Next Generation Living Homes

Forget accents—turns out the best place for an element of surprise is right under your feet. A gleeful antidote to subdued antiques, a new guard of graphic rugs is a riot of color and texture that bucks convention at every opportunity, from overlapping patterns to unorthodox asymmetry. "A few years ago everyone only wanted Berber rugs, or faded Oriental rugs, which are lovely,” explain the duo behind cult-favorite design studio Cold Picnic. “But after a while, you see so many of them that larger-scale, more graphic designs just started feeling new again."

For the Romanian designers behind Dare to Rug, who pooled their know-how in a collection that pays homage to their indigenous culture, going graphic was a matter of economy: "We stripped the patterns of unnecessary details and we kept their graphic substance. Traditional Romanian patterns tend to be overcomplicated both in design and in meaning."

Even so, dialing down detail and amping up color isn't without its challenges. For Cold Picnic's upcoming collection, Desert Trilogy, the designers were inspired by the film series of that name by Tunisian director Nacer Khemir. "It’s odd, but when we use prettier colors like lavender, we actually have to put a lot more thought into the design and the colors. It’s easy to get too pretty, or to go in the opposite direction where things become jarring or overly quirky."

Whether you chalk it up to the comfort of simple shapes in an overstimulated, algorithmic world, or homogenous good taste falling out of favor, designers have taken to the shorthand of grade-school geometry (disks! cubes! triangles!) to distill the rich topography of deserts and mountains into easy-to-love symbols. Ahead, a selection of graphic rugs that would add up to a major win underfoot.

Next Generation Living Homes