My new modus operandus with regards to decor is to work on ONE room at a time instead of doing a bunch of projects at random around the whole house.  I am a total fan of this discipline!  It’s helping me focus on what needs to be done next, and it’s given me a real sense of accomplishment as I see the changes more quickly when I concentrate them in one room at at time.  We all know a room is never really finished, but this way it can be finished for now.

Good news, ladies.  The living room is almost ready for the final reveal.  I need to cut some moulding for a mirror frame, hide some cords, and patch a few nail holes… but that’s it!

You might remember that in my initial breakdown of the living room tweaks, I really wanted a new rug.  The one we’ve had for 2 1/2 years has been quite functional but only slightly decorative.  It’s a 5×8 brown short loop carpet… I always think of it as “office-y.”  I painted chevron stripes on it a while back with watered down white paint but it’s mostly worn off or faded.  For some reason it shows up more in photos – in person it’s barely noticeable.  You can see it a bit in this photo from my lamp redo.

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As it turned out, we had enough money in the Large Purchases account to let me go rug shopping (yay!!).  I don’t trust online rug shopping because I really want to see the colors and touch the texture in person for something I have one shot to get right.  Returns on something that big is an expensive hassle, so picture me driving all over town on a few different weekends to look at rugs in various Home Goods, World Markets, etc., with a three month old in tow.  It got old.

Then I found the rug of my dreams – an 8×10 muted wool Oriental with the perfect colors.  If you’re going to have a rug with many colors, you really should start with it, not try to find one that matches your existing scheme.  I got really lucky with this.

I brought it home, laid it out… and whoa, it was a foot longer than the tag said.  It blocked the front door.

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And the more I looked at it, the more I realized it wasn’t actually the direction I wanted to go anyway.  Well!  I had been positive that I wanted a muted oriental carpet to add a more traditional element to the graphic pillows in the living room.   I love the designs on so many of these carpets.  But when I looked at it all together, I didn’t love it.  It pushed things too far in the traditional direction.

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So really this was a blessing in disguise.  I found literally the PERFECT rug and realized it wasn’t the right one.  I was free to broaden my scope and look for other things.

Here’s what I realized:

  • I didn’t want a lot of color or a bold graphic print – even though I love these rugs on their own, they’re too much for my living room.
  • I needed something kid friendly – we are on the first of (hopefully) several babies and for the next 10 years or so we can expect plenty of spills and spit up.  This rug will basically be the playroom floor since our house is small, so it has to be easily cleaned and hide dirt.
  • I looked through my pinned and filed living room images and discovered most of them had some sort of natural fiber rug – jute, sisal, or seagrass.

After MUCH research I settled that a real natural fiber was going to be hard to clean spills from, though they are great at hiding dirt.  They can stain with plain water!  Wetness releases natural oils that can discolor the area, and also smells are hard to get out.

To make sure I liked the look of natural fiber in real life, I bought a jute rug from Target expressly to look at and return.  I  liked it.  Texture!  Awesome.

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So I decided to go with a synthetic “natural fiber” rug.  I highly recommend Sisal Direct – you can request up to five rug samples for free (WOW) and they have hands down the best prices, about $250 for a high quality 5×8 synthetic sisal.  Other sites were in the $400 range.  I was a bit sad to pay hundreds for what is basically a plastic rug, but it really was the best choice for my situation.  Just because of the price tag on that material I found myself waiting to pull the trigger.

I found a neat textured rug on World Market’s website that looked like it would hide dirt very well, and being made of 100% wool would be easy to get stains out of too (yes, low pile and flat weave wool is very child friendly).  But it was too expensive at $400, and my store didn’t have it to check the color in person.  It’s the Peacock Rug.

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And then I went to Home Depot and just for fun, looked through their rugs.  Well!  There was a synthetic sisal rug that looked extremely realistic with plenty of variety in the fiber color, was just the right shade of toast brown, and only cost $99 for the 5×8 size.  I checked it out online and out of 43 reviews, EVERY. ONE. was a 4 or 5 star review.  That just doesn’t happen with cheap rugs.  I was so happy to pay just $100 for a plastic rug instead of $250, and when I compared my Sisal Direct samples to it, the quality was only slightly less because of a somewhat looser weave.  I decided to go with the Home Depot rug. Here’s a closeup so you can see the color and texture.

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Shipping to my front door was free,  hurrah, so it should be here in a week or so and then I’ll put together a final living room reveal!  I’m so excited :)

Rug shopping – fun or nightmare?  What has your experience been?

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