Fantastic flooring takes center stage, as we cozy up to architecture- and art-inspired oeuvres of the horizontal kind.

Step in style with sumptuous rugs and dashing durries.

Designer Victoria Weymouth apparently once quipped, "Darling, I always start my designs with a rug, where else would you start?" – a mantra that many are now taking to heart. These cozy lengths no longer offer mere warmth underfoot – with the renaissance in decorative design, the humble rug has been reinstated as a modern masterpiece for the home.

Rugs anchor a space, giving the room a central focal point, and creating subtle delineation, or "zoning," within open plan spaces. The addition of even the most simple shape or style can change the layout of a room instantly and effortlessly. As architects take on décor as well as structure, many big names have been quick to exploit this bourgeoning market, from Piero Lissoni to John Pawson. Focusing on structural inspiration, Lissoni's Île, produced by Asplund, is offered in a host of irregular shapes and sizes, while Pawson's concrete-hued offering stresses the beauty of even the most simple lines. Even artists such as Gavin Turk can lay claim to rug design. These outstanding oeuvres are no longer a mere design detail; they are as important as their wall-hung decorative counterparts.

Antique rugs are on the wane as contemporary designers reinterpret old styles, creating vintage looks with a modern edge. Agnès Comar and Marni's Rococo-inspired florals vivify, and ClassiCon's re-edition of Eileen Gray's geometric masterpieces are bold, bright and strong on design. Companies such as London's Christopher Farr and The Rug Company have filled the niche for high-quality, custom-made and star designer flooring as clients crave not only comfort, but high design, while New York's Tai Ping continues to sustain the heritage of Oriental styles with success.

Textural effects offer tactile touches, from hand-knotted Nepalese wool, known for its quality – a favorite among conscious consumers – to the exaggerated shag of leather off-cuts. These textures offer muted alternatives for the less daring. Whatever the size, shape or texture, these magnificent low-level works of art aim to inspire, while offering cozy comfort.

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