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I like to think I have a bold confident approach to designing interiors. But then I see icons of the industry such as Mary McDonald, Alex Papachristidis and Miles Redd wowing us with custom painted floors –  and I am humbled. Truly humbled. Although the origins of painting designs onto floors are from less than glamorous reasons, modern interpretations of the art form have elevated it to unimaginable heights. Faux marble inlay? Tasteful herringbone patterns? Intricate geometric patterns that connect adjacent rooms? All of these are possible when you unleash the imagination of top tier design talent and their artisan partners in crime.

Why, you ask, would high-end clients opt for painted floors? Although it’s largely touted as the “modern thing” to do, it is a cost saving measure. Inlayed designs using wood, marble or tile require far more of an investment from the homeowner. But even painting has it’s perils! If you’ve watched Mary on Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators, you’ve no doubt seen her personal painter complete her magnificent floor design – only to hear her (or her client) say they’e changed their mind and are curious about something new. Ahhhh, so many possibilities!

I’ll confess candidly that I lack the commitment to apply bold geometric designs to my floors. Do I love the idea today? Yes. But what about next year? Perhaps not so much. And what if I decide to rearrange just a smudge. Then what? That pattern on the floor isn’t going to shift 10 inches to the right or to the left simply because on a whim you’ve decided to rotate the cocktail table. Flexibility is a thing to be celebrated, and I assure you many clients feel the same.

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So what’s a bold design lover to do? The answer may lie just beneath your feet. A contemporary rug can evoke the same strong emotional response that a daring painted floor design might. Bold blue and white stripes ring in a crisp nautical vibe. Gorgeous Greek key borders and a trellis pattern tease the eye with magnificent details and brilliant blues. And what of a modern black and beige geometric rug? It dares you to look away. The result of each of these choices is the expression of strong design point of view and the gift of flexibility. Not only can they be moved from room to room, they can be layered, repositioned and paired with different furnishings for a completely different effect.

Am I saying you should never embrace the idea of painted floors? No way. I applaud the designers who are boldly charging forward with these eye-popping designs. I admire them for their willingness to take those risks. Yet under it at all I delight in the ability to make changes and to alter the look of my home with a few easy changes, and rugs give me that power. Beyond that, textiles underfoot offer yet another textural layer to a design that a glossy floor simply cannot. They are also more durable than a design that might chip or be scratched. And perhaps for me, that gives carpets and rugs the winning edge.

If you’re looking for amazing design options for the floor that won’t require the artistic talent of a painter, look no further than this gallery of bold contemporary rugs. You might just be inspired to channel your inner Mary McDonald. And who doesn’t want that?

By: Franki Durbin