An area rug isn’t simply a decorative item that adds some color to “tie the room together.” They’re also nice for your feet, of course, providing a softer surface than the hard floor underneath and protecting your bare skin from an unpleasantly cold surface. Area rugs can prevent furniture from sliding around on a slick floor, and they delineate living spaces, helping sort your home with a more organized feeling. To be successful in all these purposes, though, choosing the right area rug for the space is essential.
Use the following tips for choosing the right area rug to ensure that your selection is an aesthetic and effective addition to the room in which it lies. And once you’ve found the perfect items, make sure you know how to care for area rugs and how to store area rugs.
Picking the Perfect Area Rug
- Typically, an area rug should be large enough to encompass the furniture in it space, extending about one or two feet beyond. For example, in a dining room, the area rug should fit the entire table and all the chairs, with enough of a border to still be beneath the chairs if they’re pulled out far enough for someone to sit or get up; it should extend out from beneath a bed far enough to provide an adequate landing space for feet in the morning.
- Area rugs often look a little silly and make a room feel smaller if they only sit beneath one piece of furniture (such as a coffee table).
- Don’t get an area rug that’s large enough to be up against a wall in its intended location (and don’t place one so it hits a wall, either). In an average-sized room, there should generally be about 10 to 20 inches between walls and the edge of an area rug.
- Rectangular and square area rugs tend to work best for delineating living spaces within a room.
- Round area rugs do well in rooms that are wide in one direction and narrow in the other, and are generally best situated in the middle of the room or centered below a hanging light fixture in a specific living space within the room.
- Long, narrow area rugs are ideal for hallways; center them and keep furniture off them.
- When framing a large piece of furniture like a dining room table, use a rug that’s the same shape as the furniture (e.g., a round rug beneath a round dining table or a rectangular rug under a rectangular dining table).
- If you fall in love with an area rug that’s too small for its intended space, don’t overlook the option of layering it on top of a complementary larger area rug.
- The color, pattern, and style of an area rug must make sense with the larger design motif in the room. However, it’s usually boring to simply repeat colors or patterns with the rug.
- Be careful about choosing an area rug with a pattern or primary color that clashes with other prominent patterns or colors in the room.
- Pay extra attention to how the colors and pattern of a rug plays with the furniture that will be directly on top of it or immediately next to it.
- Consider your lifestyle and the rug’s location when picking its color. For example, if it will be frequently subjected to shoes, or if you have young kids and dogs, or if it’s going where you often spill your third glass of wine for the night, a white area rug probably isn’t the best idea.
- Use a busier rug pattern to enliven a room that’s otherwise a bit tame; use a more restrained rug pattern or just a solid color in a room that has a good deal going on elsewhere.
- Low-pile rugs tend to be more durable and easier to clean, and are good for spaces with heavy foot traffic and use. Longer-pile rugs can feel more luxurious and comfortable, but are better reserved for places where they won’t be subject to a lot of wear and soiling.
- Have fun and go with your style! This is your home, and you want all elements of the décor to reflect your taste and make you happy to be there!