Q: Our bedroom is fairly formal, with traditional mahogany furniture and a canopied bed. My question is about the floor: I have two small Oriental rugs in there now, but the room doesn't feel cozy. In fact, it's cold in winter. My husband wants to put down wall-to-wall carpeting, but I'm afraid that will look too contemporary. Will you settle this, please!
A: You do have a point. Wall-to-wall carpeting is a relatively modern idea. You won't find it in authentic rooms from the 18th and 19th centuries, but then, you wouldn't find electric lights or central heating, either.
Our foremothers would have loved wall-to-wall carpeting if they could have bought it. In fact, you still see period rooms where narrow strips of carpeting have been sewn together to achieve the "broadloom" look we take for granted today (the true "broad" loom is a 20th century invention).
Authentic or not, wall-to-wall can look and feel warm and wonderful underfoot in a bedroom without up setting your traditional ambience. The bedroom we show here should inspire you.
The designers, Allen Scruggs, ASID, and Doug Meyers, have spread a subtle, pin-dot Bigelow carpet under a roomful of very traditional reproduction furniture, including a canopied bed. The pin dots are a gentle blue, which is replayed in the damask upholstery and the floral pattern on the bed and at the French doors.
Q: I have fallen in love with a kilim rug that has a true red background and flowers in lots of bright colors. I want to buy it for our living room, which is Williamsburg Colonial. It would work if I slipcover the sofa (which is a print that has nothing in common with the rug), but we just bought that. I've always heard that you should buy something when you really love it, but am I just asking for trouble?
A: You've already discovered the trouble with an overly extroverted rug. It will always be the center of attention, and everything else in the room must be subordinated.
A truly fine rug might be worth the effort, but as New York designer Margot Gunther cautions, "You'll be basing your decorating decisions on that one thing for a lot of years, since good rugs last a long, long time. So if you don't think you're going to have a lifelong love affair with a rug, don't buy it."
Rose Bennett Gilbert is the author of five books on interior design, associate editor of Country Decorating and a contributing writer to other publications in the field. Send questions to Inside Advice, Maryland Living, The Sun, Baltimore, Md. 21278.