And Now For A Kitchen Rug Fashion Show

Ah, the rugs in our kitchen. They were $34 from The Company Store ages ago (maybe 2008?). They originally lived in our first house’s kitchen and third bedroom, and they’re awesomely durable and neutral – but they don’t really do anything for the new kitchen (in person they’re a little too small and sort of clash with the avocado walls since they’re so honey-oak-colored). So “find a new kitchen rug (or rugs)” has been on our lingering kitchen to-do list for the last couple of months.

We decided to tackle this rug situation – well, more like it decided to tackle us – on a recent stop at HomeGoods. Sherry found a pile of awesome 5 x 7′ flat weave options for just $49 each. We saw potential in a lot of them so we lugged them home for what Sherry cheerily dubbed our “kitchen rug fashion show.” As for me, I prepared myself for lots of rug moving – so a disclaimer upfront that the rugs in the pics to follow aren’t perfectly placed, nor are they wrinkle or tag-free (we just threw them down, gauged our reactions, and snapped pics for ya).

In an attempt to spare myself a lot of work, I suggested we start with what I thought was guaranteed to work: a bold black and white stripe. In my head this was the perfect solution. It became quickly clear that I was wrong.

Even though the pattern was simple, the high contrast black versus white was very visually demanding. We thought that eliminating one of them (in the cooking area) might help, since we’d been leaning towards just having a rug on the fireplace half of the room anyways (to define that area is the cozy living spot in the room). But…

… that change wasn’t enough to save the black & white rug as an option. In person it was even crazier/more chaotic to look at. But it did confirm that we wanted just one rug in the room (in the living part) since they would have to run different directions to make the most sense – and almost any rug would look odd running length-wise in the cooking area and width-wise in the casual fireplace zone. Eliminating the competing pattern (since they’d be oriented in different directions) also helped to reinforce that the fireplace side was a living / relaxing space.

Our next try was with a similar option HomeGoods had – a more subdued gray on white stripe (I wasn’t ready to give up on stripes).

We did like the gray because it sort of carried the gray backsplash over from the other side of the room. But I think it put the nail in the coffin for large stripes. It was still too high contrast for the space and felt sort of cheap and just plain wrong in person.

With my theory about the stripes sufficiently proved wrong, Sherry suggested that we try her favorite rug. It was an ikat-ish diamond pattern that was made up of some of our favorite colors. She also thought the dark colors would keep it from being too jarring against the dark floor.

It did seem to work very nicely with the dining room curtains, which are visible from one view (check out Sherry’s hastily draped dishcloth pillow cover in the corner to help tie things in) and it helped her visualize the potential color scheme of that side of the room.

But ultimately this rug got the axe too. The pattern felt too distracting – perhaps because it was still relatively large scale – and the colors felt a bit circus-y in real life (it actually photographs better here than it looked in person). Sherry was bummed, especially because she had found a matching runner for the laundry room (which also has the same color scheme as the kitchen and is attached to the other side of the room).

By this point we had tried our entire bounty of HomeGoods rugs (which all got returned), and were starting to be convinced that a bold pattern was not the way to go. So we turned to our stash of existing rugs that are not currently “in service” around our house (aka: shoved in the playroom to use either in rooms we haven’t touched like the sunroom or playroom – or to be yard saled/craigslisted eventually) to see if any of them might work – even though we knew that would be a long shot. For instance, here’s the Pottery Barn rug that used to live in our office:

Meh. We deemed it too light – and the off-white color just looked dirty in comparison to the white counters and cabinets in the room. Back to the closet for you!

And even though we were over the in-your-face patterns, we also gave the old Pottery Barn “Clara” rug from our old den a shot – just to be sure.

We still love it as a rug, but the pattern and color are totally wrong for our kitchen. Once again (like the original jute rugs from The Company Store) the honey-wheat tones were all wrong with the soft avocado walls (which we hear can read differently on many monitors, so our apologis if they look yellow or neon green – they’re really the color of the inside of an avocado- very light and subtle). Sorry Clara rug.

At this point we started pilfering things from other rooms, like our all time favorite yellow moorish Pottery Barn rug from the guest room.

We were actually feeling this one a little bit. We liked that the sophisticated pattern wasn’t too high contrast. It didn’t scream for attention like a lot of the other larger-scale rugs had.

Our only hang up was that the yellow clashed with the walls. Even though we love the other yellow accents around the room, it just wasn’t working (it was a little too orange in person while the walls have green undertones). Of all of the colors we tried, we actually thought that something gray could be the most natural for the space (it’s not clashy with the walls, it would tie into the wall of tile on the other side of the room, etc).

The yellow rug is still living in the kitchen just-for-now, but we’ve both agreed it’s not permanent. So I guess we still have more rug shuffling in our future, but at least all the shuffling in our past wasn’t a waste. We learned some important things about what we’re looking for: mainly a light, subtle not-too-large-scale pattern – possibly in gray to reference the backsplash and bring that over into the fireplace side of the room. We actually used this criteria to hunt down another rug that we think will be perfect. Cue the choir of angels. The only sad thing is that it’s on order – but once it arrives and we have photos to share, we’ll be able to tell you whether or not we were on the right track. Fingers crossed!

In the meantime, what did you guys do this weekend? Any rug shopping? I hope there was lots of family time too. We got to log some of that – and although four children under the age of three sounds like a recipe for disaster, it was great to have everyone together.


    • says

      Ooh that’s pretty! We’ll have to see if the one we have on order works- and if not I might show this guy to John. I’m in the love with the one we ordered though so I hope that one works!


  1. Riki says

    I am SO bummed that the cool green/grey diamond pattern rug didn’t work (and you’re right, it totally doesn’t). It’s pretty spectacular though.

    • says

      Ooh camping sounds fun. Is it weird I have fond memories of eating bland chicken after going camping with my friends (we forgot to pack salt- and it was desperately needed, haha).


  2. Teri Prater says

    Really take a look at these pictures for a moment. I think your scale is off with these rugs. It seems like you might want to try something larger- wider than the fireplace. These rugs are just slightly smaller and it’s looking strange. Perhaps that’s the real reason nothing seemed right. Maybe the next time you do a rug fashion show, you could try and 8×10 and see if you like that better. I’d hate for you guys to fall in love with a print to realize months later that the scale still feels strange (like the green rug). Hope this is helpful!

    • says

      Oh yes, we actually tried a few of sizes (some are 5 x 7 and some are 5 x 8). Anything wider would get bumped by the stools when they’re in use- which would annoy the heck out of us! Haha. We tried a 6 x 8 one (not for color, just for size) and it was sadly way too wide to be functional.


  3. says

    I agree that none of the rugs were *the one* for your kitchen. This is a situation where deciding to be patient will pay off, as you know that if you rip the tag off of one of the Home Goods ones, the perfect rug will suddenly present itself elsewhere.

    I did like the Ikat-ish one, but if it looked different in person, then never mind.

    I spent my weekend working, watching rain from indoors and thrift store shopping. I bought an adorable vintage magazine stand for $2 that I am figuring out what to do with.

    I do still have rug envy from your bedroom, though. It’s painful, but I’m seeking treatment.


    • says

      Yeah, I loved that ikat one and wanted it to work so bad, but I totally know what you mean about compromising and ripping off the tag and then finding the perfect thing, so we decided it was definitely the better move to hold out since my ikat guy was too crazy in person!


  4. Valerie says

    I love buying a bunch of something to “try out” at home, but I don’t like when none of the options work…….I guess you have to start somewhere…..

  5. says

    Wow that is a lot of rugs to try out! You guys are so lucky you live close to stores you can do that with! Being 4 hours away from stores that sell decent rugs makes decision making hard!! I can’t wait to see the rug that you have on order!

  6. karen says

    I think those rugs would look much better if the wall paint was a different colour.
    That’s a tricky colour.

    • says

      That’s probably true but we love the wall color more than those rugs so it won! We’re no strangers to changing the wall color if we fall in love with something that doesn’t work with it- but so far that hasn’t happened! The cork has some texture to it, so anything too busy competed with the floor as well as the walls!


  7. says

    My family & I went accidental rug shopping this weekend. We went to Furniture Row to possibly get a table & chairs (weren’t what we were looking for) and found a rug we *hope* will be a perfect fit for our new home. Plus we also stumbled across a clearance tv console that will be a perfect fit for our fish tanks, so we killed 2 birds with one stone that we weren’t even ready to throw yet! :) It was a great weekend.

  8. Martha says

    Once you pick a rug, you should paint the seats of the stools! I love the stools, I think they pick up the gray of the backsplash – so maybe if you paint the seats something to tie the rug in, they will flow nicely.

  9. QS says

    We bought a rug this weekend too! It was 60% off, but it is on backorder.

    Sorry your in-house rug shopping didn’t work out. Rugs are actually very difficult – at least for me. I’m actually kind of worried after looking at your post because the rug I got has a big pattern. I’m hoping it works out and isn’t too over-the-top. I figure since it is for a long hallway I could get away with it. Besides, it has to be better than nothing, and it was so cheap I can live with it for a while.

    Can’t wait to see yours! I have a feeling I know what you might have purchased. It will be interesting to see if I was right.

    • says

      Oh no, don’t be scared of patterned rugs! We love the big large-scale rugs in our bedroom and living room, so that’s why it was our first instinct in here- they can work so well in some spaces! Hope it’s awesome when it arrives!


  10. Kristen says

    Dagg, hating on the stripes??? I love them! (but I think I loved most of your choices). I see why you think it’s too visually demanding though (although that description made me laugh). I need a post on kitchen rug placement (and how to keep them clean). I have a kitchen in need of rugs but I’m not sure where to put them.

  11. Diana says

    Personally, I love the stripes, they both looked great! But I’m sure you two will pick something perfect!

  12. Nicole says

    Love the rug fashion show and can’t wait to see the one you have on order, fingers crossed it works! … I must ask, where did you find your white leather pouf?? I’ve been looking high and low for something similar with no luck…

    • says

      That’s from Joss and Main on clearance a while back! They go on sale pretty often (maybe once a month there?) and my friend in NY even ordered a cute blue one and sent me pics. My ottoman is friends with her ottoman. haha.


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