Privilege Blog

The Hunt For An Organic, Visually Interesting, Subtle, “Am I Asking Too Much?” Bedroom Rug

And on to master bedroom decorating. Fixup. Whatever we’re calling it. Decorating sounds like embellishment, while this is more Moving Beyond Camping In My Own House. However, one word is always better than six, so decorating it will be.

I’ve got 3 major purchases to make, bed, mattress and rug. The rest – bedding, fabrics for such cushions as there are, paint, objects – will follow. At this point I’m searching for all 3 big ticket items in parallel, unsure exactly which will settle first. But for the sake of imagery, and in the spirit of pretending that life is linear, consider the rug.

Setting the context first.

  1. I do not plan to live in this suburban house forever. I envision growing old in a city, with a country place should liquidity events conspire to make that possible. Of course, life being non-linear I may surprise myself, but let’s assume planning matters. So I’m not going after perfect, just good.
  2. I don’t, however, plan to change everything in the room. I’m working with a certain space and flooring, and with a few set pieces of furniture. Sturdy Gals like constraints. Without them, life is vast and scary.

So what will stay?

The floor.

Flooring Closeup

The windows, most likely with blinds and no curtains. That corner window is double height, as is one of the corners of my bedroom. It was a 1990’s addition to the 1953 house.

Window And Chinese Evergreen Elm

The Pottery Barn dresser, which means I am apt to want a bed in dark wood, given a Sturdy Gal’s propensity for matching.


An armchair, which I think will wind up slip-covered for the sake of budget, and also because I like a little fray and mess. A lived-in look, if you will.


A Pottery Barn lamp. But it’s clear, so, you know, versatile.

Bedside Lamp

to say nothing of an undeniable new impulse towards blues and grays. Here’s the bedding I have now,


and I’m ready for change. So I make collages, as one does, in first, tentative steps.

Untitled #189

On to the rug. I search Pinterest, Houzz, and sites found when searching for “Tibetan carpet.” I love the organic look, neither plain, nor geometric, nor bold. Behold. From Tufenkian. I had one of their rugs, but it exited in the divorce.  The one below is woven of wool, silk, and linen.

Tufenkien Sequins Border Nickel

Sigh. Price requires a quote, and is likely to be upwards of $10K for a 5×8. I had been thinking it made sense to invest in the new rug, but Boy Darling (in reality a tony and quite brilliant designer) set me to rights. “Why,” he said, “Given that you may move in the next 3-4 years, spend big on something that may not fit in a new place?” Oh. Right.

But in searching for the same aesthetic, for less, we descend into that which reminds me a tad of office carpet,



that which is possibly too monochromatic,


that which is certainly too geometric,


that which is too vividly patterned. (Although I like the source, Inhabit. for the current “mid-century” look. In quotes advisedly because I was alive mid-century and I remember none of the look now in favor.)

Inhabit Madera Rug MDAOC_R_xl_28

and that which is too, something, maybe, “regular?” “Insufficiently random?” Albeit quite beautiful for somebody else.


But, oh joy, when I relax one of my parameters and open up to a deeper, more marine blue, I stumble onto other options. (Note to self: relaxation of parameters, good strategy.) Seems as though the design world expects a love of organic patterns to dovetail with a preference for “off” colors. Haven’t they yet understood that humans present in oxymorons?

What about this?

Feizy Qing Rug via Wayfair

Not neutral, but the best color of my eyes, so perhaps neutral on me? And Significant Husband likes it.

Or this, at nowhere near 12K?


And so we find, as both Chaucer and Hesse’s Siddhartha knew, a search produces more than stuff. It educates us in the patterns of the searching mind. Myself, I may now be ready to enter a showroom without having to shove panic down, below my throat, where it often rises in fear of visual overwhelm. Or at least make another collage.

BTW, to offer options for those who prefer the vivid, as we must not discriminate, take a look on Houzz, here. As always, affiliate links may generate commissions. Several of these links are for ModernRugs, a site with gorgeous goods and perhaps one of the ugliest visual designs I’ve ever seen. However, I can’t find anything bad about their service and quality, so am soldiering on through very sad font and color choices.)


61 Responses

  1. Knowing yourself and being able to expand your parameters when needed are both very good things. Hope you find the rug you need soon! (I like the second-from-last one, by the way, but then again, I’m crazy for the entire bluish-greenish family.)

  2. Consider an upholstered headboard in a neutral linen or hemp fabric instead of a matching dark wood bed. Look at Restoration Hardware for affordable options.

    We love having a sea grass large rug in our family room. It was not expensive. The only drawback for a bedroom is that it would not feel great on bare feet.

    1. Jute would feel better than sea grass–and jute does come in some pleasing patterns (as does sea grass).

    2. Oh, good idea on the bed. I’d been thinking upholstery as a possibility but the color choices are scary:).

    3. @Susan, Yes, and the advantage of an upholstered headboard is that if your color scheme changes at some point, it is easy to make or have made a slipcover for it. A very elegant look, I think.

      How big a rug are you looking for, Lisa? A very dear friend of mine makes gorgeous rugs (I own a bunch of them) and might be just the ticket. If you’re interested, let me know in a PM and I’ll send you her details.

  3. Love the colour and texture of the armchair and I did like the Feizy Qing rug but not at that price; now as for that ‘versatile’ lamp…I think it might work better back at Pottery Barn?
    Perhaps the keen eye of Boy Darling can direct you to a few value priced options to consider.

  4. I think I would get neutral rug and paint or stencil on it. So easy to make it exactly what you want. The last 2 are nice “but” and that is where I have the problem the but. Check Pinerest you will find lots of ideas for customizing your own rug. Way less expensive also. Have fun :)

    1. @déjà pseu,

      Good taste – i love Significant Husband’s choice as well – and think it would look great with some gold accents like you see at West Elm these days – love a linen headboard too – it’s going to be very nice

  5. It’s a shame that the first rug is likely to be so expensive, because it’s my favorite. A Sturdy Gal to the core, I’m not fond of patterned rugs so I’m not sure which of the others I prefer. I think I like the one that Significant Husband likes best.

  6. That’s a very pretty scheme you’ve put together, rugs are an absolute fortune I used to just ‘borrow’ from my parents – alas those days have gone.

  7. My favorite is the very last rug – beautiful and interesting, yet still relaxing and soothing!

  8. Fortunately I think I am set for rugs for life. Since I kind of prefer the older, well loved look in rugs, those I have can just wear out with me. Can I suggest that if the picture is of your actual floor, that you have it refinished first: new floors make old rugs look better, and new finishes make old floors easier to maintain. It might also help you to baance the color of the floor (light, dark) with that of the rug. (If you don’t do the floors now, you never will…trust me)

    I’d also like to suggest the site . This is a site that just lets you play around with color palettes, infinitely. I find that I never like the colors currently in style, but that I’m pretty predictive about what will be next. I’s fun to take those colors I’m gravitating towards, which aren’t in the stores now, or yet, and get ideas about color to use with them. Works for clothes as well.

    1. I will need to do the floors before selling, had been hoping I could get away with leaving the bedroom for now. Maybe you are right. And I use ColorLovers, similarly. Good reminder.

  9. You know real persian rugs can often cost much less than the decorator stuff you’re looking at and will continue to be useful and unique for generations!

    1. You think? The antique ones not, maybe the new ones? But I’m thinking I want something simpler. I do not know why.

  10. I’ve seen several postings by designer bloggers recommending for high quality rugs at reasonable prices.

    Overstock has had good options in the past and the prices are also reasonable.

    1. @Jodi,

      Jenny has used rugs from in her home projects. Her blog is I’d do a search within the blog for the rugs.

      You might enjoy looking at Lauren Leiss’s design work as well as her blog. She has a very organic natural sensibility:)

      Paloma’s blog has lots of original content. She has guest posters and a very good blog roll to check out at:

      I might pop back in with more blog suggestions.

      Based on seeing what you are keeping of your current furniture, I think you might look at what Crate and Barrel has to offer. I ended up buying both furniture and rugs for a Austin loft from them.

      Good luck.

    1. @Wendy Bird, Whoops, sorry. This one is wool, in a brighter blue. Says it’s green and latex free. How do you make organic wool anyway? I guess feed your sheep on organic grass?

  11. Not the last example for the rug, but the one before that. Light wood for other pieces because 1. Matchy matchy easily leads to boredom. 2. Lighter wood will work well with the flooring and sort of disappear making the room look more spacious, and most importantly 3. Dark wood has had its moment and we are moving on. So…natural cherry perhaps? Even for the rooms of fantasy we all have a different vision. Enjoy the hunt!

    1. @Kathy, Yes, we do all have a different vision! I like the dark wood against my light wood flooring. I find if everything light space floats away, and I need an anchor in my primary house. I think, as I said to a reader in an email, I’m also referring to the houses of my youth – dark antiques replaced by Pottery Barn, and very plain flooring – or Persian rugs.

    2. @Kathy, The mahoganies and walnut of antiques will always be in fashion, of course- I was thinking more of the industrial vibe that has grown tiresome principally because of its overuse. As soon as something becomes to common we are on to the next “big thing”, aren’t we? And did anything illustrate that better than when the Southwest crept into every nook and cranny of our lives? Lovely enough in the Southwest, of course, but on the East Coast? In Carl’s Jr. restaurants? We wearied of mauve and no more howling coyotes, please. I like a room to evolve.

  12. Boy is so right. What size are we looking for?

    One avenue you might explore for an excellent value would be a wool braodloom remnant that can be cut to your exact size and bound. Another is and they have a store in SF.

    If you do buy a new rug, whether it be from a local store or on the internet, check to see if it is GoodWeave Certified. Physical retailers as well as rug designers/importers participate in this program to end child slavery in the handmade rug industry. Officially it is called child labor but I’ll be politically incorrect and call it what it is, slavery.

    One last thing, if you have your floors refinished have it done the dustless sanding method. It works. But it looks like your aged floor has the potential for a distressed treatment. Just a thought.

    1. @anon, That would be a beautiful look, but one that for me feels like a beach house. Although I’m in California, it’s Silicon Valley, and also the place I grew up, so I want some weight, if that makes sense.

  13. Do you ever shop on One Kings Lane? They have some great rugs at good prices. I also agree that an upholstered headboard and skirt/base would be better than a wood bed. I do like the rug your husband likes as well, and would look great with a warm linen fabric. You might have to re-think the pale blues though.

    1. @kathy, Haven’t tried OKL, will do so. And yes, I’d definitely have to rethink the pale blues. I now keep imagining pink toile and neutral linens. Ha!

  14. I love the too vividly patterned one! But alas it does not suit my current decorating. Actually, I love the inspration piece and too vividly patterned on down.

  15. Love your ideas for the bedroom.
    Have you thought of browsing Craigslist? I have found some great stuff there. People moving and redecorating sometimes get rid of practically new items. Of course it is the luck of timing with CL!

    1. @Suz, Oh boy. Really stretching my old-fashioned self, aren’t we! Thank you for the idea. I need to at least look, you are so right.

  16. With gratitude for the phrase “…relax my parameters”, which shall be my mantra for weeks to come — may I suggest you explore antique rugs in “only fair” condition, both online and at the auction houses.

    Here’s how it’s supposed to work, according to my late, great, very grand aunt: A new rug goes in the dining room, where there’s little traffic. Next, the rug is moved to the lounge where the area formerly protected under the table is now in the center of the living area. When wear appears, the rug is then moved to a bedroom where the center section fits nicely under the bed. It is at this time that it’s usually graded “only fair” and thus “very good value…since one doesn’t really look at bedroom floor coverings at night…”

  17. Ooh, I do love shopping for the house. Tis a pity that first rug is so very exepensive because it is super-beautiful. I hope you manage to find something that makes you look at it and say ‘yes, that’s just right’.

  18. Isn’t it interesting how the world of design has taken on such a blue cast over the last few years? I own several red/beige/gold rugs that were just the ticket 15 years ago and now feel “off” somehow. The problem with buying a rug online, I think, is that its so hard to get an accurate read on color. So I’d still look at local sources first. Strauss Carpet in Alameda sells nice quality wool remnants if you end up going that route. Otherwise, gear up for hauling heavy carpets to and fro from local retailers to see how patterns/colors/sizes work in your home. Not easy, but necessary.

    1. Ooof. God thing I have a Rav4 for hauling:). Of course, as a home design neophyte, I did not know that blues were trending – but there you have it.

  19. Garnet Hill carries Eileen Fisher bedding and rugs in very Eileen colors. They also have Dash and Albert rugs that might be suitable. Worth checking. My dog limits my rug shopping to Ikea but I’d rather have the dog than a silk rug! :-)

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