Brighten up your home – indoors or outdoors – with a new rug

With prices starting below €50, it does not cost much to update your home with this Newry-based rug maker

The “grand stretch” has definitely arrived and spring is in the air – so homeowners across the country will be coming out of hibernation, and looking to freshen and re-energise their homes for the coming season.

One effective and relatively inexpensive way of doing this is to invest in a bright new rug.

With more than 900 options to choose from, Kukoon is a great place to start – and you will soon be able to shop in-store.

Based in Newry, the company is hoping to open showrooms in Dublin and Cork this year, before branching out nationwide, and their collection is chosen to reflect current trends, while also being a little different from other options on the market.

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A key element of this is the rug maker’s collaborations with local artists and designers, “to bring their fantastic vision and designs to life through textiles,” says Clare Vallely, co-owner and managing director at Kukoon Rugs.

“This is giving us great inspiration for this season’s collections and allowing us to tell the stories of these fabulous artists.

Artists include Sadie Smith, a Scottish designer and illustrator, who takes her inspiration from botanical forms and floral textiles, using distinctive pallets of watercolour inks, and Frances McBain, a textile designer who is aiming to redefine the world of fabrics and patterns.

“It has been a wonderful process and we have really enjoyed getting to know them on a personal level and hopefully helping them make a living from their craft. Also, we are keen to keep developing our collaborations and speak to artists and designers who would love to see their work brought to life in quality, affordable homewares,” says Vallely.

She says that homeowners are increasingly looking for ways to infuse their personalities into their homes, so she believes their collections “seamlessly blend cutting edge art and functionality”.

But while most of us are well used to choosing rugs or carpets for our livingrooms and indoor spaces, the latest must-have flooring item is an outdoor rug, which has been certified for a minimum level of UV protection and can withstand the rigours of an Irish summer.

“They have become a hugely popular must-have as people are now spending much more time at home with family and entertaining friends,” says Vallely.

“Naturally during the summer, a lot of this leisure time moves outdoors and people have gravitated towards creating really stylish outdoor areas which match their interiors vibe. They are keen to invest in quality outdoor furniture which will last a lifetime and are adding quirk and style through accessories like rugs, cushions, string lighting and casual dining.

“In recent years outdoor rugs have been quite playful and colourful but this year we have noticed a big trend move towards the more subtle and natural and we’re seeing a lot of texture, neutral colour and jute looks come into play.

“People are now loving the flatweave style of outdoor rugs for indoor uses and so the design is becoming more aligned to interior trends. Practicality reigns supreme when it comes to outdoor rugs (washable and UV protected) but with over 30 different designs to choose from, there is no reason to compromise in style.”

The textile expert says it’s important to ensure that outdoor rugs are washable with a hose and have decent UV protection (50hrs+ of sunlight coverage), as this helps to keep them in good condition.

“We advise taking good care of the rugs by rolling them up through spells of consistent rain and of course, washing at the end of the season with a hose and brush, before drying completely, rolling up and storing inside over winter to ensure it’s as good as new next year,” she says.

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