If you’re not sold on the idea of wall-to-wall carpeting, but love a soft weave under your feet when you get out of bed in the morning, there’s a perfect compromise…area rugs! These accent pieces come in a mind-boggling variety of sizes, shapes, colors and textures. No matter what your taste, the perfect rug for you is definitely out there!
Feeling a little overwhelmed by the choices? Wondering where to start and how to choose? Let our Design Studio experts help you decide on your next step! We’ve gathered up some of their best tips and hints for decorating with area rugs. Once you get into the groove of it, you’ll be hooked…and perhaps your rug will be as well! (Forgive us for the pun – we couldn’t help ourselves…)
The first tip is the most important – don’t skip the rug pad!
A lot of homeowners decide against this critical step, thinking that it’s merely an extra expense they don’t need. However, rug pads are essential when you’re using area rugs in your home. First of all, they provide stability and a non-slip surface for the carpet, helping it to stay in place and keep your footing secure. Using a rug pad will also extend the life of your carpet, as area rugs wear out from the bottom up. This is caused by the friction of the carpet against the floor when you’re walking on the rug. The less the rug rubs and moves, the less wear and tear on the fibers. Rug tape isn’t recommended, especially on hardwood floors. The sticky residue can ruin the finish.
It’s sad but true…size matters.
Measure first. Make sure that you’re buying the right size rug for your space. Nothing is worse than finding the perfect rug, bringing it home, and finding out that it’s too large for the space or that it is too small and looks a little silly. If you plan on covering the better part of a room with an area rug, a good rule of thumb is to allow at least eight to twelve inches of flooring to show past the edges of each side of the rug.
If you are using rugs to draw the eye to a particular piece of furniture, it’s common to see the front legs of a sofa or a large, sturdy chair on the area rug and the back legs on the existing flooring. If you’re highlighting coffee or end tables, however, all four legs should be placed on the area rug to keep the surface level. If you’re using an area rug under a bed, it’s best to make sure that you have at least two feet of rug visible on each side of the bed. Not only is this more attractive visually, it also ensures that your feet get optimum comfort when you’re getting in or out!
In your dining room, measure the top of the dining table and add 24 inches to 30 inches on each side. This allows space for a person to get in and out of the chair and to move closer to the table or move back from the table while keeping the back legs of the chair on the rug.
Here’s a good trick for visualizing how much of the rug will cover your floor space. As you measure a space on the floor to match the size of the rug, lay an 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper on the floor to indicate each corner. Fix the sheets of paper in place with masking tape. Visualize the rug there and see how it fits the space. You may even want to do this for different sizes of rugs to find out if one size works better than another.
Another money saving trap to avoid is purchasing a rug in a smaller size because it is less expensive. If you put a rug that is too small for the space down on your floor, it creates a negative optical illusion of a smaller space that will actually make your room look more cramped and tight.
Avoid placing the corner of an area rug in the middle of an opening into another room or at the edge of a pathway. Corners in these areas create tripping hazards. If you’re planning to use rugs in high traffic areas, make sure people will be walking on the larger part of the rug, not just the corner.
Set the mood…
You can create the tone of the room by selecting a certain type of rug. Small patterns and light colors make a room seem airy, spacious and bright, while deeper, darker colors create a warm, cozy feeling. Geometric patterns give a room a modern edge, while traditional oriental or heavy floral patterns strike a retro, vintage note.
Don’t limit your rug choices to square or rectangular pieces. Think about circular rugs (especially if you have a round dining table you’re dying to focus on) or more exotic shapes such as hexagons, octagons or die-cut styles.
Be willing to use a “busy” patterned rug in a room with neutral or single color walls to give the room personality and excitement, or to purchase coordinating area rugs to use in the same room. You can even buy rugs in different sizes and layer them for an extra pop of interest.
Choosing the right material is crucial.
Natural fibers last longer and release no harmful gasses into the environment over time. If you’re looking for durability, wool is long-lasting and for the most part, easy care. Jute rugs are also easy to clean, and their natural-looking fiber fits into a more casual décor. You can also consider cotton or silk rugs, although they don’t wear as well if you have kids and pets.
Synthetic fibers such as nylon, polyester and olefin are also popular, but may be more difficult to clean or may fade easily, depending on the individual material.