Why I Love… Bold Area Rugs

“Well, sir, it’s this rug I had. It really tied the room together.” – Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski

Between looking for rugs for my own house and helping a friend refresh the look of her living room, I feel like I’ve been spending a lot of time scouring the web for great rugs. There are so many awesome rugs out there to chose from! Some are solid, simple colors, others bold patterns. Some boast newly conceived graphic designs, others are inspired by antique, Oriental, or Turkish rugs. All in all, what I have been learning is that you can really make a statement with the rug you choose for a room, and it can be a lot of fun to allow that rug to inform the decisions you make when accessorizing the rest of the room!

Here are some of my favorite rugs I’ve come across recently.

Alyson Fox Chevron Wool Rug – West Elm

I first learned of Alyson Fox while reading Design Sponge a while back, and have been dying for the right place for this rug ever since. I have been experimenting with grays and taupes lately, and what I love about this rug is that it favors gray but still uses a variety of other colors and geometric shapes to break it up a bit. And that pop of red is so striking!

Adelaide Rug – Crate and Barrel

I do love a good floral pattern, but it has to be unique… not like the fabric from your grandmother’s rose covered window curtains! I like this pattern because it’s modern and hints at the flowers and their surrounding leaves, but also takes some liberty in improvising with whimsical curls and the reversing of positive and negative space. And since it is two-toned using only a creamy white and a deep blue, you could pair this with any number of neutral or bright accent colors.

Herringbone Rug – Urban Outfitters

If you’re looking for a bright pop of color in an otherwise fairly monotone room, this could really make a bold statement. I love the contrast of the teal with white, and this herringbone pattern is pretty popular lately (along with chevron, and a few other similar patterns you’ve probably seen around). Compliment this with some teal accessories, and you’ll have yourself a cheerful, bright room for reading, playing, or entertaining.

Luca Rug – Pottery Barn

This one is reminiscent of a traditional oriental rug in it’s colors and shapes, but also in the vine-like configuration surrounding the more central, pointed-tip flowers. (Of course this is a much more modern take on it.) I love the symmetry of the design, but also the variety of the shapes used. And the way the burnt red flowers pop out at you is delightful.

Diamante Flatweave – Restoration Hardware

What’s unusual about this one is the texture, and I love it! While it could be a bit of a tease for your toes, the raised crisscross pattern not only breaks up the otherwise neutral rug with it’s intersecting lines, but the shadows thrown by the raised fibers give it a kind of dimension that most rugs can’t accomplish with a single uniform fiber height.

As for why I chose the rugs I did for our dining room and living room… Well, it was a bit of a progression, since we did one room at a time!

In the dining room, the house came with wonderful rust-colored tin ceiling tiles installed in the dining room, which we loved! However, we also love our  blue clay dishes from Crate and Barrel. So the goal was to find a rug that would bring together the warm orange from the ceiling and the cool blue of the dishes. After choosing gray-toned woods for furniture and then fishing around for quite a while for the right rug, I found this one from Anthropologie.

Festival Rug – Anthropologie

It is the perfect combination of red, orange, blue, and gray for the room. The orange in the rug balances out the orange tones in the ceiling, while the blue and gray tones of the rug gently compliment the blue dishes and grayish wood table. (I also chose gray curtains to maintain the vertical balance in the room, making sure not to overwhelm the room in warm colors.)


my dining room, with rust-colored tin ceiling


dining room table combining blues, oranges, and grays

Next was the living room rug. We have a beautiful gray sofa I had been eye-ing for months before we finally got it. Once we finally had it in the house, I set out to find the perfect rug. Since I purposefully chose a sofa that would be neutral enough to go with almost any color, I could be fairly flexible. However, since our dining room is through a wide doorway that is open to the living room, I wanted to be sure that they flowed with each other well. So when I found this rug, again at Anthropologie, I knew it was the one!

Tufted Gingko Rug – Anthropologie

The dark background color for the design is a blue-ish steel gray, maintaining the link with blue and gray tones between the two rooms, and I loved the contrast against the white of the gingko design. Plus, that pop of yellow color was just what we needed to liven up the room (which otherwise consisted of only neutral colors). The other awesome thing about pairing this rug in the living room with our dining room rug is that they both have these wonderful radial shapes in a floral-but-not-too-feminine pattern. (Nothing wrong with feminine patterns, but that guy I married does also have to live here!)


my living room, gray base with some splashes of yellow to liven it up

Before finding this rug I’m not sure I would have thought to use yellow as an accent color in the living room, but now that it’s here I can see that a warm shade of yellow is the perfect color to brighten up the room. I love walking out into the living room in the morning to such cheery decor. It starts me off with a smile!

Which of these rugs is your favorite? What do you like most about it?

Searching for Treasure at the Pasadena City College Flea Market

This past Sunday, I went with a friend to Pasadena to check out the flea market at Pasadena City College. My experience with flea markets is usually that if you’re looking for one thing in particular, you probably won’t find it. So this time, I went with a list of things in mind that I’d like to find for the house (bedside tables, an accent chair, a rug, and a lamp), but I also went with an open mind, hoping that some lucky antique might find me instead.

Pasadena City College

Pasadena City College

This flea market set up was unique in that it was spread across campus in three sections, rather than being all contained in one area. At first I thought this was a little weird, but in retrospect my friend and I realized that it was a great way to disperse the crowds as people walked from one section to the next. I also really liked the reprieve from looking at so much stuff! By the time you get to the next section, your eyes feel refreshed and ready for the next round of rummaging!

One section of the flea market.

One section of the flea market.

All in all, I thought it was a great flea market! There was a fantastic variety of vendors, ranging from antique and furniture sellers, to comic book dealers, vinyl records, costume jewelry, clothing. And since this is a lesser traveled flea market than say the Rose Bowl flea market (very popular among us Angelenos), the prices are generally lower.

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comic books galore

an old bicycle for sale

an old bicycle for sale

Signs, furniture, and rugs all in one place!

Street signs, furniture, chandeliers, rugs, and even drums at this vendor!

I nearly picked up this chair for $75, before I realized that it would go with nothing in my house! But given the right space, and maybe even the time and know-how to re-upholster this baby, it could make for an awesome conversation piece!

I want this chair!

This chair has awesome potential!

My favorite find of the whole day was this incredible antique industrial sewing machine! I saw lots of looky-loos meandering around it from one side to the other, investigating it’s inner workings. Clearly this wouldn’t be a good bedside table or accent chair, but if I had a storefront (a la Anthropologie) to display it in, I would have been excited to snatch it up!

Antique Industrial Sewing Machine

Antique Industrial Sewing Machine

Instead, I did find a couple of decorative gems. Not the pieces I was hoping to find exactly, but I love them all the same! I thought this vintage metal motorcycle sign would be a fun addition to our home. It’s the right yellow to act as an accent to our new ginkgo-inspired rug. Plus, it reminds me of my dad, who was a great admirer of vintage motorcycles!

Vintage Metal Sign

Vintage Metal Sign

I also picked up this lovely arrangement of succulents in a bed of salvaged wood almost the exact same color as the reclaimed wood used in our dining room table. I love having plants like this in the house, bringing a little bit of nature and life inside (and perhaps also reminding us to spend some time outdoors!)

My own little succulent garden.

My own little succulent garden.

What’s your favorite flea market find? What kinds of things do you look for when you go to a flea market?