I Hate My New Area Rug But My Decorator Thinks It’s Fabulous!

Dear Laurel,

I’m hoping that you can turn this into a post. It’s about my new area rug.

It’s for our large living/great room.

This is the look I was going for. Every since you did that post a few months ago about getting the Mark D Sikes look, I’ve been drooling over his living room… In fact, I’ve drooled so much that I collect it in a bucket and use it to water the garden!

Here are some more rooms that I love.

Suzanne Kasler Oushak area rug layered over seagrass in a gorgeous bedroom

Suzanne Kasler


Michael Hampton


Giannetti Home Oushak area rug

Giannetti Home

Patricia McLean Oushak area rug

Patricia McLean


I hired a decorator to help me achieve this. (not Patricia McLean. I wish!)

She seemed nice enough, but she’s only been in business two years and I should’ve gotten someone with more experience.


My tale of woe.


We decided to do an area rug for our great room which measures 18 x 24. I really was hoping to do a beautiful Oushak area rug but my decorator, I’ll call her Dee said that wouldn’t be possible because there needs to be a one-foot perimeter of wood showing, all the way around the room.

Plus there’s a cut-out for the fireplace.

That means that we needed a 16′ x 22′ area rug and that it would need to be custom-made from broadloom.

And let me tell you that this rug is bloody expensive. By the time it was fabricated with the surged binding, the rug pad, delivery and spread plus sales tax, the cost was $7,500.00

And Laurel, I hate it. I hate this area rug.


I realize that I must sound like a whiny, entitled shrew, but my husband and I (we’re both college professors) have worked very hard for the last 20 years and I thought that we were doing everything right by hiring a professional decorator.

We ended up with a pattern that looked nice in the 12″ x 18″ sample, but multiply that by 200 and it’s so not what I wanted, I just can’t tell you.

And there’s a big fat seam because the broadloom is only 12 feet wide. I was told that it would hardly be noticeable if at all.

Ha! That’s a crock! You can see it before you even enter the room!

Where did we go wrong? And how on earth am I going to fix this?

Oh, did I tell you that our very “nice” decorator Dee didn’t want to hear about her mistake. I was quite dubious from the get-go. She talked me into that rug. She said that I needed to step out of my comfort zone and said that it would be “fabulous.”

She waltzed in yesterday and proclaimed.



When I told her that I was quite unhappy with the rug, she looked at me like I had just told her that her baby was fat and ugly. (he kind of is, but I would never say that)

“Oh, you just need to adjust,” she said.

I see… Well, I guess she’s going to need to adjust to the fact that I’m firing her. Stat!

Thanks for any insight you can provide. Hopefully, there’s something here that will be of interest to other readers.

Patricia Peshawar-Mashad


Okay— I’ve done a LOT of area rugs over the years. Big, little, custom, non-custom.

And there are some myths that I need to clear up right now in regard to the one-foot away from the wall area rug rule.

While sometimes it is a good rule of thumb to leave a one foot margin of wood around the room, quite often, that is not the case.

And the larger the room, the more that’s apt to be true.

The other thing I’ve learned is when in doubt, go a size down.


Myth number two about furniture and the area rug


All of the furniture legs need to be sitting 100% on the rug.

Sure, most of the time, but it is not critical. (please see below)


Oushak area rug for Ballard Designs by Suzanne Kasler

Suzanne Kasler for Ballard Designs


But what you do want to avoid are tables and case pieces half on and half off the rug.

BTW, this is another topic, but something I learned over the years is that when you get a cabinet delivered and the doors are all wonky and the legs are wobbly— 98% of the time, it is NOT the cabinet.

It’s the floor. uh huh. But yes, the doors, drawers, etc. very often require adjusting.


Back to the topic at hand. The area rug.


In addition, you don’t want to create a situation where you need to walk several feet with one foot on the rug and the other foot on the floor. Therefore, when planning out the room, the size of the rug needs to be adjusted one way or the other.

In the case of a very small room with a lot of built-ins. We might do an area rug and only leave 6″-8″ of wood margin showing.


Now, let’s examine Patricia’s great room.


Of course, I haven’t seen it, but I’ve done area rugs for many great rooms.

Ahhhhhh… Wait. the discussion of Patricia’s tale of woe will have to simmer for a sec.


it’s time for a story.


A true story… way back in the year 2000. I had seen in a magazine where the designer had taken two or three bound seagrass rugs and butted them up together to make one big rug.

Mark D Sikes layered area rug for Southern Living showhouse
It was very much like in Mark D Sike’s showhouse room; only this is jute instead of seagrass.

I thought, “how cool!” And my client liked the idea too.

So, that’s what I did. I had made for her three 6 feet x 18 feet area rugs.

I was there for installation day.

The installer was concerned that the rugs would slip and thought that he should put some heavy-duty double-stick tape underneath the rug and taped to the floor.

I had figured that the heavy furniture would be enough and the rug pad, but he said no.

The room was formerly the garage and the floor was newly refinished. But it had been drying for a few weeks.

I said, “okay.”

After all, he was the expert.

Fast forward a couple of months later.

I was at the house and the client who was as nice as can be said that something was wrong with the rugs. They kept buckling and there were gaps in places where the rugs were supposed to be sitting snuggly next to each other.

I’m starting to quietly FREAK OUT and then I crouched down to lift up a corner of one of the rugs to see if I could budge it and to my horror, there was a thick gunky residue of double-stick tape glue.

Think a dehydrated Alien.

Oh man… How much is this going to cost me???

It could’ve been worse. The floor was not wrecked in the slightest, but I was a nervous wreck until the guy came back and got the glue off the floor.

Then, the rugs had to get picked up and taken to a fabricator and he SEWED THE THREE RUGS TOGETHER.

With pick up, delivery and spread, plus the labor, I seem to recall that it was close to $1,500.

But after that, everything was just fine. Lesson learned.

Another time about ten years ago, a client demanded that I cut down her living room seagrass rug. I really thought that it was fine, but she was insistent.

Of course, one can go too small, too.

But we know the remedy for that.


If it’s a living room, usually, we need to leave about 18″-24″ around the perimeter to allow for tables and whatnot.

That is unless there are built-ins. Then it might be only one foot.


And more often than not, the sofa is actually not on the area rug at all, or just by a few inches. (the front legs) That way, we don’t have to deal with the end tables being half on and half off the rug.


Now, let’s take a look again at Patricia’s room and what her options are with her area rug.


First, I would live with it for a few weeks, because sometimes there is an adjustment period when you get something new and it’s a big thing.

But I would never put it the way that Dee Decorator did!

If after a month, the area rug is still despised, I would strongly consider selling it. Or giving it to charity. Or something.


In further exploration of Patricia’s situation; did she need a custom area rug?


Probably not.

Her room is quite wide and when I have a room that’s really big and square-ish and wide, I always float the sofa. Always. Unless there’s a back to back sofa situation. But that’s floated too.

So, in all likelihood, a 10′ x 14′ standard size rug would’ve been truly fabulous! Or maybe even a 9 x 12 or some other size.

And then again, she could’ve done a smaller area rug and layered it over sea grass or jute, like Mark’s rug in his showhouse room.

The thing about Oushak reproduction rugs is that they can get very expensive. The real antiques are out of the question for 99.999% of us.

But, I found some great buys on Overstock and Wayfair.

My favorite rug vendor on Overstock is Herat.

And so far, my favorite vendor on Wayfair is Darya

Just beautiful. Oh, and a lot of the rugs on Overstock at Herat are on sale for the two more days only. Actually, I believe that the sale is site-wide.

In the meantime, since I too, love these pale tone on tone rugs, I put together a bunch of them for you.

For more information about any of them and to see them up close, please click on the individual images.




A few notes. Lots of places sell seagrass area rugs. Here’s a whole page of ’em on Overstock.

And most of them are on sale right now.


Speaking of sales.


Please don’t forget. Only 24 hours for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

And two more days for the fabulous Serena and Lily Tent Sale.


And this morning, since I subscribe to S&L news updates, they sent me a code to get another 15% off of their already hugely discounted prices!

Here’s the code:


Of course, there are many other fabulous sales going on. You can find out about some of them on the hot sales page.


Well, I’m sure that there will be more questions concerning area rugs.

Fire away, but please any questions need to be for the benefit of everyone.

Thanks so much!


Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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