, although we do keep a large assortment in stock. Wall ornaments, mirrors and artwork is also a great way of adding texture or contrast to a room.

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Functional Design

The most important consideration when designing your dining room is how exactly you’ll be using it. Will it be the place for every day meals, or will it be for holidays, special guests or occasions? Deciding its primary use is paramount when it comes to choosing materials and even which pieces of furniture are necessary for your space. If its going to be used as the later, than it will allow for more freedom when it comes to the design. 

There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to designing spaces, and if follow the basics as described above you'll be able to create a dining space that will excite and delight. As always our designers are here to assist you and answer any questions you may have.

New Decorating Project - Start with the Basics

The most frequently asked question I receive from clients that are getting ready to move into a new home or about to start a redecorating project on an existing home is almost always the same, “where do I start”? Admit-tingly, its a challenging process for even the most experienced interior designers, and for those without experience in design it can be down-right daunting. Whether it be a new client or a new designer, my advise is always the same, start with the basics and work from there!

These basic decorating principles are simple enough that most anyone can apply them. No matter your budget, your home will be presentable.

Find The Focal Point of Your Room

Every room has a focal point which recognized as its most emphasized or prominent feature. It's the space that your eyes are naturally drawn to when you walk into the room. The goal is to compliment everything around the focal point. The focal point could be a large window, a spacious high wall or a prominently placed fireplace. If your room doesn't have a built-in focal point, here are some ideas for creating one:

  • First decide how you plan on using the room, then create a focal point around that. For example, if you want to use a room for reading, you'd make a bookshelf your focal point. If the room is going to be where the family gathers to watch TV, than the area surrounding the TV will be your focal point.

  • Paint one wall a different color, then accessorize with it with artwork or shelves to display evenly spaced family photos and mementos. Be sure to keep it free of clutter.

  • If space permits, I sometimes use a large piece of furniture as a focal point is such as an interesting cocktail table, console table or media center.

  • Very often I will use a large piece of artwork or a large mirror as a focal point.

Once you find the focal point 'Frame It', which means decorating around it and using its main color elements throughout the rest of the room.

If a fireplace is your focal point, you can frame it by adding decor on or above the mantle. If your focal point is a large window with a view, try arranging your furniture to frame it. If it's a large mirror or an interesting piece of artwork, you might frame it with two smaller elements on either side. Once you have a focal point (or anchor) you can now balance the rest of the room.

In the example below, I chose to make the cocktail table the focal point of this beautiful room.

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Basic Rule of Measurement Requires a Ruler

When arranging furniture or hanging curtains most people just employ the oldest tool in the toolbox, the 'human eyeball'. But actually there are specific measurements that interior designers employ for decorating that make a room look better. Get your tape measure and keep this mind:

  • How far your TV should be from your sofa will depend on its size. The easiest rule of thumb is to multiply the diagonal size of your TV by two. That's about how many inches your TV should be from your seating area.

  • For coffee tables, I maintain a strict rule of at least 15" between coffee tables and sofas, and going as far as 18" between them when space permits.

  • When it comes to hanging curtains most people employ a 1-3" overlap on either side of their windows and 4” from the curtain rods to the top of the window. The trick I use to make windows look wider or taller is simple. I create the illusion of height by going beyond the standard 4" while being careful not exceed 8". If you do it could look awkward. The same applies top the width, which can go as far as 12" on either side without looking awkward.

  •  When hanging art, I try and keep its center at eye level, which is generally 56" to 60" from the floor. If you're hanging multiple pieces of art, keep the center point of the whole arrangement at this level. When hanging art above the sofa, I make sure it's no more than 2/3 the width of the sofa with a 5-9" of space between the art and the furniture. This ensures your art doesn't over power your sofa, making it look too small.

  • Most overlooked are rugs and for these I follow three basic rules.

  1. ALL ON - If a rug is big enough and you can put all legs of your furniture on top of it, leave 12-18" of floor surface on all four sides.

  2. ALL OFF - If you have a smaller space, choose a smaller rug and leave all four feet of your furniture off of it. Be cautious not to pick too small a rug, or it may look insignificant, like an afterthought.

  3. FRONT ON- Many designers choose to just put the two front feet on the rug. This can tie everything together and create a feeling of openness.

The image below is an example of 'front on' as well as the proper distance of the sofa from the TV and the cocktail table.

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Negative Space Equals More

We have all heard the old adage about 'sometimes less is more'. In modern contemporary homes, this rule is especially true. In this case the negative space is the area that's not taken up by any subject, such as the white area on your walls. Its tempting to fill every space with a subject, but sometimes, the negative space speaks for itself.

Decorating with negative space can be a bit tricky, but there are a few ways anyone can do it:

  • Avoiding clutter is probably the best and most common way to make the most of negative space. Because you have space on your table doesn't mean it all needs to go there. Leave some room, create negative space.

  • Make sure the negative space serves a purpose such as purposely leaving a space empty to highlight a decorated area nearby.

  • Utilize contrasting shapes can create an odd—or interesting—negative space. For example a curved coffee table can soften the harsh negative space lines created by angular sofas and chairs in a square room.

Employing negative space is not just about looking for places where you can remove things, it's about looking for spots that look great even when they're empty.  The image below is an excellant example of the use of negitive space.

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Follow The Rule of Odd Numbers

If your a photographer, than you already familiar with the rule of thirds, for its an essential part of framing a photograph or subject. In photography the rule of thirds means that 'the subject isn't centered in the image, which is how many new photographers frame their shots. Instead, the main focal point is a bit off to one side. Using the rule of thirds draws the viewer's eye into the composition, instead of just glancing at the center'. In interior design, using odd numbers as a foundation is a way of creating harmony and visual interest.

For example, it helps to have groupings of objects in varying heights, shapes and textures, while at the same time maintaining something similar about them. This advice seems to contradict itself, but the point is, there should be something that groups your items together, but also something about each of them that is slightly different.

In the image below you will see an example of the rule of thirds in the selection of the vase's in the corner.  It also a great example of what we discussed earlier regarding the use of larger curtians to create the illusion of a larger window.

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Layer Your Lighting

I have written entire posts about the proper use of light. It's a vital and integral part of interior design and should not be taken lightly. But for this post I'll keep it brief by listing just the basics.

  • Ambient lighting, also know as general lighting is usually overhead lighting meant to evenly illuminate an entire room.

  • Task lighting is meant to light a specific area or task such as a reading area or under-cabinet lights in a kitchen that serve as task lights for counter tops.

  • Accent lights are meant to highlight a particular object, such as a painting or sculpture.

  • By adding different types lighting it gives a room dimension. I usually start with ambient lighting in each room, then consider the use of task and accent lighting.

Below we see all lighting examples employed in one room.

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Start in one room, follow these basics, then move on to the next. By doing so you'll make your home look like your own, one that highlights your style, tastes and preferences. My first and foremost suggestion is to take your time and not rush the creative process. Once your satisified with one room and it feels right, then move on to the next. In the end you'll have a home that looks as if it was decorated by a professional.