16176 Fri, 02/13/2009 - 1:59pm
By Andrea Lillo
The informal entertaining and living trends of the home have resulted in more options for the floor.
Designs—even if they are traditional—are cleaned up, and shapes mirror what’s happening in furniture.
“The trend toward more casual dining and entertaining has increased the need for new rug shapes and sizes,” said Elise Demboski, industry public relations/marketing consultant for such companies as Wools of New Zealand and Karastan. “The formal dining rooms of yesteryear are taking on a more relaxed mood, centered by oversized round tables.” Karastan recently responded to this demand with the 10-foot round rugs, she said. “These large rounds complement consumer’s lifestyles not only in size and shape, but also in style.”
Being square works for Kaleen. “The hottest thing now is cafe and pub tables, and those pieces lend themselves to square rugs,” said Joe Barkley, executive vice president. “We’ve been successful going after that market,” he added, and Kaleen’s square rugs include product from the Tara collection.
Though 70 percent of Jaipur’s business is in traditional looks, Asha Chaudhary, chief executive officer, has seen a shift toward transitional, with “more relaxed and open patterns,” she said. “They’re not ornate or heavy,” she said, but are softer and more delicate.
“Traditional is our signature look, but the definition of traditional has changed,” said Elizabeth Miller, senior vice president of design for Karastan. “There is a consumer out there who considers herself traditional, but wants simpler looks that are easier to decorate with, and which are a whole lot less fussy.”
And Karastan’s Studio by Karastan Artworks brand, launched three years ago, “allows us to do looks that are more transitional, not contemporary at all, but very livable,” Miller said. As Karastan’s opening-price-point brand, it is sold in the same channels as its Karastan brand, she added. “Retailers were very pleased when we brought the line out for the consumer who couldn’t afford Karastan, or had Karastan in other rooms and wanted a more transitional look for another room,” she said.
Consumers may not even be aware of all the decorating possibilities with rugs, such as layering them over carpet, insetting one into a carpet, adding stair runners, utilizing rounds and squares, or customizing an odd size from broadloom, Demboski said. “Qualified, well-trained designers will be able to utilize rugs in ways the customer may not have considered,” she said, if retailers offered at-home decorating services. “Once an on-staff designer is in a home, the purchase opportunities take on a whole new life.” — Jennifer Alexis contributed to this report.