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The Great Rug Caper // Finding My Neutral Durable Layer

05.13.14 By //
Options for A Neutral Durable Rug Layer

I have been on the most amazing hunt recently and I'm not entirely sure I have found the perfect solution or even a good one just yet, but fingers crossed I just may have. I can tell you that there are no less than 1.2 billion options for rugs out there and I have browsed through virtually all of them in the last few months. I eat, sleep, and dream rugs right now. Also chairs and lamps but that is a story for another week, ya? I can only imagine that many of you have experienced this very same search at one time or another as well, so I figure perhaps we should compare notes… Or console each other and cry together, because this can easily be one of those brutal and difficult finds for your home if budget is a concern and you also happen to have special needs to consider and fill, while you try and stick within the confines of your coffers.

I always glaze over and chuckle with a slightly deranged laugh, which is really more like a cry or even a sob, when I hear people throw about phrases like 'budget friendly options' and then proceed to list off pillows for under $100 or rugs for every budget and they are priced at $1000 or more for a 4×6 or a 5×7. I mean… in what world is that actually budget friendly for an average person… because, please take me there, I want to live there, forever and ever, yahoo. And seriously if I only ever needed a 5×7 rug I think I might do a cartwheel, or 7. I never ever need anything smaller than a 6×9, and typically I need an 8×10, always.

Unless I am living alone on poor man's island here, that just isn't realistic for most of us who work for a living as a means to support our families and not as a hobby that provides disposable income for shopping. Or, for those of us who need rugs in our homes for the purpose of keeping our children in one piece… Bird I'm looking at you kiddo, Mommy would be soooo proud if you could stop banging your adorable forehead on the ceramic tile floor. Ugh. Maybe you need rugs on the floor to keep the heating costs down in the winter, or to cover that crazy stain on your carpet while you save your pennies for new flooring… whatever your reason, I hear you loud and clear and I feel your pain. The general cost of these items is for the most part so very high that I'm priced right out of the market before I even get my foot in the door. If my entire downstairs is bathed in ginormous ceramic tile, which it is, then by my calculations (which are totally accurate of course) that equals approximately 8 point 4 million dollars worth of rugs that need to be purchased for me to keep the Bird's brain intact until he is old enough to avoid sudden death on his own = Just. Not. Affordable.

More Options for A Neutral Durable Rug Layer

It's an arduous task at best to find something large enough to suit my needs that I can also afford, but throw in any special circumstances… 'Bird, Mommy is looking at you again honey'… like dogs or kids who spill, and feel the need to lay or roll around on the floor, or crunch milk bones you can essentially just forget having anything special or on trend most of the time. It's enough to bring on the maniacal, semi-deranged (ok completely deranged) sounding laughter (complete and utter sob). It's bad enough that as parents we have to go without certain things while the 'kids' are still in the house, but to have to go without because of budget is a hard one to swallow. There are more than a few items that are extremely high priced in the world of retail, and rugs are one of those things, but I'm happy to report that at least where rugs are concerned, there are in fact some absolutely amazing options that are not only large and in charge but totally real world affordable. I can't say as much for some of the other items, ahem… but in my great rug search… I certainly had a few silver lining moments these last several weeks. I have in fact found what I consider to be some reasonable options that are budget friendly on my real world level and fill my own personal criteria for keeping the Bird from getting brain damage (meaning thick and cushiony) and also maybe even solving for durability and dirt (taking this baby outside to clean is not an option… I will share a funny story about this later). Maybe. I might have to keep you posted on that status, but on paper it's good. I heard from a few readers over on the HGTV blog, and so I followed their advice and gave things a whirl. So far so good, and I shall spill the beans with you guys on the my empirical science project once I have some steadfast results. Ha!

Today I'm sharing my process with you, the good, the bad, and the just won't worky in my housey, but I totally still lovey. le sigh. Of course we should talk about my needs while we are at it. You know, like therapy. Clearly I need therapy and lot's of it. Keep it coming..

Needs: large, cushiony and thick, light in color since the space feels dark with a darker rug (I tried this option-wasn't a good look), durable, easy to clean and care for or doesn't show dirt.

-The hardest part here is thick in a light color and durable. I mean it doesn't get more ironic than that set of contrasting requirements.


-Jute: This option is durable, can be thick ranging to extremely chunky, has great texture, but can be rough or at least isn't always soft and is a bit monotone especially in a large size.

-Leather: I hear this is the bees knees when it comes to durability and I love that it provides interest and potentially can provide a light color. Thickness is not something this will give me, however. So close…

-Shag: This will give me the cush and softness I'm seeking, but in a light color I will have the issue of dirt and spills needing to be cleaned or showing badly and that becomes a problem after about 2 or 3 months.

-Indoor/Outdoor: This is a fabulous solution for easy cleanability and crazy good durability especially with kids and pets, but unfortunately this lacks the cush I need to keep the Bird's head bump free.

The Neutral Durable Rug Layer Collection of Options


1 // Leather Patchwork Rug – totally durable, naturally stain repellant (you don't see many cows walking around with stains…), light and bright, but not quite thick enough and way out of my price range most of the time. But oh so pretty and lovely, ya? 2 // Anji Mountain Herringbone Jute – This beauty is textural, durable, large, thick and by golly much softer than you might expect. A fab contender. 3 // Tangier Rug – Nice pattern, perhaps a bit busy for my purposes but definitely cush and thick. Whether it's soft or not I couldn't say, but it's definitely pricey. 4 // Pasargad Moroccan – This gal is cushy and interesting, light and not to dark, patterned and perfect but oh so very pricey for me. 5 // Tangier Tribal Rug – Love the Pattern and lightness, and the thickness is good, but it only comes in a 5×8 so I would need 2 which makes it more pricey than I want. 6 // Izteca Rug – Durable, probably soft with the addition of chenille along with the jute, good pattern, but way too thin. If thin works for you, a great option for sure since price isn't bad at all. 7 // Kaleen Herringbone Jute – This gal is a beauty and at an 8×10 size she comes in at $439 so for me this is tolerable for a large rug. I would prefer $199, but let's be real that is a bit of a fantasy price most of the time.

8 // Moderna Shag Rug – Not a Beni Ourain but a much more budget friendly option, let's call it the Budget Beni, shall we? Light in color, but not solid and so not boring, soft and cushy, but definitely going to show the dirt and spills after a couple of months, and too pricey for me at $811. 9 // Leather + Hemp Rug – This gorgeous beast is textural and durable, the perfect specimen coming in at under $200 for a 9×12 which is pure insanity folks… but she's thin, ugh. 10 // Woodstock Jet Black – How cute is this guy? He isn't quite so cute in a larger size unfortunately, but moderately priced, durable, textural and moderately thick so not a bad option all around. I would like to pay less of course… 11 // Marrakech Shag Rug – another Beni Ourain on a Budget style rug and a lovely version with great cushiony fluff, but again with that light color it would be toast in two months flat at my house. And at just under $700 for an 8×10, more than I would like to pay. What can I say, I'm cheap I guess. 12 // Waide Neutral – Nice texture but a bit pricey and a tad on the monotone side, ya? Also way too thin for the bird… 13 // Leather Matador Rug – Big, Cheap, Bold, Beautiful, Bright, the only downside is this baby isn't thick and cushy. But might be great for layering.

Layered Jute Herringbone Rug with Cowhide Rug

Here is my stroke of genius, that many others have had before me and isn't my stroke of genius at all except for the fact that I finally caught on to the concept. So, a big huge duh I guess… Layering, ya. I mean I always got the point – to a point. But I sort of thought it was more about the look than any real purpose, so clearly I have other special needs that I should probably address in the very near future, but just in case you do too I will spell it out. It's so that those of us with 'special flooring needs' can join in on the stylish side of design at ground level when we wish to without investing much in the way of budget (or size). If I purchase a super sized neutral durable layer for my main squeeze layer, and then when the mood strikes I purchase something fun in a much smaller size, I won't feel so bad when I tire of that thing…. aaaannnndddd… because it can be smaller, it will be a less expensive trend for me to enjoy for a fleeting amount of time. I don't know why it took me so long to figure this out. Are you all rolling your eyes at me right now with a big loser sign in the air. Yes sometimes the blond isn't just surface level my friends… My family is laughing their asses off right now because while I may appear very studious at times (especially with my glasses on), when I have my less than intelligent moments, they are whoppers. Oh ya. And usually quite hilarious, so frankly I could care less and can enjoy them too.

So here are two of my faves right now for layering combos: The jute and cowhide rug combo and the jute and colorful turkish rug combo. One brings light and brightness with good durability and interest (the cowhide) and the other brings some color, global presence and interest.

Layered Jute Herringbone Rug with Vintage Turkish Tulu Rug

Are you into the layering thing? What are you loving right now for inexpensive rug choices? Please fill me in on your finds… I'm all ears my friends!

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