Underfoot floor decor need not be understated

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There’s a renewed appreciation for rugs that aren’t content to just lie there

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Tasteful rugs in gentle neutrals that sit discretely — sometimes providing a touch of texture through jute, sisal, and hemp weaves — have had a good long run on the décor scene.

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Quietly handsome and easy to live with, they paired perfectly with popular Swedish hygge and coastal trends that influenced design for the last few years.

But there’s a renewed appreciation for rugs that aren’t content to just lie there and be quiet, pieces that channel optimism and positivity through a blend of bold patterns, fresh takes on classic motifs, and exuberant colours.

The Palm Springs rug collection, for example, is a colourful, seventies-inspired collaboration between Work in Progress — a queer décor brand that partners with independent artists/designers — and designer Ravleen Kaur.

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Along with founder WIP Holland Denvir, Kaur has created a line with simple shapes in fresh, citrusy orange, pink, blue, green, and yellow.

Pieces come in rounds and rectangles: some are dissected with pink or green lines, others sport big blue bubbles or slightly psychedelic stripes in lime, blue, and lavender. These marvellously cheerful rugs are available at a limited number of U.S. stockists and online: there’s a $40 flat shipping fee for Canada.

Unrestrained colour is a hallmark of hand-knotted rugs from Jan Kath. The German-born designer shows an ease with colour that’s apparent, for example, in his Spectrum collection — in which saturated tones tell beautiful abstract colour stories. Other collections, like Polonaise and Savonnerie Surprise, reimagine traditional forms and motifs.

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In an artistic project unrelated to the brand, Kath is currently showing a “Rug Bombs” series of 11-by 11-foot compositions in Kassel, Germany. Into them are woven depictions of current cultural and geopolitical events, such as shadowy scenes of displaced people, war, and military materiel.

While the subject matter may make you shiver a bit, it actually taps into an ancient practice of using textiles to transmit news and preserve communal symbols and traditions.

Matter, a purpose-driven design business that fosters sustainable partnerships with rural textile communities, cites one historical example; record-keepers of the pre-colonial Inca period who used various types of knotted strings to convey specific messages.

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More recently Kath was inspired by Afghan war rugs, a form of textile design that arose during the Soviet invasion in the 1980s and has expanded during the subsequent invasions of, and ongoing violence in, the country.

Like Kath, Utrecht-born and Rotterdam-based Simone Post does more than celebrate colour in her rugs. As the co-founder of Envisions, a collective of designers who engage in experimental research, she’s also focused on sustainability, and exploring how to meld traditional craft and print techniques with contemporary technology.

Post makes boisterous patterns and zany textile portraits from surplus cloth from the fabric industry, and a new Sinuous rug collection is made from recycled cotton batik textiles that comes in a range of reds, greens, and blues.

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There are few floor décor elements that have as much impact as an animal hide. While there’s a valid debate about whether animal skin can be used sustainably, there are lots of people who want the effect without an animal having to die. For them, Ruggable has a new faux-hide indoor collection with cow, zebra, tiger, and cheetah patterns.

Available in various sizes, rugs are made with cushioned, medium-pile, recycled virgin polyester and polyurethane. Shed and stain-resistant, they’re also machine washable.

For other affordable options for graphic rugs, pop into HomeSense, which showed bold floor coverings in its fall 2022 trends look-book, along with the soft furniture — think beanbag chairs and squishy ottomans — that are also showing up to make colourful, confident design statements. Go to www.aroundthehouse.ca to see more.

Vicky Sanderson is editor of Around the House, www.aroundthehouse. ca. Check her out on [email protected] athwithvicky, Twitter ATHwithVicky and or Facebook.

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