Scandinavian, a carpet, circa 1960. Wool, hand-woven, flat-weave, 7 ft. 3 in. x 5 ft. (221 x 145 cm.). Estimate $1,500-2,500

10 tips for displaying rugs at home

Rugs aren’t just for the living-room floor — specialist Elisabeth Parker offers inspiration for transforming an interior, illustrated with a selection of works from our May 2016 online sale

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  • Escape the utilitarian

Practical spaces don’t have to be dull. Consider replacing utilitarian mats in your bathroom or kitchen with something brighter. A colourful rug can enliven a sterile space – drawing the eye to pattern, rather than your stainless steel refrigerator. Give your feet a happy place to stand when you’re at the sink washing dishes!

Ingrid Dessau (b.1923), a reversible carpet, circa 1960. Wool, hand-woven, flat-weave. 9 ft 7 in x 6 ft 2 in (292 x 189 cm). This work was offered in Design Carpets, 17-26 May 2016, Online

Ingrid Dessau (b.1923), a reversible carpet, circa 1960. Wool, hand-woven, flat-weave. 9 ft 7 in x 6 ft 2 in (292 x 189 cm). This work was offered in Design: Carpets, 17-26 May 2016, Online

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  • Give old furnishings a facelift

Tired of an old sofa but not ready to reupholster, or bored of a neutral colour scheme? Tuck a thin rug under the bottom cushion to instantly give Grandma’s sofa a makeover.

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  • …or use rugs to upholster

Consider using a rug to cover or upholster an Ottoman. A fun, colourful rug can make for a vibrant centrepiece. Don’t be afraid to consider rugs with a deep pile, which can be great for bringing an element of texture or warmth.

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  • An ideal addition to a well-made bed

A thin rug, draped across the bottom of a bed, can bring a taste of opulence into the room — perfect for elegantly warm toes in winter.

Scandinavian, a carpet, circa 1960. Wool, hand-woven, flat-weave, 7 ft 3 in x 5 ft (221 x 145 cm). Estimate $1,500-2,500. This work was offered in Design Carpets, 17-26 May 2016, Online

Scandinavian, a carpet, circa 1960. Wool, hand-woven, flat-weave, 7 ft 3 in x 5 ft (221 x 145 cm). Estimate: $1,500-2,500. This work was offered in Design: Carpets, 17-26 May 2016, Online

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  • …or an alternative headboard

Can’t find the right headboard, or fallen in love with a particular design? Hang a textile or a rug above your bed for an instant game-changer.

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  • Perfect for wide empty walls

Hanging a textile or rug can be an ideal way to bring colour to bare walls – with large pieces providing statement-making coverage.

Sigvard Bernadotte (1907-2002), a carpet, circa 1960. Wool, hand-knotted pile. 6 ft 1 in x 4 ft 4 in (185 x 132 cm). This work was offered in Design Carpets, 17-26 May 2016, Online

Sigvard Bernadotte (1907-2002), a carpet, circa 1960. Wool, hand-knotted pile. 6 ft 1 in x 4 ft 4 in (185 x 132 cm). This work was offered in Design: Carpets, 17-26 May 2016, Online

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  • Dapper dining

Drape a kilim, or flat tapestry-woven rug, over a table instead of a tablecloth for an instant make-over.

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  • Break the rules

Conventional wisdom dictates that a rug should follow the shape of the room and be surrounded by a border of one to two feet of exposed wooden flooring – and that the feet of all furniture should rest on your carpet. But those rules can be broken and often help create a dynamic space that bucks tradition.

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  • Don’t compromise because of size

Fallen in love with a rug that is too small?  Place it on a larger Sisal, or woven base: you’ll add colour and texture, and the size will cease to matter.

Scandinavian, a carpet, circa 1950. Wool, hand-woven, flat-weave. 5 ft 1 in x 4 ft 7 in (155 x 138.5 cm). Estimate $1,500-2,500. This work was offered in Design Carpets, 17-26 May 2016, Online

Scandinavian, a carpet, circa 1950. Wool, hand-woven, flat-weave. 5 ft 1 in x 4 ft 7 in (155 x 138.5 cm). Estimate: $1,500-2,500. This work was offered in Design: Carpets, 17-26 May 2016, Online

  • 10
  • Show your rug to maximum effect

If your room is an unconventional shape, display your rug at an angle — a tactic that can also work well in a bedroom, ensuring that the beauty of a rug isn’t hidden by a bed. This is especially effective when the carpet itself, or its design, isn’t perfectly symmetrical.