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Pulling the Perfect Color Palette From a Vintage Rug

Design: Stefani Stein / Photography: Jenna Peffley

Selecting the perfect color palette for a space can become overwhelming without a strategic plan. It’s easy to fall into the habit of using all neutrals in a space, but I truly believe some of the most beautiful homes are enveloped in color. As the seasons change and we welcome fall, I find myself more drawn to muted jewel tones and rich earthy hues.

Time and time again, I’ve found that the trick to creating a perfect color palette for any room is to start with a single piece of inspiration. There is no better inspiration than a beautiful antique or vintage rug as the jumping off point for any interior design project. While I might be biased towards rugs, you can also begin with a beautiful wallpaper, piece of artwork or a piece of fabulous upholstery.

Below, I’ve outlined four steps to creating a perfect color palette for any space. By breaking it down into four parts, the task becomes much more manageable and you’re able to spend time finding the perfect piece, instead of worrying about finding every piece in the space.

Four Steps to Finding the Perfect Color Palette for Any Room

1. Begin with a Vintage Rug as your Inspiration Piece

Use a vintage or antique rug as your room’s anchor point. You can use a family heirloom piece, browse our carefully curated collection. Once you have selected which rug you’re going to use,  try using the PANTONE Studio App to pull an initial color palette out of the rug. It simply takes a picture, scans it internally and outputs up to five different colors in various color codes. I’ve found this incredibly helpful in understanding what colors are actually in the rug.

Studio McGee dining room with vintage rug

Design + Photography: Studio McGee

2. Pull Out 3-4 Accent Colors

From that initial color palette pulled from the rug, select two to four accent colors that are featured in your rug. For example, with our Krista Rug, I would pull out a carmel color, light blue, beige and terra-cotta. I’ve made sure to note each of the colors represented in our collection of rugs in the description on our website as an additional resource! These accent colors will be brought in throughout the room in items like the drapery, small upholstered pieces, ceramic decor accents, and artwork.


Design: Stefani Stein / Photography: Jenna Peffley

3. Use Neutrals + Natural Textures for Large Pieces 

Next, I recommend keeping your larger pieces neutral. The larger pieces are things like your sofa, bed, dining table, etc. However, just because they are neutral doesn’t mean they have to be boring. Natural materials come in a wide variety of textures like linen, sherpa, wool, stone or rattan. These natural textures will remain neutral as your taste changes, allowing you to update your color palette with new accent pieces, without having to replace the larger ticket items.


Design: Hudson Cooper / Photography: Margaret Wright

4. Add an Unexpected Element

Finally, it’s time to bring some unexpected elements. These few items could be complimentary colors to the original color palette pulled from your rug. For instance, in a rug like George that is primarily a rust and brick color palette, I’d pair deep moss green boucle throw pillows or a muted seafoam upholstered ottoman. Another unexpected element you can bring into your color palette is a metallic. Typically, 10% of your design should be an unexpected color or metallic element.


Design: Caitlin Flemming / Photography: Stephanie Russo