You've heard of statement jewelry? Maybe you even wear a chunky bauble to dress up your T-shirts and cardigan sets. A statement rug performs the same accessorizing task in a room: It elevates the basic to something special. A statement rug should change the feel of a space and push it past a prescribed look. You can give a traditional room a mod vibe by adding a wooly shag to the floor, for example. With its pink walls and feminine flounces on the chairs, this dining room could feel girly and trite. But the exotic black-and-white pattern of the rug is an unexpectedly eclectic touch, it and gives the space a worldly edge.
It doesn't have to be large or sparkly, but a statement rug should have presence -- an unusual color combination, a striking pattern, or an interesting texture. You already have other elements in the space, such as upholstery, window treatments, and artwork, so the rug has to claim its own portion of attention. In this living room, there is a lot of color and pattern happening at once. Yet the statement rug still stands out. Its vintage feel and bright colors pop off the large neutral rug underneath, and the long fringe is a silky counterpoint to the rough sisal.
Layer a rug of unusual shape over a standard rug to add a component of visual interest. Try it under a seating group where you can overlap an amorphous shape, such as a faux-animal skin, over a typical rectangle. It makes a room feel comfortably aged over time.
When color and pattern is limited, such as in a utilitarian kitchen or formal dining room, unroll a powerfully bold pattern, such as wide awning stripes or a boisterous floral, to enliven the space. New cabinet hardware or bright dishware might follow.