One of the chief reasons people buy rugs is to brighten up their homes. That’s why so many of the modern and traditional rugs on the market make such intelligent use of colour.
Few home accessories have as much power to enrich the interior design of a given space as rugs – they act as traditional centrepieces and they have enough surface area to exercise plenty of stylish influence. But unless homeowners care for them properly they’ll lose some of that power.
One of the most important aspects of good rug care is colour management. Here are a few tips to make sure your rugs stay looking bright and colourful.
First of all, it’s important to look at cleaning techniques. Rugs need regular cleaning because dust and dirt settles among the fibres. This in itself can make them appear faded and old, so you’ve got to use cleaning techniques that are effective against dust. However, you mustn’t use anything too severe because this could end up bleaching the colours or damaging the fibres. Using a vacuum cleaner is generally accepted as the most efficient happy medium.
Of course, washable rugs can be put in the washing machine, but make sure you follow the care label to the letter – don’t remove it when you first buy the rug because you won’t remember the details. Certain dry cleaners also offer rug services for carpets and kilims that can’t be machine washed.
Rug placement has a surprising impact on colour management. In well-lit homes, the sunlight that comes through the windows actually strips the colour out of dyed rugs in the same way that it bleaches the spines of the books on a bookshelf. This is not something you can really defend your rugs against, but you can slow down the effect and even it out.
Rugs that are rotated 180 degrees every week or every fortnight experience more even distribution of sunlight over their surfaces. For those that aren’t, sunlight always falls on the same parts, bleaching those bits faster than the rest and undermining their overall appearance.
A good cleaning regime is great but it’s often more effective to limit the damage that happens to your rugs beforehand. You need to protect the surface of your rugs from wear and from stains wherever possible.
For bedroom rugs, this is pretty easy. Maintaining a shoes-off policy is second nature and food and drink is less of an issue. However, in dining rooms and living rooms, it’s not quite as simple. Still, it’s in your interests to get that shoes-off policy going so that your rugs don’t experience too much rough treatment. Keeping food and drink away from your rugs makes sense too – although you can relax this rule for things that won’t stain or that can be cleaned up quickly.
The things you need to be vigilant about are the usual suspects – wine and other coloured drinks, curries, tomato-based sauces and so on.
There will be occasions when your rugs are not being used. For example, you might be redecorating, moving house or just putting them away for the summer. In order to preserve them properly and maintain their vibrancy, you need to store them in the right way.
When you take delivery of your rugs, hang on to the plastic wrapping they arrived in. You can roll your rugs up at a later date and slide them into the same packaging. Then it’s crucial to put them somewhere cool and dry so they are properly safeguarded against light and moisture.
And that’s it. Following these tips will give you the best chance of maintaining the colour of your rugs so that their lifespan can be extended.