Monthly Archives: June 2008

Area Rugs and Home Decor – Color, Art and Function

Area Rugs are a multi-function tool in your home decor tool-kit.

When referring to Interior design and home decor, the versatility of an Area Rug is often overlooked. These mini-masterpieces serve as artwork, have the ability to shape color, and add needed function in any home.

    Color seems to be the most confounding element for most homeowners to master effectively. Color is not nearly as complex as it seems. The complexity seems to stem from the sheer magnitude of differing color, tones, hues and shades. We all know what our favorite colors are, yet when we try to pin that color down as a useable element of design, we are confronted by hundreds of choices in tone and hue. Most of us need a standard from which to work. This is where an area rug can have a principle role in helping us sort through the inexhaustible choices we face. If we would first choose an area rug with the colors we favor, the task of choosing color for other decor items seems to fall in place. The use of an area rug as a color reference will ground your space and limit your choices, which will make the task a lot less confusing. Your colors are already decided by the colors most prominent in your area rug.

    The next function of area rugs are to add beauty and depth to a room by the utility of art. Patterns and perceptions in rug design are vast and often intriguing to the eye. As a painting adds drama an scope to a wall, an area rug is a work of art for your floor. Area rugs come in any and all varieties of patterns and designs to accommodate any style of decor imaginable.  Therefore, no matter what style you are trying to achieve, from traditional to contemporary and everything in between, you will be able to find an area rug to artfully engage all who visit your space. I can only consider all the times that I did not even notice a well placed rug, until I had set in that room for a season. As your eye begins to draw downward from other treasured elements of decor, you finally notice the art that lies at your feet. Many of your guests will discover themselves drawn into the intricate beauty of a well placed piece of floor-art.

    The final element is that which is fundamental to the existence of area rugs. They are utilitarian in design. They were originally conceived to provide a function. The first rugs in existence were likely simple in their utility. To provide a comfortable space to sleep, or to protect ones feet from the bare soil. Today we have a vast arena of uses for area rugs. From those that supply a place to wipe our feet off, to those that protect our original flooring investment. You can postpone refinishing or replacing an expensive flooring investment with the strategic placement of area rugs and mats. Your purposes could be as simple as providing a soft and clean space for your baby to crawl, or as complex as those we see highlighted in any decent interior design magazine or catalog. There are styles of rugs that will match each needed function in your home. From the ordinary to the sublime.

    As you contemplate the design of any space in your home, give due diligence to the use of area rugs. Look beyond the simple utility, and see the unique benefit that only an area rug can provide. An artfully crafted Wool Area Rug will add the needed elements of color, art and function.

Charles Beason,

www.RugRunnerBiz.com

I am a Flooring Consultant in the High Desert of Southern California.
Please Visit my web site at http://www.rugrunnerbiz.com
This blog is copyright (c) 2008 by Charles Beason, any post to this blog may be reprinted in it’s entirety as long as this byline and copyright statement is included.

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Business Ethics and Rug Pad Sales – When “Green” becomes “Gray”

How far are we willing to go, to call a product "GREEN"?

A Gray Area in Marketing and Advertising

    We live in a society where almost everything we touch has been altered, transformed, malformed or mutated. How long will we continue to accept a manufacturers claim that their product is environmentally safe, simply because they are willing to twist the truth? Most products that are being marketed as "Green", are still synthetic (man-made). For quite a long time, we have accepted the fact that man-made products are often cheaper than natural products. It is a fact that all-leather shoes will cost you more than those made from man-made materials. We also know which one is the better product, but our cash only goes so far, so we settle for synthetics. No big problem, just an effect of economics. The recent problem we are having is that claims are being made about synthetic products that surpass the true meaning of Green, Organic, or Eco-Friendly. Marketers are going out of the bounds of ethics and human reason, to make their product stand out as; "The best Green product that you simply must buy, if you care about our planet". The following paragraphs explain my objections to this recent trend and why I consider it unethical.

    I was browsing online the other day, looking at various rug pads to see what is available. Most rug pads on the market are made from synthetic materials and the synthetic variety has caused problems for many people. I was searching to make certain that all-felt rug pads were still available as these are the safest type to use on top of most flooring. Synthetic rug pads will usually damage flooring such as vinyl, hard-wood, non-glazed ceramic tile and even laminate, if left in one place for too long. In an effort to make rug pads non-slip many rug pads are made from synthetic materials such as polyurethane, which is the same material used to finish hard-wood floors. This often would result in the rug pad making a molecular bond to the hard-wood surface, which meant scraping and re-finishing the floor. Now we see synthetic cushions that are just as bad. Rug pads of other synthetic materials will cause yellowing or sub-surface moisture problems. Usually poly-blends with a scrim (thin coating) on one side that is supposed to provide protection for the rug or the floor. But if the scrim is also synthetic what have we gained? I have always suggested an all-felt pad to my clients, as this is the type that will do the least damage (if any). Now those are becoming a rare item to find. Many of the felt pads available today are a blend of synthetics. If you must use a rug pad, use one that the ability to "breathe" (allow moisture and gases to pass through them).

    I said all that to get to this. As I browsed the rug cushions that were available, I came across some that were being touted as "organic", or as having a "low carbon footprint". The reason for their claim that it is an organic product is that the scrim (thin protective coating) is made from a vegetable oil base. The rest of the cushion is made from the same materials as before (a synthetic, poly-blend), only the thin scrim coating is advertised as organic. While this is definitely a tiny step in the right direction, it is still a man-made, synthetic product. Just because a product is made from vegetable oils bases, and not petroleum bases, does not negate the fact that it is still synthetic. As far as the carbon footprint is concerned, well, most all things earthly (especially living things) are carbon based, how can you lower that footprint. Here is the dictionary definition of Organic:

or•gan•ic \or-"ga-nik\ adj 1 : of, relating to, or arising in a bodily organ 2 : of, relating to, or derived from living things 3 : of, relating to, or containing carbon compounds 4 : of or relating to a branch of chemistry dealing with carbon compounds 5 : involving, producing, or dealing in foods produced without the use of laboratory-made fertilizers, growth substances, antibiotics, or pesticides
(c)2000 Zane Publishing, Inc. and Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.  All rights reserved

The only way I can see to get away with calling it Organic is related to the second part of the definition. That a portion of the product is derived from living things. If that is the basis for the claim, then we could argue that even crude oil is Organic, since it was derived from once living things.

    The Flooring industry, and many other industries are taking advantage of a public perception of "Green" (eco-friendly, environmentally- friendly, etc…).  In my opinion, for something to be entirely Green, it must still exist in it’s natural state, not having been chemically altered. Perhaps I am too literal with my perception, but I would never be able to sleep at night if I took advantage of people’s perception in this manner. In reference to the rug pad, and how it is being marketed… In my mind, it would be a similar circumstance to take a toy soldier made of lead, glue a leaf to it and give it to one of my grand-children to play with saying that it has been rendered safe now; because "I made it become Organic by covering it with a leaf".

    I am really trying not to be hard-headed about this, but I think that the terminology of marketing and advertising something as "Green" has really taken a turn for the worse. If it is not illegal, then it must simply be unethical. Yet we hold the responsibility when we allow ourselves to be deluded by such false pretenses. As consumers, we must demand to be treated intelligently and morally. Ecology is becoming an increasingly "gray" area. Our buying power will determine what will be acceptable when referring to "Green".

    If you are concerned about the future of our planet, and you want an area rug that reflects your concern for the environment, May I suggest Wool Fiber Rugs. Hand-made Flat-weave rugs are the closest to Organic that you will find. Even machine-made wool rugs have an absolute minimum of synthetics in them (usually just the backing that they are woven into is synthetic, and causes no damage or harm to you or your floors). If you want the best "Green" for your green (wool rugs such as those on our web site, do not cost much more than inferior synthetics), Wool Area Rugs are the more logical and responsible choice.

Charles Beason,

www.RugRunnerBiz.com

 

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Effective Advertising for Generation Y – Intro

    Traditional advertising mediums such as television, radio and newspapers are beginning to see a drop in ROI as Gen X and Y are basically tuning out. Corporations are having to rethink marketing strategies in order to keep pace with technology. With the advent of DVR, MP3 Players, and the Internet, comes a whole new set of challenges due to the fact that most advertising is overlooked or totally ignored. You can skip commercials on T.V., many people don’s even listen to the Radio and more people everyday are gleaning the news from the Internet. This presents a challenge to corporations and small business alike.

This phenomena first occurred to me as I watched the ROI on my advertising steadily declining over the past ten years. Baffled by the lack of results, I was in somewhat of a quandary as to how my next ad campaign would be focused. As I thought and prayed about it, I decided to take a break until I could think it through. As I focused more of my attention on my children and grand-children I began to see how they are affected by advertising. My Children seemed to tune out whenever traditional advertising took place, and my grand-children; (this is where my revelation came from), my grand-children are totally out of the loop of traditional advertising and they are incredibly savvy to Internet banners and pop-ups. How do you advertise to a segment of society that is disengaged from traditional media? The answer comes in watching the way they interact and how they base their decisions on what they want. To enter their world is to enter an arena of constant and incessant text messages. A world of video games, digital music and Electronic Society. Experts are beginning to take notice of Social Networking as a new approach to advertising. I truly believe that it will take most of them awhile to figure out that traditional banners and such, simply will not do the trick… even if you place it right in front of them on the page they are viewing. They have an uncanny ability to Block Out advertising that comes from outside their network of friends and associates. As these young people are maturing, coupling with the opposite sex, and seeking employment, we have to be ready with a new approach to affect them on their own turf.

I have come to the conclusion that although Gen Y is highly social,Yet it is within the bounds of their own Social Network of friends and acquaintances. The question then arises; How do we reach into their social network without blatantly interfering with the structure of that network. Social Networking for business and business opportunities is becoming more and more mainstream as an Internet tool for Referral Marketing and Advertising opportunities. If we have a look at the business model for web sites like “sales spider”, “Facebook”, “MySpace” to name a few, have become places for business networking and referrals (MySpace is not really designed for business but it is a route to reach into their world, and I see that many businesses are trying to break into these networks. How effective they are remains to be seen). Referral Marketing and Advertising is a very old and reliable technique. So perhaps a combination of both approaches would be effective. Referrals may be the next preferred method for advertising to those who are virtually shut-out of mainstream media advertising. If so, we need to structure a community atmosphere around our product or service, or take advantage of those that have already sprung up in hopes that the market is moving that direction. We cannot know for certain where technology and human interaction will take us over the next few years, but it seems to me that referral advertising may become the most effective campaign for reaching this new audience of potential customers and clients.

I have built an entire Social Network that is designed and dedicated to Business on the Web using Social Media and Social Networking. You can join for FREE at

The Social Seed Business Network

Charles Beason

Administrator for The Social Seed Biz Network

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For Fine Wool Area Rugs and Home Decor Items, visit:

www.RugRunnerBiz.com

The Home Decor Time Warp

    Is your home decor trapped in the past? Do you seem to be stuck with remnants of eighties, seventies or even nineteen-sixties home decor? Here are some home decor tips that may help keep the fabric of time and space intact for you, and help you move from trendy to timeless in your interior design.

One of the great benefits of my profession is that I get to visit all of my clients homes. Each client is as different as their home decor, so I get to see, first hand, what works and what doesn’t. Trendy, transitional or just tired and tattered, my clients share their flooring needs with me and we choose the type, style and color that will best suit their decor needs. As I traverse from one home to another, I have noted a phenomenon of science fiction proportions. Upon entry into each home, I seem to be time-warped to another decade. Another plane in the time-space continuum. I enter one home to find that I should have worn my platform shoes, because I am suddenly stuck in the seventies and it’s time to boogie. Upon entry to another home and I feel I need a pair of six-shooters strapped to my hips. Visit another home and I feel as though I should have grown a mullet to fit in with this eighties household. Another, and it’s back to the future. Of course, this is normal because most people who have called for me want to update their home decor. My experience tells me that most homeowners update their decor to current trends, and then get stuck there for ten to twenty years or more. Then there are those homes that always seem to look stylish and exquisite no matter what the current trend is. These are people who follow basic and timeless home decor techniques that never go out of style. Trendy is fun for a few years, but timeless decor can last a lifetime. Let us see if we can pin down some of those techniques that will make a lasting impression in interior design and decor.

    The first element I will discuss is paint color choices. As an example; I have noticed that many people are painting all the walls in a room or rooms a  red color. There’s nothing wrong with red, but the colors most people are choosing are trendy colors of red. These colors will most likely be unfashionable in a few short years. I understand the look they are trying to achieve, but the color choice is simply not one that will stand the test of time. Bright or pastel colors are almost always a trend. Do you remember the salmon pink from the sixties and seventies Or how about the peach and mint green colors of the eighties southwestern rage. If you want to be trendy with red, I suggest using the same color group, but let’s tone that down to a color that is somewhere around a muted hue of cinnamon or burgundy color. Now we have a color that doesn’t jump out at you as you enter the room because it is a more subtle shade that gives warmth and presence to the walls without overwhelming the entire room. Color choice is a very personal element, but if you want to use bright yellow in your home decor, save it for accent items that you can change out easily when you tire of them or when they are no longer in style (nobody wants to enter a room where they feel like they have just penetrated the center of the sun).  Use tones or hues of color that accomplish your goal without going "over the top". If you love the color purple, you can use it. Just use a very subtle hue that blends into the background.

    The next element would be window coverings. We have already discussed color so I won’t go into it here. What we do need to consider is how popular your window treatment is now, and how it will look in three to five years. The generation preceding the present thought that mini-blinds were the best window treatment. Now we see that they have mostly fallen out of favor, with the exception of using them as if they were shades set behind another type of window covering such as draperies, or with valances and trimmed with other fabric coverings. Most roman style shades will stand the test of time. I see a lot of plantation shutters being used, and they are much better for long-term use (depending on the look you are shooting for in your decor). Fabrics (or draperies) are another home decor element that can be trendy or timeless, depending on the textures and patterns in fabric coverings. If you stick with what has always worked throughout the decades, you can be trendy and still expect long term usage. Stick with subtle fabric patterns. The use of a trendy patterns like brightly colored circles (polka-dots) may look good this year, but what about next year. You can use any pattern your heart desires as long as it is subdued and does not scream out "look at me"! Also, watch out for trendy fabrics such as those with a metallic sheen because texture is also a very important factor in home decor. For Example: Velvet is timeless, as is lace.

    I suppose we should say a word or two on Texture. I am happy to see many people using stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops in their kitchens. These are textures that have a lasting effect on home decor. Although I’m afraid that most people don’t realize the extra upkeep on granite or any real stone. These materials must be sealed well and periodically re-sealed to protect them. Real stone and some through body porcelain tiles are porous and require a sealer to protect them from spills that could leach into these textures. Glass is also a timeless texture for home decor. Brass and chrome seem to fade in and out of favor, but overall is generally safe. Watch out for exotic textures that are more on the trendy side.

    As for flooring, the biggest mistakes people make are in the area of color and pattern. If people walk into your home and notice your flooring before they pay attention to your decor, you have probably made a bad color choice. You don’t have to choose safe earth tones for flooring, but you do need to make certain that your color selection blends into the background and not the forefront of your interior design. There are also different textures in flooring. Choose a texture that will last. During the time period when southwestern decor was all the rage, many people chose patterned Berber carpet for their floors. When trends changed, many people were having a hard time decorating around a floor that they no longer cared for because it was not stylish. Plush carpets are always safer for home decor and do not tend to go in and out of style. Hard-surface floorings should always have a natural look. Because hard-surface lasts a long time and is a greater investment, be careful about color and composition. You may have to live with a bad floor choice for many years. One terrific tool for flooring is the Area Rug. They are extremely versatile and if you stay to classic patterns, they will serve you for a long time. I always suggest the use of wool area rugs for their durability, stain resistance, and most oriental or middle eastern patterns always make a good appearance, without dependence on current styles and trends. Area rugs can be used to define space and for color accent or background color utilizing larger rugs. They are a good, timeless tool for home decor.

    I am not saying that you can’t be trendy or up to date with your interior design. I am not saying you have to get stuck with traditional. Simply use more subtle colors, textures and patterns to establish the background for your decor, and use accent pieces and furnishings that can be easily and economically swapped out when they are no longer the rage. If you stick with what has always worked in the past, you preserve your home decor for the future. It can be fun for me to zip around in time and space, but it’s no fun for you as a homeowner or tenant, if your decor is stuck in the past. Don’t let your home decor get trapped in a time warp.

Area Rugs and Flooring are a passion, but they are not my only passion. Those of you who know me know the affinity I have for the Time Space Continuum. This fascination stems from my knowledge that God is Omni-present. That means that He is everywhere and with us all; all at the same time. It is also my belief that God is everywhere in the past, present and future at this very moment. Which would explain why He knows what we will do before we do it. I look forward to a day when we shall all be loosed from the bonds of time and space as we know it now. I think that time travel is just one of the benefits we receive as a Child of God. God’s word explains (in the book of Revelation) that someday an angel will proclaim that there will be "time, No Longer"; Rev. 10:6. Prophecies are also a glimpse of the future that God has allowed us to share. In many ways, we as God’s children are already free from the constraints of time and space… But that is a discussion for a later time…

  Portions of this blog are part of an article I wrote for www.ezinearticles.com

Charles Beason

www.rugrunnerbiz.com

 

For Home Decor, Is there Really a Difference in Area Rug Fibers?

    The simple answer is YES. There can be a huge difference in the durability, clean-ability and overall performance of an area rug due the the manner and fiber from which it is made. Whether Hand-Made or Machine-Made, the single element that makes one area rug better than another is the fiber that it is made of. If you could invest some money and be certain of a double or triple return, not many of us would hesitate. That’s how important Fiber is to an Area Rug and yet, far too many people have no idea what they are investing in when it comes to rugs.

    Hand-made rugs of natural fibers are at the top of performance, but these types of rugs are usually higher end rugs that are priced above that which an average household is able to pay. The next classification of rug would be machine-made. Machine-made rugs are very affordable and there have been great strides in machine-made rugs over the past years. Many of these rugs will rival a hand-made rug in beauty and durability, especially when coupled with the right fiber. Yes, technology has come a long way but when it comes to home decor, seldom is a synthetic (or man-made) material better than that which nature has already provided. Natural rug fibers are almost always your best choice for home decor value. For example. Would you rather have a leather sofa or one that is crafted from "pleather" (a synthetic plastic-leather)? Would you rather have cotton sheets on your bed, or be sandwiched between layers of sweaty and unnatural rayon (I am reminded of my daughter who thought that rayon might be as good as satin but, one night of sweat and slither was all she could stand)? Would you rather your furniture be made from quality hardwood (that can be passed down to the next generation), or press-board with a simulated (synthetic) "wood-look finish" (that can barely be moved from one side of the room to the other without suffering damage)? This also applies when it comes time for an area rug for your home decor needs.

     It really does come down to the fiber from which a machine-made rug is manufactured as to the value you will get from that rug. Most common fibers used in today’s area rugs include Natural fibers such as Wool, Jute or Cotton. There has also been a great surge in the use of Synthetic (petroleum based) fibers, such as Man-Made-Silk, Nylon, Olefin (polypropylene) and blends of these synthetic products. As the economy has taken a down-turn, I have noticed that many rug manufacturers are using more and more olefin or polypropylene fibers, as these fibers are the least expensive to use in the manufacture of area rugs. In reading recent news and trends in area rugs I have noticed that even the "name brand" rug makers are resorting to the use of less expensive olefin fiber in their area rugs. As the price of oil continues to skyrocket out of control, these inferior fibers are becoming the norm for most rugs you will find on the market today. Even though it is sad for me to see inferior synthetic fiber rugs selling for about the same price as better fibers were sold for just a short while ago, it does provide some solace that natural fibers (which are far better) are becoming much more affordable. By far, the best fibers for area rugs are natural fibers. And natural fiber rugs have much less impact on our environment.  In other words; they are very "Green". And natural fiber rugs will outlast most synthetic fiber rugs twice over, and then some. If you absolutely must have a synthetic fiber rug, make certain it is man-made-silk or nylon. These will give you the best value in synthetics. When and if you have the option, stay away from synthetic fibers and choose natural fibers instead. These provide the best overall value.

    Here is my quick-list of preferred fibers and uses:

Indoors (interior decor) – Wool is your best value for beauty, clean-ability and durability.

Indoors (bath and entrance) – Jute or cotton (without latex or rubber backings) If cotton would be too slippery on your bath floor, choose a thicker jute mat.

Outdoors (patio or entrance exit mats) – Jute is the best natural fiber.

    The benefits of using wool, (*specifically New Zealand wool) area rugs for home decor are too numerous for this article. For more information about wool area rugs and home decor visit our web site where we have a lot of tips, ideas and facts.

* Certain breeds of sheep have been selectively bred, for hundreds or thousands of years, specifically for carpet or rug grade wool. Some of the best "Carpet Grade Wool" comes from New Zealand sheep.

StreamlineMagic

(This article also featured on ezinearticles.com)

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