When people think about taking care of their health, they usually focus on following a proper diet, sticking with an exercise routine and getting eight hours of sleep each night. These are all excellent measures to take to achieve good health, but reducing stress could be at the top of the list of important steps.
It has been scientifically proven that undue emotional stress can depress the body’s immunological responses. In fact, WebMD.com reports that 75 to 90 percent of all doctors’ office visits are due to stress-related ailments and complaints.
Did you know that clutter could cause extreme stress? Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D., psychologist and author of High Octane Women: How Superachievers Can Avoid Burnout, says, “Messy homes and work spaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless and overwhelmed. Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli – visual, olfactory, tactile – causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important. It makes it more difficult to relax, both physically and mentally.”
One way to make your personal space more relaxing is with the proper use of area rugs instead of cluttering it up with too much furniture and many knick-knacks. Most people with hardwood floors in their homes, condos, apartments, town homes and offices have area rugs and, as a result, the luxury all-wool rug is surging in popularity. Not only do area rugs add to the overall beauty of a room’s surroundings, but they also muffle noise, creating a more soothing environment.
Depending on the pattern or colors you choose, area rugs can change the entire look of a room. With transitional patterns, unusual materials such as silk, bold colorful designs and multi-cultural motifs, area rugs are now one of the hottest trends in home decor. Borderless rugs and bamboo silk rugs are two of the hottest trends, according to Ariel Kalaty of Kalaty Rugs.
“The average consumer is not educated on how to purchase these rugs. For example, most people don’t know the difference between hand-knotted, flat weave and pile rugs. Most people focus on color and style yet have no idea about quality and construction. The highest quality rugs, heirloom quality, can last through generations. They can also be expensive,” says Kalaty.
Which rug is best?
“If you want your space to reflect your personality and look luxurious, try one or more area rugs. Choosing a wool rug is the easiest way to make your living room elegant and expansive or your bedroom more cozy and roomy. It provides a sumptuous feel, is strong, resilient and soft,” says Kalaty.
Kalaty’s tips for choosing the right rugs
Whether hand-made or hand-knotted, traditional or transitional, here are some things to consider before you buy:
Be an organized shopper. If decorating an entire room, always start with the rug first. Decide on the function of the rug in connection to the seating area. Rectangular for your living room or common space? Round or square for a cramped kitchen? Then figure out the size or shape you’ll need. The next step is to select patterns and colors that will complement and enhance your small space. Area rug colors should blend well, but not exactly match your decor. Also if you’re looking for the real thing, make sure you can tell the difference between authentic hand-knotted or hand-made wool rugs and machine made.
Vary the scale of the patterns. If the rug has a large-scale pattern, for example, contrast that with wallpaper or draperies in a smaller print.
Know how quality rugs are made. There are three major weaving processes: Flat Weave, a technique which is hand knotted but has no pile which imparts a casual look; Hand-Tufted Weave, which takes less time to create and is less expensive; and the Hand-Knotted weave, which is woven by hand and secured to the foundation by knotting.
Rug shoppers should understand that different dying processes will also make a difference in the final look of the product. For example hand-spun wool will dye with striations resulting in a “vintage” or antique” feel.
It costs how much?
Expect that prices run the gamut. Price tags vary because of materials and the way the rug is made. Machine-made rugs are usually less expensive than a hand-made or hand-knotted rug.
What’s the difference between hand-knotted and hand-made? One of the “myths” about rugs is that hand-knotted and hand-made are the same. Not true: a hand-knotted rug is made purely by hand and hand-made rugs are generally created with a machine or a tool with some hand work. The hand-knotted rug is more durable and can actually improve as it ages, making it an heirloom-quality investment.
Interestingly, the hand-knotted process results in design and color inconsistencies which give the rug a true hand-made character that cannot be achieved in machine made rugs. Each rug is therefore different, giving it character and value that will make your space special.
“We sell rugs from modern to traditional, but are seeing a dramatic interest in transitional styles, which are extremely popular because they combine the best of classic and contemporary designs. They can work with all types of decor without overpowering a small space,” Kalaty says.
Borderless rugs are a very popular trend right now and not just for modern styles, according to Kalaty. Traditional rugs also are being made without borders or very thin borders. They fit wonderfully in town homes and apartments.
“We are now using bamboo silk in our rugs, which results in rugs with a luxurious silky feel and lustrous appearance,” adds Kalaty.
What’s the best color?
Kalaty says, “When it comes to color, there is a growing interest in multi-cultural and ethnic tones such as warm terra cotta reds, eggplant purples, muted oranges and golds. Neutrals are also resurging, including striking blacks and calming earth-based beiges, and there are different shades of soft gray, which is one of the hottest colors of the season. Color is a great way to make your room look larger.”
Area rugs don’t have to match the colors of the room precisely so the options for patterns is unlimited. From tribal to geometric to patch mosaic, there are many ways to dress up your space.
As the art of rug making evolves and weavers become more sophisticated, area rugs can take on a new role as artistic canvases and could help to make your space a soothing, stress-free environment.