internal rug debate: simple black and white geometric OR ethnic, red and ornate?

Recently I have found that I am drawn to two kinds of rugs -  Black and white rugs in simple patterns; stripes, zig zag, block etc- Or ornate, red, ethnic rugs.  Pretty much opposite sides of the spectrum, right?

(Left is Ikea’s Stockholm Rand, Right is an Antique Kazak Woolen Sumak Rug from Antiquarian Textiles on Ebay)
Even though I recently expressed my general disdain for red, I must admit that I literally stop in my tracks every time I see an intricately patterned, red rug.  They truly MAKE whatever room they are in.
Kim from Desire to Inspire used a red ethnic rug in her kitchen.
elle decor via lampshade
212 Box via Desire to Inspire
In order for this rug to work for me, I would want everything else to be VERY simple.  I wouldn’t feel as free to go nuts with art, pillows and accessories.  We want the space to maintain a modern feel, so this rug would be my main pizzazz and bohemian-type endulgance.  Other patterns would have to be simple and I would lean heavy on white and grays.  And I probably don’t have to say it, but I will… there would be NO other red in the room!
Knowing my love for pillows and art and accessories, I wonder if a black and white rug is the better route for me?  Black and white rugs ground every room they are in.  A striped rug creates interest, yet is plain enough to layer on plenty of other color, texture and eccentricities.
In this room they really went nuts with color, pattern and furnishings, but the rug helps neutralize and simplify.
I can mix in green and orange with a black and white rug.  That would be tough with the red, ethnic option.
Let’s imagine those stripes are black and white, ok?
 via isuwannee
It doesn’t have to be stripes, it could be triangles!
diane bergeron via decorpad
Or Zig-Zag/ Chevron pattern.  Wish Madeline Weinrib was in my budget!
I love how Ally mixed modern furnishings and rug with Flemish art!
lauren buxbaum/nate berkus via orange beautiful
Mirrored furniture, Ornate mirrors, it all works with this type of rug.
Best for me, is the flexibility it brings to decorating.  Plus I have one white and one black dog, so in my mind it would be a happy medium for hiding hair.  Am I crazy?
So other than Ikea, where can I get a good, cheap black and white rug?
This rug is actually made up of floor tiles.  I love that if one of the dogs has a bathroom accident (or I have a wine accident) I can simply replace that single tile.  I’ve seen them in person.  They stick great, and you can’t tell it isn’t all one rug!
I’m also considering this Side-By-Side rug by Flor.  I’d probably opt for horizontal or vertical stripes instead of this mixed pattern shown.  But its nice not to be married to any particular layout!
Black and White Lupe Rug by Madeline Weinrib
This rug would be a fabulous birthday present!!
Yet still I keep thinking of those colorful ethnic rugs and stalking Antiquarian Textiles‘ Ebay Page.
This one reminds me so much of Kim‘s rug, which I adore…
Kim’s (Desire to Inspire) rug and pantry
This one makes me happy too.
Anthropologie’s Ikat rug looks tasty, but I like the idea of mine being an antique.
It would be really nice to have both…. like black and white in living room and red, ethnic under dining table for a pop of color.  Must get Boy’s approval first.  Just daydreaming right now….
What do you like?
Please, feel free to add ideas/sources for black and white geometric, OR red, ethnic rugs.  Thanks!!
  1. Wow. great post. really enjoyed that. I have a house full of the antique rugs like you have shown. I got them at antique auctions through the years. I DO enjoy them but now I find myself yearning for the black/white striped style you are considering. So funny, isn’t it? The grass is always greener….

  2. I really love the second red carpet. If I were going for black and white I would go for a zebra or cow print, I think.

  3. nkp

    Oh, my heart is beating double time after that post. I don’t know if you’ve figured it out by now, but since I officially suffer from design schizophrenia, I would get both if the funds were available. The black and white in my house would scare me just a little because I think the boys would trash it really quickly. I stay clear of rugs in general because of the kiddos. They also have a tendency to trip up over them, but I do so love the look and warmth they add to a room.

    We happen to have an old, predominantly red-tone rug similar to the above versions that my husband’s grandfather brought back from Germany during WWII. It’s in a room with a green velvet tufted chesterfield-type sofa, a Nelson bench, two flowered linen slipper chairs, a very colorful printed Indian storage box/side table, a small knock-off vintage tulip table and hold your horses- a coffered ceiling painted red. I guess I’m bolder than most, but I think in your home you should surround yourself with things you love (clearly I have a penchant for loving everything). And I really do believe that somehow it will all meld together to be a true representation of you. Even if you are crazy like me.

    As always, I LURVE your post, Naomi.

  4. So many good examples of both types of rugs. Of course I’m partial to the ethnic, but then I’ve been eyeing that brown and tan chevron pattern at West Elm for quite some time now. Let us know what you decide. I understand the need for the boy’s approval : ) XO Katie

  5. I love that graphic black & white look!

  6. I have been into seagrass lately (mostly for economical and maintenance reasons). I do have a zebra rug layered over the seagrass in the office. And totally love it. Now… to be honest, i’m affraid the graphic black and white ones would induce seizures in small children… that’s all I’m saying. Take a look at this fun trend I spotted for rugs…

    I’m loving that.

    Also, while you are there, you may be interested in my chanel nail polish giveaway.


  7. This post made me smile because I have one of each! I think that’s the only solution. One each for two rooms. ;) Thanks for the shout out too!

  8. thanks, guys! seems the boy approved. So we may have one. I’m not saying which, yet, though!!

  9. Awesome post!

    I love both of them, but if I were starting from scratch, I would choose a geometric persian rug (heriz) or a navajo rug. I’ve always wanted one. I think they really make the room, and can blend or pop depending on your other furnishings.

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