I have a huge reproduction oak refectory table with small European antique dining chairs. It looks great in the dining room but just lacked a little je ne sais quoi. It wasn't the table or chairs, or even the walls that had tapestries and pictures hanging from them, but the floor that was the problem. It just needed something to pull all the elements together. Since there was a lot of dark wood, I needed to find a rug that contained natural dark colors. Contemporary rugs didn't really fit the bill since they were not in keeping with the decor and ambiance. It was going to mean a trip down to the local Persian rug store.
Anyone who has vacationed in Turkey knows that buying a rug requires particular negotiating skills and a love of tea drinking. The process is a lengthy one of "call my bluff" mixed in with a healthy dose of good humor. Make sure you know what to expect in terms of price. Haggle hard, mean, and be prepared to walk out without a carpet if things don't go your way. You don't need, however, to go to Turkey to buy a rug. I found what I wanted at my local rug store. It was an elaborate Asian rug with dark browns, reds and a bit of blue. It worked a treat under the oak refectory table. It needed a liner to sit on to prevent it from slipping about and creating folds that could be trip hazard. A little extra haggling ensured one was thrown in with the deal.
The next project was buying a rug for the bedroom. Again, the tone was European antiques with green walls, purple bed canopies, and a light-beige wall-to-wall carpet. The challenge was getting the modern looking carpet to blend into the regal look of the room. The famous French Aubusson carpets were an obvious choice this time, and I was able to locate a Chinese carpet maker of the wonderful knot-tied wool rugs. And they love to haggle in China too. The floral design had a mixture of beiges with hints of purple that set off the whole room. Don't be putt off by the loose threads on the underside of Aubussons. This is apparently quite normal.
Rugs seem to make all the difference to a room and fortunately the choice of designs and colors available means almost any interior design can accommodate one. Although not always cheap, they are a worthwhile investment.