The Art Underfoot


The tight weave of this elegant hand spun needlepoint is based on an Aubusson design. The dominant red floral border frames a more subdued, blue floral pattern, much as the rug itself frames the furniture resting on top. It is the quintessential foundation of a French Traditional interior.



The dimensions of a long, narrow living room required a custom rug that took six months to complete. It was well worth it. The intricate, finely detailed pattern, with sparkling jewel colors, is from an antique Sarouk design, woven in Pakistan.


Lake GLRSometimes it is the texture that dominates. This plush Moroccan features a geometric pattern, which fits the scheme, but it is the layered weave of the carpet that speaks to the warm, rustic Adirondack style.



A modern Oriental design uses wool from New Zealand, hand spun in India. It works well in a contemporary setting, the symmetrically abstract design and earth tones softening the ceramic stone floor below.



The vegetable dyed wool rug covering most of a master bedroom on Central Park adds a strong dose of coziness, the soft striated blue color overlaid with branches of golden flowers, mirroring the branches on the trees outside.


Think of your floor as a canvass. Just as you prepare a canvass, so your floor is prepared by covering it with polished wood or wall-to-wall carpeting or stone. Now the area rugs—the artwork under your feet—are placed on top. They may be composed of intricate floral, geometric or abstract patterns, in solid or multi-hued colors. They can be made of hand knotted or hand woven wool or synthetics. They can be plush or stitched in thin needlework. They can cover virtually an entire room or small seating area, a staircase or long corridor.

At their best area rugs qualify as artwork that happens to be on the floor. The mood they create can set the tone for a space, providing an evocative platform that drives the design. Some area rugs are so decorative they can easily hang on a wall, as I have done on occasion, but how much nicer to feel the texture and suppleness beneath your feet.

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