I have a new letter about decorating today:
Dear Miss Cote de Texas: I have read your post on seagrass about a million times, and I just
love the way it looks and appreciate all of the information you provided about
it! I am on the verge of ordering it for my stairs and a small library room, and
my initial thought was to use it in my family room and wall-to-wall in the
master bedroom as well. I am having second thoughts about the family room,
though, and I was wondering if you might be so kind as to take a look at the
attached pictures and give me your opinion.
My concerns are that we have a
tan couch (which must stay, so I worry that the seagrass would be “blah” in
there, even if I layered a rug on top of the seagrass) and the fact that the
family room opens to the kitchen… would I be better off doing a smaller
(although larger than the one pictured) area rug so as not to “stop the eye and
the flow" from the kitchen to the family room?
Thank you for your letter! First, let me address some basic questions.In general, seagrass is a timeless product, classic, and not trendy.To me, seagrass is a miracle product – it is almost worry free and stain proof. Now, be clear, I am talking about seagrass, NOT sisal. Sisal stains like crazy and in my opinion should be completely avoided in high traffic areas. But, seagrass is the complete opposite and doesn’t stain easily. We have three dogs and there have been numerous accidents – trailing in mud, etc. – and my seagrass is virtually spotless. I keep a bottle of “Nature’s Miracle” which eats up pet stains by using enzymes, and truthfully, it works like magic. In general, seagrass is just very easy to keep clean. You can take a wet rag to it and get almost any spill out.
In a very dressy interior, seagrass adds texture and coziness and brings down the “don’t touch” vibe.
Besides being easy to care for, seagrass is relatively inexpensive compared to other rugs. It can be replaced every five years or so without a large expense. To me, seagrass is wonderful. I like the way it looks and I think it
makes rooms look rich. I love the texture and color it adds to an interior. My personal preference is a custom-cut seagrass rug – where it follows the perimeter of the room, 4 to 8 inches away from the walls and closer around the fireplace hearth.
Large expanses of seagrass can help cover up a floor, if you don’t like the stain.
For a family room, I think it’s a perfect product because of its ease and affordability. It’s a great product to use if your floors are not fabulous and you want to cover them, or if your hardwoods are the stained your favorite color. No, seagrass is not as comfortable as laying down on a plush thick rug, but I can guarantee you that a thick, plush rug or carpet will quickly look dirty and worn while the seagrass will look fresh and new for years and years. For families with babies, I suggest layering a sheepskin rug for the little ones. As for layering, a zebra or cowskin rug placed over a seagrass looks wonderful. Also, today I suggest getting the seagrass with the thicker backing on it. It tends to lay better when the rug is large.
Seagrass looks especially good in a family room – with a cowskin or zebra layered over it.
Bunny Williams recently remodeled her Connecticut home – using seagrass area rugs throughout.
When deciding on an area rug, there are other options in fiber rugs that are trendier – the patterned textures from Starke are especially
nice. But I can’t guarantee you can get them in any size like seagrass which is easily seamed to make it larger than just 13’ wide. Many places will tell you they can custom cut fiber rugs, but really – they won’t do anything wider than 13’. Seagrass can be seamed – and you will never notice where the seam was placed – ever! Which means that you can have a seagrass rug that is 24 x 18’ – no problem.
My all time favorite room – but when you look closely – the sisal seam is very visible here.
See it? With seagrass, in a large room, the seams are invisible.
Custom cut seagrass – just a few inches from the walls – and it is cut closely around the hearth.
Custom cut – holes can be made to fit around heating grills and light plugs.
I usually prefer a large rug to cover the room, but when the floor is gorgeous like this – a smaller rug might be better.
I do think this rooms needed a custom cut rug – especially with the angled wall, it would look better.
Love this room with the skin layered over the rug.
Stark and other companies make patterned textured rugs – like this one from Charlotte Moss’ newly decorated Hamptons house.
I can’t promise that the trendier fibers are as easily cleaned as seagrass. If you want a patterned fiber rug, maybe think about the living room or the dining room instead of the family room.
Now, to answer the question for this reader – should she get seagrass for her family room? She has young children and a large family room. She is already getting wall to wall seagrass on the stairs, in the library and the master bedroom. Should she get seagrass in the family room too? Is it too much? Where should it stop?
Her living room is a beautiful space – with wonderful windows and light. I love the window seat at the back.
There’s a great fireplace flanked by two French doors.
And two more French doors lead into the kitchen.
The reader says that the sectional was bought for another house and she knows it isn’t right for this space. She would like to move it downstairs for the children, but for now, it stays. The rug is moving upstairs, but she wonders should she get another rug – will the seagrass look too blah with the sectional? Also she worries about the seagrass at the door leading into the kitchen.
So, first, I really think seagrass would be great – with this sectional or not. I would definitely layer a cowskin rug or a zebra on top – to pop a bit a color.
Also, I think I would go with a custom cut rug that would cover the major portion of the floor. You can see how the area rug cuts off the room and makes the back part disappear. One large rug will make the room look cohesive. Custom cut it around the hearth.
As for how it would look up against the breakfast room – here you can see, having a rug in one room and not the other is just fine.
And here, another room where the seagrass stops at the breakfast room, with no problems.
Here, you can see white walls and almost the same fabric as your – layering the zebra over the seagrass really pops the room. You could buy another area rug with more color, but to buy one large enough to fit the sofa – it will be expensive. Seagrass is such a budget friendly product, especially when a large size is needed.
Another view with the zebra print layered over the seagrass for color pops.
But don’t go overboard – with too much pop and pattern.
Let talk about the room. I know you said the sofa stays, but the scale is really big for the room. This size sofa needs a huge room, and would look best floating. Here, the way it is set up – you can’t see the bay window in the back. I’m wondering if you could take some of the sections out and make the sofa smaller? Perhaps just use it as a sofa with or without the chaise instead of a sectional with a chaise?
I put together a few idea rooms to show you what you could do with the room:
Here – using the sofa as is, or perhaps with a few sections removed, I would get the seagrass and layer either a zebra or a zebra pint rug on top. I showed a glass topped brass table to allow the zebra to really show through it. I like the abstract black and white print on the back wall. I would get a few – not too many – but a few black & white patterned pillows, down filled 24x24 or 22x22, nothing smaller. Since the sofa is so large – instead of side tables and lamps, I added the copy of the Serge Mouille for a touch of contemporary.
Here is a room that reminds me of what yours could be – with the large seagrass, the zebra, a print over the sofa. Without the sofa blocking the back window – you could decorate that area with matching pillows and a seat cushion. Also, it would look great with a textured shade layered over the dead zone between the ceiling and the window. The other windows have pretty transoms, so I would not add a shade there.
Here is another mock-up. I used the $399 Ikea sofa here – for a reason. At this price, why wait to move the sectional downstairs now? I also used two chairs from Ballards. Instead of the modern prints, think about an oversized map or print. I also used two large stone lamps for texture.
Here, I used the $399 Ikea sofa with the Ikea chaise to take the place of the large sectional. The chaise is smaller but gives that same comfort level. I liked this round coffee table made of wicker for a bit more texture. The white cowskin adds a bit of accent. I like the greenery of the fig plants. And again, here a chandelier – contemporary faux Serge, which I love.
And one last idea – with trendy green velvet pillows, a leather chair, a rattan chair for texture, and I added curtains in a green chintz for pattern. A touch of trendy gold in a sunburst mirror behind the sofa.
I hope I have given you some answers about the seagrass vs. an area rug. And I hope I have given you some ideas about decorating down the road.
If you have a decorating question that you want me to answer here, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . AND if you previously submitted a question that I did not answer – submit it again!!