Home » Client Project: Connecting the Dots Starting with a New Rug

Client Project: Connecting the Dots Starting with a New Rug

I’m a big believer in rugs and how they can make a room and really define the space. I’ve written about this before and so I was really excited to take on a project that I’m affectionately calling #ProjectConnecttheDots. The impetus for the project was to help a family – longtime friends of mine and their CUTE little girl! – outside of Boston find a new rug for their living room rather quickly with the larger goal of modernizing the space and connecting it to the adjoining dining room over the long run. The inspiration for the entire space was this bright and happy print the couple bought on a trip to Iceland several years ago.

Art Print from Iceland. Photo taken by client.

And so here is how we are connecting the dots between the living room and dining room starting with a fabulous new rug.

The directive from my friend Quynh, leader of #ProjectConnecttheDots, was for recommendations on a rug, throw pillows, upholstery for vintage chairs and side tables in the living room, but most immediately a new rug. She wanted a cooler toned rug, more contemporary than what they have now, and something that could hide toddler stains. The new rug would need to go with her living room furniture – a matching blue gray couch and chair from Room & Board and vintage wood furniture (including chairs that she would like to eventually get reupholstered) – and walls painted a light gray. Her budget was $200 for the rug.

Photo of old rug taken by client and edited by yours truly so the focus is on the rug.

For the overall redesign of the living room, she said she was looking for a gray, blue and yellow color scheme to complement and match the colorful print hanging above the couch. Also, she wants the living room to go more with the dining room.

Photo of dining room taken by client.


Upon reviewing the images she sent and how she described the room and what she was looking for, I made the following suggestions on how to connect the two rooms:

  • Add rug with a color inspired by the brightly colored print that either complements or matches the rug in the dining room.
  • Complement the new rug with a different color and style upholstery for chairs, also inspired by the print and also tying into the color of the dining room.
  • Based on colors and patterns chosen for the new rug and then upholstery, choose throw pillows for the matching couch and chair.
  • Add decorative elements to the dining room built-in to tie it into the living room and make it pop.
  • Make sure elements chosen in both rooms offer different textures, colors and patterns – including metal and glass items – so nothing feels flat.

Combining multiple rugs in one open area can be hard, especially when each area has its own purpose or feeling. Some of my favorite interior designers and stylists do it really well and all offer the same advice: When combining multiple rugs in one area, it’s best that both rugs carry similar weight visually, are the exact same style rug or the rug matches the color story of the room. For #ProjectConnecttheDots, this meant adding another Oriental or vintage-style rug, a rug of saturated colors like the deep red and blue of the dining room rug or a rug that goes with the neutral grays and wood tones of both rooms.

I chose two bits of information as my direction to find a new rug: 1. the colors of the artwork, and 2. the vintage and saturated color style of the dining room rug. I decided to go bold and suggested either a yellow or pink – that’s right, I said pink! – rug. I suggested yellow because, well, she had mentioned that being a color she wanted to add to the space, it’s one of the colors in the piece of artwork, and, as it’s a primary color, it goes well with the primary colors of the red and blue rug in the dining room. As an alternative, I suggested a pink/fuchsia rug because it’s also a color in the artwork and that color is in the same family as red, tying it to the dining room rug. As pink and yellow go so well together, I suggested that she go with pink upholstery for the chairs if she went with a yellow rug and yellow upholstery if she went with a pink rug.

I provided six options and mentioned that if going with both yellow and pink/fuchsia in one room was too much color, then we could swap out one of those colors for a gray.

Option 1: Rug by Safavieh on Overstock, upholstery fabric at Joann Fabrics

Option 2: Rug by Safavieh on Rugs USA, upholstery fabric at Joann Fabrics

Option 3: Nuloom rug at Target, upholstery fabric at Joann Fabrics

Option 4: Reiko rug at One Kings Lane, upholstery fabric at Decorative Fabrics Direct

Option 5: Rug by Silky Road at Rugs USA, upholstery fabric at Decorative Fabrics Direct

Option 6: Nuloom rug at Target, upholstery fabric at Decorative Fabrics Direct

She came back and said that, even though she likes the first yellow rug, she thinks a pink or yellow rug might be too bold for their tastes. She would prefer a cooler-toned room with a blue or gray rug to let the print pop more, with perhaps yellow or pink decorative pillows and maybe yellow or blue fabric for the chairs. She sent along this image from Room & Board as inspiration. Note to self: ask for inspiration images first!

Image from Room & Board

I found a few more rug options that I thought fit what she was looking for:

Option 1: A modern pattern in her desired color scheme with a pop of color by Varick Gallery from Wayfair.

Option 2: A pattern that I think will play well off the patterned rug in the connecting dining room, the pattern also is a similar design style to the first yellow rug option she liked, and this rug is in her color scheme but not too bold, by Nuloom from Overstock.

Option 3: A solid gray with variations in the color that will provide a textured look and, even though it’s not patterned, it will be dark enough to hide stains, by Safavieh on Overstock.

Option 4: A very similar pattern to the rug in her inspiration image, in her color scheme, and a pattern that goes well with almost any design style, also by Safavieh on Overstock.

Quynh loved Option 4, the gray diamond-patterned rug, and was about to pull the trigger until she saw they also had it in navy blue that I somehow missed. We all agreed that navy was the way to go – I love me some gray, but if you’ve ever read this blog, you see how much I love color too – and she ordered it in 8×10. And voila!

Photo of new rug in living room taken by client.

Here is a view of the living room looking toward the dining room so you can see how the new rug helps tie the living room to the adjoining room better.

New living room rug helps tie space to the adjoining room better. Photo taken by client.

Next steps in #ProjectConnecttheDots are to figure out what to do with those vintage chairs, select decorative pillows for the couch and chair in the living room, choose side tables that help carry the dining room style into the living room and find items for the dining room (especially the built-in) that tie into the living room. I hope to be able to share more of #ProjectConnecttheDots with you. For now, what do you think of the new rug? Weigh in below.


  1. Jmk says:

    Not to diss the choice of a fellow hometowner but I do think your initial instinct was the right one. They chose the safer choice. But i agree — Inspiration photos first!

  2. Natalie says:

    I think I personally would have liked your option #1 or 4 better for the space (it’s a little visually dark maybe?), but I do think the two rugs tie in to each other and it is nice. With different placement of the furniture and the next steps you have planned I think it can come together nicely.

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