A designer advises how to make the right choice for yourself


Sunset Idea House designer, Lauren Geremia, takes questions from readers and answers with her expertise. If you’ve got more queries, please email shihc@sunset.com.

My living room is 10×12 feet with pale blue walls and have eclectic style. I’m shopping for a new rug–what are some tips for choosing the right size? Will a patterned rug look too busy? —Joanna

Rugs can be tricky to shop for online. Depending on your budget, your best bet in finding the perfect piece is to memo multiple options from a local rug gallery. The folks at Tony Kitz in San Francisco are experts at understanding our needs and have exceptional customer service. If you have the luxury to go this route, I’d suggest visiting the showroom and to choose a few that you like in approximately the right size. Bring any swatches you have including paint, sofa fabrics, etc. to dial in on a palette you like. Ask the dealer to deliver a few additional options in one size up and one size down and in a few different shades. You never know how color will translate to your own space so it is best to have options.

Here are a few other great Rug Resources: ABC Carpet & Home for color Homestead Seattle for vintage California Carpets for great price points

Pattern doesn’t have to be busy. We often choose monochromatic rugs that have small scale details and read as a nice field of color when you step away. This will help to tie in your eclectic furnishings as demonstrated in this den from our Cumberland Street Project.

If you are purchasing online, I’d suggest taping out a few standard rug sizes in your living room to get a sense of where it will fall in context with your furniture. It is best if all four edges of your sofa fall on the rug, along with the coffee table. Depending on the shape and sizes of the additional furnishings, you can play with how they might straddle the edge of the rug. —Lauren Geremia

I just received my new furniture. Couch is silver taupe and the chair is vintage cafe in velvet (brown). Any suggestion on what color to paint the walls. I’m totally stumped.—Cathleen

You can’t go wrong with a warm white. A few of our favorites include Benjamin Moore Vanilla Milkshake and Farrow & Ball Wimborne White. It will be tricky to connect the warmer tones of the vintage chair to the silver of the new couch. By keeping the walls fairly neutral you can use art and plants to add richness and depth to the space. —Lauren Geremia

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