I’m one of those people: If you’re coming to my apartment, I’ll kindly ask you to take off your shoes at the door. I’m not so worried about ruining my rug. I know that rugs are meant to be walked on, and some even say they get better with age and wear. It’s more that I don’t want to think about all of the germs trekked in from outside that my bare feet might be stepping on later. Essentially, I treat my rugs like museum artifacts, so it’s only natural that I would also think of them as artwork for my floors. And I like my rugs like I like my art: colorful and curated. Inspired by Colin King’s sumptuous collection for Beni, which color-blocks rich hues in unexpected combinations, I went on a color quest for rugs that are pretty and pigmented enough to be framed.
The Short List
- Best for bare feet: 007, Colin King x Beni Rugs
- Best value: Safavieh Orwell Liljeta Mid-Century Modern Rug in Rust/Yellow, Overstock
- Best hand-loomed: Handloomed Striped Viscose Rug in Dark Turquoise, Anthropologie
- Best tone-on-tone: Jumbo Dot Printed Rug in Rust, Urban Outfitters
- Best flat-weave: Agate Iris, Tantuvi
- Best geometric: Selandia Rug in Rose, Design Within Reach
- Best heirloom: Matrix Rug, Dana Haim
Best for Bare Feet: 007, Colin King x Beni Rugs
Why I love it: Taking color cues from Marrakech and Tangier, Colin King’s The Shape of Color for Beni Rugs features bold hues in chunky stripes and big saturated blocks. But back to our bare feet: The best part is they’re handcrafted and custom-dyed in the Atlas mountains from 100 percent wool, with a longer pile that will feel incredibly indulgent underfoot.
Where I see it: This rug would feel amazing to step on first thing in the morning, so under your bed or beside is a no-brainer.
Why I love it: The stripes are super-graphic, but there’s a muted quality to the color palette—the dusty rose, the calming yellow—that keeps it easy to live with. It’s made with soft fibers and has a medium-cut pile that won’t shed. And at only $109 for a 5-by-7-footer, it’s an actual steal. (Usually when you go up to an 8-by-10, you’re talking four digits, and this one is only $218 in that size.) Oh, there’s free shipping, too.
Where I see it: The Art Deco–inspired geometrics would feel right at home in a breakfast nook underneath, say, a mid-century modern Saarinen Tulip table.
Best Hand-Loomed: Handloomed Striped Viscose Rug in Dark Turquoise, Anthropologie
Why I love it: I’m obsessed with so many things about this rug: the dark turquoise jewel tone, for one—a combination of wool and viscose give it that hint of shine. But the way it’s crafted really makes it a winner. Hand-loomed using various weaving techniques, there’s a depth and dimension that shows off the artist’s touch.
Where I see it: Viscose is super-silky, but it’s also a bit delicate. Put it in a space without a crazy amount of foot traffic, like a dining room or under a bar cart.
Best Tone-on-Tone: Jumbo Dot Printed Rug in Rust, Urban Outfitters
Why I love it: Color-blocking doesn’t have to just mean big rectangles of high-contrast shades—it can be monochromatic, too. This rosy-toned rug has just enough saturation to enliven your space but is subdued enough to act as a neutral. Bonus points for the fringe and brushed appearance.
Where I see it: In a kitchen chock-full of stainless steel—incorporating dusty rose will immediately warm up the metal. Plus this style is made mostly of cotton, so if anything spills, you can spot-clean it.
Best Flat-Weave: Agate Iris, Tantuvi
Why I love it: Tantuvi’s cotton rugs are five times thicker and therefore stronger than typical flat-weaves. They can also be cleaned in cold water in a washing machine (as long as yours doesn’t have an agitator), so even if someone walks on them in their germy shoes, you won’t have to freak out. This specific design is handwoven in Rajasthan on panja looms using 100 percent fine Indian cotton dyed in Jaipur. The palette and pattern were inspired by northern India’s kaleidoscopic terrain shaped by natural rock formations.
Where I see it: Because they’re so durable, I picture this textile in an entryway. But Tantuvi’s creations are also more absorbent than other flat-weaves, so the kitchen or bathroom are good choices, too.
Best Geometric: Selandia Rug in Rose, Design Within Reach
Why I love it: The graphic shapes, designed by Urd Moll Gundermann for Linie Design, are big and bold, but because they’re in varying shades of dusty pink and peach, they won’t overpower your space. And although it’s all made of 95 percent wool and 5 percent viscose, a mix of construction techniques creates subtle differences in texture.
Where I see it: I’d put it in a living room under a glass coffee table. That way you’ll still be able to appreciate the understated artistry.
Best Heirloom: Matrix Rug, Dana Haim
Why I love it: This rug is a work of art in every sense, from the drawings Dana Haim does herself to the artisans in India who hand-dye the pastel colorway and hand-tuft that pattern using worsted wool from New Zealand.
Where I see it: The brand calls this rug “a cozy place to land after a hard day’s work,” but since we’re all working from home now, why not give yourself a cozy place to land during your 9-to-5?