Custom Sheepskin Rug Defines Dining Room Area

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Naturally-shaped longwool sheepskin rugs

Rugs are great for defining different areas in the home. I love the oasis appeal of a soft fur rug placed in a "desert" of polished wood or other hard flooring. A soft fur rug defining a quiet sitting area will magnetically attract you to that part of the room. While this strategy is typically applied to living rooms or family rooms, it also works for the dining area, where it can bring color, texture, warmth and style.

Chris from Prattville, Alabama wanted a way to set off her dining room area from the rest of the space in her open plan home. She had always wanted a fur rug and felt that this would visually add to the rest of her home in a dramatic way. Since her house had a lot of straight lines, she was thinking of a rug with curves.

I was happy to discover that Chris was all about making her custom sheepskin rug large enough to accommodate all the chairs, even when pulled out for use. This makes it easier to maneuver the chairs, rather than having the legs catch on a rug edge. Custom alpaca rug in Greek Key patternAlso, while we have made rugs to good effect for clients who weren't bothered by that aspect (see octagon rug, left), I personally prefer the look where all chair legs are on the rug even while the table is in use. If you are concerned your rug will be too big, try marking the rug boundaries on the floor with painters tape to help you imagine what it will look like.

Chris wanted her rug to be white, and while most sheepskin is more ivory than white, the pelts we use for custom work are much whiter than is typical, so I knew there wouldn't be a problem there. She also was leaning toward natural shapes, but wasn't sure. Her main concern was that the rug be attractive in the space (about 10 x 7), and in relation to the shape of her table. I felt the best strategy would be to give her a lot of options.

custom rug design sketches

I had Chris send us a photo of her table, and our designer drew up a number of possibilities for her. The one he and I favored most was a roughly rectangular shape, with curved out-swellings where the chairs were (see Figure 1 above). This would give her the curves she wanted, keep the chairs on the rug, yet not overwhelm her space. We also gave her a larger rug design (Figure 2) with detachable leaves attached with velcro. The idea there was that Chris could have a smaller rug most times, then attach the leaves when using the table for special occasions. And finally, we proposed a couple of more standard options: one with beveled corners, and one with rounded corners (Figures 3 & 4).

Ultimately Chris decided on the first option; the rug with gently swelling curves (the velcro idea didn't fly, as she didn't want to be removing and adding pieces all the time). I was able to photograph the finished rug before it was shipped off to her (see below). I think it's quite striking and effectively sets off the dining space. It should look even more striking against Chris' dark wood floor. Also it looks quite natural even when not in use. I know that Chris really likes it, and that's what it's all about.

custom sheepskin rug

Your comments are welcome! Let us know what you think and what you would have done differently.

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