The Saga of My Entryway Runner

A few weeks ago, I shared photos of my updated entryway, and I mentioned that I had encountered some difficulty finding a runner that coordinated with my existing rug. Today, I’d like to go into a little more detail about this process. While finding a runner turned into a month long saga which resulted in a LOT of frustration, it also ended up being a really good learning experience for me in several ways.

To refresh your memory, I already had a beautiful 2 x 4 foot Magnolia Home rug, which I absolutely loved, but I wanted to add a coordinating runner, which would extend in front of the door to our garage. I knew it might be a bit of a challenge trying to find something which worked with the rug I already had, and my maximum budget for the runner was $100.

The first rug I ordered was a jute runner from Home Depot; I had seen photos of it on another decorator’s Instagram, and I thought that the neutral palette with hints of sage might just work perfectly with my rug. This is a great example of how tough it is to order things online; on Home Depot’s website, there were two different photos of the rug—in one, the green tones looked like a very gray sage, and in the other, they looked more like a spring green. I was hoping the rug would be closer to the former…as it turned out, I was totally disappointed. Not only were the colors all wrong, but the rug was also so thick that you couldn’t even open the garage door when the rug was in front of it. So, that runner got returned.

I can sometimes get discouraged quickly when decorating, and after this experience, I started to despair that I would ever find something that coordinated well enough (especially when ordering online!), so I decided to move on to plan B: find a totally different entryway runner that I liked equally well and move my existing rug to another spot in the house. So I ordered a very long runner from Wayfair, which I again hoped would be a neutral gray sage. When it arrived, I saw that it was much more of a dark rich olive tone. To be fair, this rug was actually quite pretty, and it DID work ok with my entryway table, but I just didn’t love it. Plus, the velvety nap of the rug showed footprints way too easily, which drives me crazy, and I didn’t think it would wear very well in a high-traffic space like an entryway. So, that got returned too (and this time I had to pay the return shipping). However, ordering this rug taught me that I loved my existing rug so much that I wasn’t going to be happy simply replacing it with an entirely new runner.

My Magnolia Home rug with custom carpet samples from  Avalon Flooring

My Magnolia Home rug with custom carpet samples from Avalon Flooring

Back to my original plan, I was still close to despairing that I would find something that would coordinate with my rug, so my husband suggested that maybe, since it was just a small runner, it wouldn’t be too expensive to get a custom-made rug. So my mother and I spent an afternoon at Avalon Flooring, looking at their beautiful selection of carpeting; I brought my small rug with me, and to my delight, there were so many wonderful options that matched just perfectly! Unfortunately, the prices weren’t listed anywhere, and when we finally did ask for a quote on one or two of the samples, I found out that even a small custom runner would cost me around $600. To my husband’s great relief, I assured him that I wasn’t THAT crazy; there was no way I would blow six times my budget on a custom runner, even if the colors did match so beautifully.

At this point, I was ready to give up. I had gotten way too emotionally invested in the whole process, and I told myself that I would just move on to a different project for the time being. However, I am nothing if not persistent, so the next day, I ordered two more runners from Pier1—I figured with free shipping and free returns, what have I got to lose?? Although the trip to Avalon Flooring had been a disappointment, looking at their samples had helped me get a better sense of what types of neutrals might work with my rug. One of Pier1 runners did not work at all, however, the other one wasn’t terrible. The texture was nice, the pattern was subtle, and the color was neutral enough that it didn’t clash too much. I don’t like to “settle” when decorating, but I started to think, maybe this was good enough for now.

However, it really bothered me that I had three different types of rugs in my entryway: a brown doormat, my Magnolia Home rug, and the runner. It looked visually disjointed, so I decided to try and find a doormat that would match with the runner, so that the entryway would flow better. After looking around online, I saw one at Target that seemed worth checking out, and since it was in stock at the store, I stopped in to look at it. As it turned out, I didn’t like the one I was looking for, but I found a different doormat that looked really good! Lo and behold, I brought it home, and it coordinated perfectly with my Magnolia Home rug and was close enough to the runner. Then, it hit me (DUH!), I wonder if this doormat also comes as a runner?? Miracle of miracles, IT DID. I couldn’t believe my luck! Now, my doormat and runner would actually be the same, so I would have visual balance on either side of the Magnolia Home rug, and the tone of the rug was literally the PERFECT neutral to coordinate with my existing rug. I also liked that the rug was solid, with only a simple border, so that nothing would distract from my patterned rug, which was the primary focus. Also, if you can believe it, this runner was $30, the doormat was $10, so for a total of $40, I had solved my entryway runner dilemma and only spent half of my budget!

I know this story is getting ridiculously long (I told you, it was a saga!), but I wanted to end with just a few quick takeaways of what I learned from this experience:

Close-up of my new  Madison Washable Runner  from Target, showing how well it matches with my  Magnolia Home Rug  from Pier1!

Close-up of my new Madison Washable Runner from Target, showing how well it matches with my Magnolia Home Rug from Pier1!

1) DON’T GIVE UP! I got so discouraged at many points along the way, but persistence really does pay off, and it was totally worth it to keep searching for the right rug.

2) Don’t settle for something that isn’t right. The more you decorate, the more you start to develop an intuitive sense of when something is or isn’t “right” in your home. It’s important to listen to this voice and only choose things for your home that you love, so that they “spark joy” when you see them everyday! I learned that it was better for me to live with the rug that I had (even though the size wasn't perfect), then to settle for replacing it with the right-size runner that I didn’t love.

3) Being “right” is different than being “perfect.” I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge perfectionist, and the idea that I was searching for the “perfect” rug was a major stumbling block for me in this process. After all, there are probably an infinite number of rugs in the world (especially if you factor in custom rugs), and if I had to find THE perfect one, then I could keep searching for the rest of my life. When I finally found a rug that worked, it might not have been perfect, but I could feel that it was RIGHT, and that was all that really mattered.

4) Lastly, stick to your guns in terms of your budget. It can be so easy when decorating to get sidetracked by something really beautiful that’s way beyond your price point, which is why I always start out with a rough budget when I’m hunting for an item. As lovely as the custom rug would have been, it was completely not worth spending $600 on. In the end, my determination and effort paid off with a runner that only cost half my budget!

Sometimes, it takes three, or four, or even five tries to find the item you are looking for in your home, so it’s important to be patient with the process and just keep searching. Fortunately, my “rug saga” did have a happy ending—I love my new runner, and I appreciate it all the more when I remember all the useful lessons that I learned through the process of finding it!