The right floor covering can uncover the warmth of any room.
by Karen Derr
“Picture, picture, Persian rug” is an adage that states a surefire formula for sprucing up a room. Likewise, “A room without a rug is like a kiss without a hug” was such a popular slogan in the 1980s it was the subject of a trademark lawsuit. Mehdi Abedi, co-owner of Pride of Persia Rug Co., likes to say, “Get your rug out of the closet.”
But maybe you think your grandmother’s rug is too traditional for your not-so-traditional lifestyle. Persian rugs have graced American homes since our founders arrived, but traditional homes are not the only places where Persian rugs look great. Talented Houston designers are placing the handmade rugs in lofts, ranch homes, and even ultra-contemporary dwellings for the same reasons they choose this elegant floor covering for traditional abodes.
A rug adds comfort, sound control and beauty, and Persian rugs are inherently natural and durable, even for pets and children. That’s why Abedi and business partner Lisa Slappey encourage you to get your Persian rug out of storage and enjoy it. If it is not one you love, then trade it in. Good rugs hold their value and are best cared for when laid out in a room and admired daily, not rolled up in storage where moths and mildew can damage them.
If you’re redecorating or starting with a new home, follow the example of designer Lynne T. Jones: begin with the rug as your anchor and work up. Besides being durable and easy to clean, Persian rugs, which are usually made of wool, come in many colors and patterns. Although they may feature elaborate floral motifs to fit in a traditional or Victorian room, they also come in geometric and tribal patterns that work well in both casual and eclectic decors. A reputable dealer will let you take a rug home on approval at no charge to make sure it’s right for the space.
Good newer Persian rugs may be priced more reasonably than you would expect, typically starting around $20 per square foot. Rugs more than 80 years old are categorized as antiques, while good quality rugs with some age (the “over 40” set) have already passed their test of time and are the antiques of tomorrow. Bargain hunters may find treasures among trade-ins and “scratch and dent” pieces.
Fear that fine rugs are too expensive, too heavily patterned, or too fragile for everyday use are all unfounded reasons some people don’t consider purchasing good rugs. Another reason one might avoid buying Persian rugs is fear of making a decision. With so many beautiful patterns and colors available, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with choices. Fear of dealing with the rug dealers, who have a reputation for tough negotiating with uneducated buyers, may also keep some out of the market.
For those who want to learn more about rugs, Slappey and Abedi offer an eight-week course, “The World of Persian Rugs,” through Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. The experts at Pride of Persia Rug Co. advise you to do your homework, check references, and don’t let cultural differences intimidate you. A Persian rug can finish your room or, better yet, be the foundation on which to build a beautiful decor that is comfortable and elegant all at once.
Karen Derr, a Houston-based Realtor for over 20 years, writes and speaks about home and small-business topics.