How enjoyable is the rug category? Just ask these designers

Moderator Andrea Lillo, left, spoke with interior designers Thom Filicia, Christopher Todd, Gina D’Amore Bauerie, Christopher Kennedy and Kimberly Joi McDonald in the Feizy showroom at Las Vegas Market.

LAS VEGAS – Area rugs subtly perform a lot of functions in a room — from grounding and defining it, to creating a smaller, intimate space within a larger one, to providing texture and dimension to an overall design—which is why most designers consider them critical to any good room design.

Five interior designers extolled the virtues of well-designed rugs and the manufacturers that provide them during a lively panel discussion in the Feizy showroom here at Las Vegas Market yesterday.

“It’s an exciting time for rugs,” said Las Vegas-based interior designer Kimberly Joi McDonald, who praised the range of different finishes and styles currently available on the market, from metallics to cowhides to dimensional designs.

Designer Thom Filicia said rugs provide an opportunity to mix things up, have fun and tell a story.

The designers also gave the rug industry kudos for their high-quality indoor/outdoor rugs and the ability to make machine-made rugs looks as good as hand knotted ones.

When moderator Andrea Lillo, executive editor of sister publication Designers Today, asked panelists what they looked for when sourcing rugs, McDonald said she considers sustainability, performance, the amount of traffic in the room where the rug will be placed, what the rug is made of and whether it will stand the test of time.

Filicia said he considers comfort, quality and durability—he later noted that most homeowners hold onto their rugs longer than they do many other home furnishings and do not consider them disposable.

Interior designer Gina D’Amore Bauerie also stressed the importance of good-quality rugs. “I’m a rug snob,” she declared. “If I can smell a rug from 10 feet away, I’m not buying it.”

She also seeks out unique designs and often builds a room around them. “I demand my clients choose a rug before anything else,” she said.

Fellow designer Christopher Todd takes the opposite design approach. “I’m a solid-color, subtle pattern kind of guy,” he declared.

The group had a varied response on the topic of sustainability—some of them are passionate about it and have clients who feel the same way; others said the issue of sustainability never comes up for them, though most agreed the topic is an important one that calls for more education on their part.

They also had mixed feelings about one-of-a-kind rugs: taking clients shopping for them is not an easy process, they admitted, and many steer clear. Filicia, however, loves them and likes to mix one-of-a-kinds with contemporary designs to lend a sense of history and a certain patina to a room.

Customizing rugs is another story, however. Most of the panelists admitted to cutting down and rebinding an existing rug to fit a particular size and shape of room; Filicia also advocated for sewing two rugs together to fit a space if necessary. Christopher Kennedy spoke about an amoeba-shaped design he once created and was particularly proud of.

Overall, the panelists gave the industry high marks and said manufacturers have not overlooked anything.

Well, there is actually one thing — if only they could find a way to make a new rug lie flat as soon as it is unrolled, then life would be perfect, they all agreed.

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