Effectively marrying style and functionality is often one of designs greatest challenges. When looking through home magazines we often struggle with the choice between visual design and real life practicality. While that white linen sofa looks beautiful on the glossy pages of House and Home, in your home most likely it wouldn’t last long (and definitely not in mine.) We strive to find a happy blend between practicality and aesthetics when planning our own spaces. In the fashion world, mixing high heels with jeans is a perfect example of this balance, allowing a practical item to be elevated by a less practical one.
In the context of our home, rugs and runners are often caught in between being functional or just fashionable. Technically, we can survive without rugs in our homes, however there is a reason why they have been apart of our history for thousands of years. Rugs and runners add visual interest and beauty to the otherwise boring floor, they help to create defined spaces as well as texture. Generally most of us understand the importance of an area rug, but the runner is often overlooked.
Runners are often considerably less costly than area rugs and thus give you major bang for your buck. When used in a kitchen a runner can add warmth and an interesting contrast to the other hard surfaces. Rather than a mat in front of the sink, using a runner it will elongate your kitchen and make is feel more spacious.
In a hall, two runners end to end are more interesting than one. It is often tricky and expensive to find a runner that fits the length of your hall, but by placing two runners about 3 inches apart it allows you to create a custom feel without busting open the piggy bank.
In the bedroom, rather than an area rug, using two runners on either side of a bed can still add comfort and softness for a fraction of the price.
Runners are great for a splash of color or pattern and can easily change with seasons and trends. Unlike area rugs, you can think of runners more like decorative pillows or throws and can be changed easily.
Also unlike other rugs you might have in your home, a runner usually won’t have any furniture to weigh it down, so the use of an under-pad is important to keep it secure and stable. This is especially the case when using my personal favorite, a low pile wool reversible runner. These reversible runners, often made from natural fibers like wool or jute, are perfect for high traffic areas as when one side starts to fade you can simply turn over and get double the use. These flat-pile beauties are also extremely cost-effective and come in a wide range of patterns and color.
Another one of our favorites, are other natural material runners, like sheepskins. These can really help elevate the design of your home, giving it a bit of plush luxury that is hard to capture with any other rug. They’ve got great organic lines as well, so they work well to break up highly linear spaces. The best thing? Use a sheepskin runner beside a bed for an amazing place to put your feet first thing in the morning.