For such a fundamental human incentive, comfort is actually incredibly complex. We all seek out comfort where possible – physical comfort, emotional comfort, comfort in our jobs and in our social groups. The psychology of comfort is definitely worth discussing when it comes to rugs.
Since rugs are so soft to the touch, it’s easy to imagine that they only work on one dimension with regard to touch – the physical dimension – but that’s not necessarily the case.
Let’s allow for the fact that all but the coarsest textured rugs are soft underfoot. That’s the physical element covered. How else do rugs make for a more comfortable environment at home?
A sense of home
The first is perhaps the emotional side of things. The home itself is a kind of retreat; a comfortable haven where you can be who you want to be and do what you want to do. Rugs actually contribute in the sense that their designs and styles are your personal choice. They reflect part of your own character and this helps reinforce the idea that home is a place where you can really cut loose.
The promise of warmth
Then there’s the fact that rugs look comfortable. This is a different attribute than the delivery of physical comfort. You look at a fluffy, textured rug when you come in from the cold and the mere sight of it puts you at ease. It’s a similar effect to that of warm lighting and warmly-coloured walls and items of furniture.
There’s also a sense of psychological comfort that comes from the way rugs interact with other pieces of furniture in the room – the way they layer things up, contribute to a more even distribution of colour and square off or deformalise the arrangement of furniture. They are crucial harmonising elements in the pseudo-feng-shui of planning a room.
The pursuit of comfort is something common to all rugs. They just go about it in different ways. For instance, natural rugs may not possess the physical comfort element in that they are not soft to the touch. But they make up for it by being neat and uncomplicated – the kind of rugs that contribute to the sense of ease and the peace of mind we expect to find at home. That’s emotional comfort for you.
Likewise, funky modern rugs may not make us feel terribly relaxed if they feature bold colours and really vibrant patterns, but the fact that they reflect our bold and vibrant lifestyles means they make us feel at home. That’s more emotional comfort.
Then there are the very overtly comfortable varieties of rugs out there – the sheepskin rugs and the shaggy rugs that place the real focus on the appearance of comfort as well as physical comfort in earnest.
So there’s plenty of choice; it’s just about working out which facets of comfort matter most to you.