Navigating Vintage Rugs: A Q&A with Julia Miller


Photo by Amanda Marie Studio

Julia Miller of J. Miller Interiors is a Minneapolis based Designer who has been wildly successful creating spaces true to her personal style: warm, organic and modern. She helps her clients transform their own spaces through Consultation Sessions and Sourcing/E-Design Services while maintaining her growing Instagram following. She shares her inspirations daily and explains her decision making processes; making her one of the most accessible designers on the market today. We had the pleasure of picking her brain and sharing it with you. 

I feel pretty certain that every space needs something vintage or previously used. It’s such a wonderful way to instantly add some warmth and personality to a space.
— Julia Miller

Each room has different needs when it comes to rugs. How do you navigate picking out an appropriate rug for each space?

For me, I love picking out rugs that provide warmth and interest to a space and vintage rugs are perfect for that! A rug is an easy place to add pattern - you can get a lot of bang for your buck - so I like to search for rugs that carry colors from other parts of the home. A few of the things I consider when selecting a rug for a space are: high traffic vs. low traffic, pile height, size, and construction.  

What key spaces in a project do you like to highlight with rugs? 

Can I say all spaces?! I'm serious, there are very few spaces that couldn't use the touch of a rug! If I had to choose spaces to prioritize, I would highlight the living room, a runner for the kitchen and a small mat for the bathroom. 

What tips do you have for mixing vintage and new rugs? 

Oh my, one of my favorite little tricks is to layer a vintage rug with a jute or natural fiber rug. It can be hard to find room-sized vintage rugs at approachable price points and layering a vintage rug with a less expensive natural fiber rug can really show off your vintage find without breaking the bank.  I also love allowing a vintage rug to steal the show and pairing it with an understated new rug can also be a winning combination. 

How do you convince your client that vintage is worth investing in? 

Once a client sees the natural variation, texture, and patina that only age can bring, it's a pretty easy sell. Many clients worry that a vintage rug will be too precious, I assure them that it has already stood the test of time and is often constructed of more durable materials and techniques than what is commonly available. 

What is your favorite part about using rugs in your projects? 

I live in a cold weather climate and I think that rugs are a necessity for us northern dwellers who need a cozy and warm home to get us through the long winters. Rugs instantly add warmth that cannot be achieved with any other design trick! By placing furniture strategically on/around a rug it immediately creates a sense of how to use the space, which is wonderful in open-concept homes. 

How do you describe your interior design style? How did you know that design was something you wanted to pursue? 

Someone ONCE described my style as warm, organic and modern. I love to combine styles to achieve a collected and thoughtful home. Vintage pieces are an essential element of my design style. I come from a long line of women tastemakers and I honestly believe that design is in my blood, I was born with an innate interest in my surroundings and that was cultivated by my mother, aunt, and grandmother. I have since realized that design can be a career and am working towards formally integrating interior design into my life! 

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thank you for spending time with us. // henslin