Kit Kemp Explains How To Use Rugs In Your Home
Kit Kemp Explains How To Use Rugs In Your Home

Kit Kemp Explains How To Use Rugs In Your Home

It's Firmdale Hotels founder Kit Kemp we have to thank for the interiors at hotels like Ham Yard, Charlotte Street and Covent Garden Hotel. There’s little she doesn’t know about colour and pattern – which is why her collaboration with American design powerhouse Annie Selke on a new rug collection, available via Andrew Martin, makes perfect sense. Here, Kit and Andrew Martin founder Martin Waller share their best rug advice…

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Why Are Rugs So Important In A Room?

Martin: “In my opinion, no matter the scheme, as soon as you put the rug in, it’s completely transformed.”

Kit: “I agree – if I have a room that needs lifting or needs grounding, a rug can so often hold everything together. Equally, if ever I have a ‘problem’ room, I will change the rug. It gives the space a second life. If you go for a large pattern on the floor, it’ll work very well with a plain coloured sofa and geometric cushions. A stripe is easy to match with anything, especially block colours. Another good hack is if you’ve got a sofa that was once white but is slowly turning grey – but you can’t afford to change it – add a bold rug. The contrast will make everything look cleaner.”

Generally Speaking, Should Furniture Sit On Or Off A Rug?

Kit: “It depends on the size: you can either have a smaller rug under a coffee table and other things can then be arranged loosely around it. Or you get one large enough so that all the furniture fits on it. Half on, half off isn’t great – even if most of us are guilty of doing it.”

Martin: “Also, if there’s a fireplace in the space, it’s always best to try and centre the rug relative to that. It’ll then inform you as to where the rest of the furniture should sit.”

How Do You Incorporate The Colours In A Rug Into The Wider Décor? 

Kit: “If your rug has multiple colours, let it do the talking. Go for a plain coloured sofa and incorporate a few colours from the rug into the cushions if you like – that’s the easiest way to do it. In a bedroom, a white bedspread can allow for a bit of breathing space. If you’re looking to incorporate different patterns into the space, think about the scale. Ideally, you want to have one large pattern, then a smaller geometric print and a tighter herringbone pattern to work with it. If they’re all at the same scale, it can look messy. At the end of the day, even with a lot of colour or pattern, a room should always feel calm – otherwise you won’t want to spend time in there.”

KIT KEMP X Annie Selke

What Makes This New Rug Collection So Special?

Kit: “I’d already created broad loom carpets for numerous boutique hotels, but working with Annie meant working with craftspeople in a more artisanal way. It also gave us an opportunity – amid the disruption of the pandemic – to keep our team together and busy. It was mostly done over Zoom, where we would design together during a once-a-week slot, and the range is broken down into London, New York and Barbados, with a different colour palette for each. For Barbados it’s striking and strong; for a concrete city like New York, it’s more subtle and refined; for London, it’s more Bloomsbury in its texture and tone.”

Martin: “Even so, the designs aren’t constrained by their geography. The very definition of Kit style’s is the fact she uses these wonderful colours everywhere and is a master of integration. She’s a great believer in bringing London to Barbados, for example.”  

Kit: “The inspiration also ranges from fishing nets over the side of a boat to horseshoes printed into the ground. It's very eclectic – in total, we ended up with 44 rugs and 28 accessories to go with it. I also hadn’t worked with PET fabrics before, which is what we use to create the indoor/outdoor rugs in the collection, but it’s so practical. These high-performance fabrics also keep their colour so well – even if it’s in a garden room or outside under bright sunlight.”

Martin: “The way to think of the PET yarn is like a carrot – it’s dyed all the way through – whereas most yarns are like a radish and only dyed on the outside, so they fade quicker.” 

Kit: “Annie actually bred a litter of puppies on a PET rug once, which was then hung out in the garden before it snowed. When the snow disappeared, she brought it back in good as new!”

Any Final Words Of Wisdom For Finding The Right Rug?

Martin: “Rugs are like paintings or works or art – you should choose the rug you love, because you’re probably going to own it longer than you have the home. Choose one that really speaks to you rather than one that just works well with that particular room.”

Kit: “For me, a good rug is all about the thread and the yarn. If it’s got some texture to it, the design will look more painterly because it will have more contrast – even on the floor. It’ll mean you look at it and be able to enjoy the colours and its beauty for longer.”


The Kit Kemp x Annie Selke Collection is available now via


Shop Kit’s New Rugs Below – Plus, A Few Of Our Favourites…

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