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Living Room Rug: Challenge + Lessons

Living Room Rug Part 1

Working with Gray for a Living Room Rug

With every canvas area rug, each new design and color scheme is a challenge and an adventure. After the initial client discussions on the details, I cannot wait to get started with the design layout and painting to seeing how the rug will develop.  Per my newest project, a living room rug, the challenge has been a learning process I did not quite anticipate.

This client had already gone through the design process of selecting a traditional living room rug and incorporating the same design for her dining area rug. When purchasing her house she had taken photographs of the tile floors and created a living area with gray couches and deep golden yellow chairs that went well with the floor and the living room rug brought it all together.

Alas, the realities of the rainy season in Costa Rica, rain every day, six months of the year, combined with the location of her home on a coffee farm and sharing the house with three dogs all proved damaging to the original living room rug.

Getting it Right

I was asked to replicate the rug in canvas.Although I have made and painted many area rugs, This would be a terrific challenge! I showed up at my client’s home with color paint swatch kit in hand. Fortunately there were many windows and lots of natural light in the room so selecting colors seemed fairly easy. My client insisted she wanted a gray canvas rug to go with her furniture and used the color swatch kit to choose the tone of gray that best suited her couch.

Now here is where it gets interesting: the living room rug I am replicating is not gray. I thought to myself, she knows what she wants so I allowed that she could choose the color for her rug as my clients often do. Together we also selected several dominating colors within the design.

I painted the base coat on the living room rug and to my horror the other colors looked entirely different next to and on top of the gray. When I test painted the colors on natural canvas they were true; not so on the gray. I have never experienced this and was flummoxed!  I started remixing colors. Because I was using photographs taken of the rug it is very difficult to ascertain the exact colors. I sent a photograph at the client’s request to see how it was coming along and she instructed me to, “…stop right there – I’m coming over.”

Living Room Rug Detail

Lessons Learned

My client showed up with her living room rug in tow. She reiterated that she wanted it to be replicated but that the colors were not correct. I allowed that if she wanted to change the colors she had initially chosen we could paint over it and she could replace the cost of time and paint invested so far. Agreeably she commented, “As long as the colors are right!”

This is part one of the story of this living room rug. It has taught me an important lesson: there will be misunderstandings and communication is the key to any relationship. Furthermore, I have learned that gray is a very tricky color. More to come!

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