Expert Interviews

Angelo Surmelis
Name  Angelo Surmelis 
Organization Name

Self-described “Lifestyle/Design & TV Guy” Angelo Surmelis and his family moved to the United States from Greece when he was six, and it was around that time, his parents remember him dragging furniture around to rearrange their Chicago apartment. "I really believed, from an early age and still do, that your space can change the way you feel," says Surmelis. 

Many years later, he figured it was time to take his "act" of moving furniture out of the house and on the road. After moving around the globe and working with clients of every kind, he began to spread his message to a larger audience. He has since starred in five design series on networks like TLC, Lifetime, Style & HGTV and has appeared on The Today Show, CNN, and other national shows, and his launched his own line of furniture and accessories.

Below, Angelo answers a few frequently asked questions on designing a room with an area rug. "Great style is more than aesthetics—it's also being responsible and well-informed. GoodWeave helps us be both while still finding some of the world's most beautiful rugs," the designer says. Learn more at

I’ve just moved into a new home and starting to furnish it from scratch. Which comes first, the rug or the furniture?

There are no hard or fast rules when planning a room since it varies based on what your needs are and what you are starting out with. That being said, you can build a room around a great rug. Your rug needs to be big enough to fill a space, and can help bring in color, texture and pattern to set the tone for your room. You can also use it as a spring board for room color(s).
How do I determine what the ideal size and shape for a rug should be given the dimensions of the room?

I always prefer a bigger rug. I've seen too many small rugs make a small room look tinier and a large room feel incomplete. If you're using a rug in a living room, a good rule of thumb is to make sure the rug will go under at least the first set of legs of a traditional seating arrangement (sofa facing chairs).
How should I use the colors and patterns in the rug I’ve chosen as my base to select furniture, accessories and wall colors?

Look for the least represented color in your new rug. Pull that color out for possible wall color or fabrics.  If that color is too bold or not the right hue for you, play with the tone. I'm also a fan of mixing your styles a bit. If you've chosen a contemporary rug, partner it with some traditional furnishings; if you’ve gone classic with your rug, mix it up with some modern pieces. When styles are too similar, I feel that they cancel each other out and your eye loses the specialness of the individual design.
A quality area rug can last a lifetime. How can I select a rug that will allow me to update the rest of my home decor from time to time without having to buy a new rug?

A high quality rug is a long-term investment. Don't lead your style decision with trends. Stay with the classics, regardless of style. Also, if you’re not comfortable with mixing patterns and textures, keep your rug neutral and a great foundation for changing looks in fabric, furniture and accessories.
What are other things to look for in a rug?

First, consider your lifestyle... Do you have pets? Kids? Lots of foot traffic? Allergies? Be sure to let your rug dealer know your concerns. GoodWeave can help you find reputable dealers that sell rugs that are certified child labor free. The more information you gather and share with whoever is helping guide your purchase, the more likely you will make a decision that you’ll be happy with in the long run.