Does It Really Tie the Room Together?: Three Interior Designers Size Up the Dude’s Rug from ‘The Big Lebowski’
For 25 years, fans of The Big Lebowski have quoted the lines, shared the memes and shit-talked the Eagles with reckless abandon. Such die-hards definitely still abide the Dude, and so do we, which is why we’ll be spending the next five days celebrating a quarter century of Lebowski. So grab yourself a White Russian, lay back on your favorite rug and take it easy — just like, you know, the Dude.
All the Dude wanted was to get his rug back. He didn’t care about the other Jeffrey Lebowski and his Little Lebowski Urban Achievers. He didn’t give a shit about Jackie Treehorn’s porn empire, And he certainly wasn’t interested in what the hell the Nihilists did or didn’t believe in. He just wanted his rug replaced after it was peed on.
Despite the fact that the soiling of the Dude’s rug was the impetus for the entire film, we hardly ever see the Dude’s original rug in The Big Lebowski. We only observe part of it while Woo is urinating on it — that’s it. We actually see much more of the Dude’s second rug, i.e., the one he steals from the other Jeffrey Lebowski.
Regardless, both rugs are very important to the plot of The Big Lebowski, which is why I reached out to a few renowned interior designers to find out if either rug is all that nice to begin with.
Did the Dude’s original rug really tie the room together?
Bianca Serrao, interior designer and founder of The Home Reform: It’s a neutral rug, and it looks vintage. He’s also got some other vintage items in the room, so the vintage pieces sort of tie in with the rug, but I wouldn’t say it makes the room.
Lu Fitoussi-Findlay, interior designer, founder of LFF Studios and host of When the Dust Settles podcast: Empty floors are miserable and that rug in particular pulls in the browns from the furniture and the creams from the walls, so the Dude has a point when he says it ties the room together.
What about his second rug?
Wrobel: The red rug is very nice. The colors are nice, and red is an interesting color to incorporate because it’s such a strong color. This rug makes a statement, and since there isn’t much other furniture in the space, it draws your attention to the rug.
Serrao: The red rug definitely does a better job of tying the room together. I’d call that a lynchpin fabric, which means it has a number of different colors and patterns in it and you can tie everything else in the room to it. I think it ties the room together really well.
Fitoussi-Findlay: I don’t like the red with the orange floor. It’s a bit too warm. He needs to re-stain his floor or sand it. His space in general needs a bit of a hand, but he was better off with his original rug.
Are either of these rugs particularly valuable?
Wrobel: The red rug looks like it could hold some value. Handwoven oriental rugs that look like this can go for thousands of dollars.
Serrao: It’s hard to say without seeing them in person. They could be cheap carbon copies, or they could be exceptionally valuable. Even the original rug could be an authentic vintage rug, so it could absolutely be valuable.
Fitoussi-Findlay: If the red rug is a genuine Kashan Persian rug, it could cost $6,000. As for his original rug, I reckon it was always a crappy rug. I reckon he found it on the side of the street rolled-up and he said, “I need a rug to tie my room together, so I’ll take it home.” If I was putting a backstory to it, that’d be it.
What should someone do if they get their rug peed on?
Serrao: If someone peed on my rug, I’d get a carpet cleaner and use all the vinegar and bicarbonate soda I could before Hoovering the hell out of it. But if it was an original oriental rug, you’d have to get it dry-cleaned by a specialist.
Wrobel: I would chuck the rug.
Fitoussi-Findlay: My rugs get peed on all the time from both animals and children. If it’s an expensive hand-knotted rug, they wash better than cheaper rugs with plastic backings — cat wee is particularly bad. If you can get it professionally washed with a wet vac, that’s great, but if you can’t, I’d take a cat-wee odor-eliminator spray and mix it with water and hang it outside to dry. You also can get rugs that are washable now. The Dude should have gone for that because he could have just put the rug that people came over and wee-d on in the washing machine.