Many people think of area rugs as a good "finishing touch" for a room. Actually, a rug is a great way to begin decorating a room since it can give you a good color palette to start from. Area rugs can define a conversation area in the living room, a seating area in an office, or an eating area in the kitchen or dining room. They can separate rooms that have no defining wall and mark off areas by placing them on wall-to-wall carpeting. Throw rugs and area rugs provide an additional visual layer, making it easy to transform a room from cold and dreary to warm and colorful.
Select a size
Select a style
- Smaller-sized rugs can draw attention to and highlight furnishings, i.e., sofas, fireplaces or coffee tables. A small or medium rug can serve as the focal point of a room, and a large rug usually will be used in a living or dining room to bring the whole room together. A 9' x 12' rug will usually work well in an average-size living room.
- A 4' x 6' or 6' x 9' rug generally works well under a coffee table. All four legs should fit on the rug, which should be about the same length and width of the furnishings within the space.
- An 8' x 10' area rug works for most dining rooms. The chair legs should not fall off the rug when people are seated or when pulling chairs away from the table, so measure the length and width of the table and add at least four feet to each measurement to get a good size estimate.
- To determine the proper dimensions of a room-size rug, subtract three feet from the length and width of the room. Runners should be four inches narrower than your hallway and 18 to 24 inches shorter.
- Smaller area and "scatter" rugs can be ideal for use in small spaces or at hearthside, bedside or in front of a kitchen sink - anywhere you want a little splash of color.
Consider the materials / traffic
- The style of the area rug is equally important in your goal of "pulling it all together." Whether you prefer contemporary, traditional, Victorian, or something in between, you can find area rugs to accentuate your style. If you have rather eclectic tastes and your furnishings are from several style groups in the same room, area rugs can offer that binding look that makes it all seem to work together.
- Don't get too hung up on defining "style." Consider the rug as a piece of artwork. You don't have to be married to the decision forever, but you should certainly like the colors and patterns of the rug you choose! Many people choose neutral colors/patterns for their large furniture pieces such as sofas and chairs because they don't want them to become outdated. Use the rug as a bolder statement to add color, patterns, and boldness into the room. However, if you do have a bold pattern or color scheme in your furniture, choose a more subtle rug that won't compete with it.
- Keep in mind that you need not reserve rugs for the floor; they can make equally impressive wall hangings!
Color and pattern options
- Consider the traffic in that space. The higher the traffic, the denser the rug will need to be. Choose a rug that will look and perform well, with the right combination of fiber and density. Wool and the synthetic yarns (nylon, polyester, acrylic, and polypropylene) are durable, soft and easy to clean. The denser the pile - with closer tufts, knots or stitches - the better your rug will wear.
- Gaining popularity are rugs made of natural fibers, like wool, linen, cotton, jute and silk.
- Consider the rug's texture. The textural properties of the raw fibers of the rug make it an interesting design element in a room. Think of how natural wools from flat-weave to plush, or wool blended with pure silk or high-tech synthetics, shags or earthy jute rugs contribute to the "mood" of a room.
- Light colored rugs will make a room look more spacious while a darker color scheme can add coziness to a bigger space.
- A rug with a bold overall pattern can be the focal point of a room, with a sofa and chair in solid or subdued patterns. Consider using round, oval, octagonal or other shapes for a different look.
- To make a rug the focal point of a room, create contrast. Paint your walls a hue that echoes one of your rug's accent colors.
- Ask yourself what effect you want the room to have - a warm, cozy room rich with bold colors and textures, or a calming, uncluttered space with softer hues and simple patterns?
- Don't be afraid of patterns. Adding geometric patterns can take a traditional setting and make it appear more modern, while floral patterns and Persian designs have a more traditional appeal.
- Use the colors in your rug to select small accent pieces for your room. This will help tie the room together into one cohesive space.