Choosing the Right Area Rug for your Home

Published 8 years ago

Gone are the days of wall to wall carpeting (thank goodness!). Hello to the days of beautiful flooring! We love a clean bamboo floor or a rustic reclaimed wood floor or even a sleek minimalist concrete floor. But floors need a friend, and area rugs are a huge part of any room design. Since rugs can take up a hefty part of the budget, you want to make sure you choose the right style that will not only add coziness and a point of interest to the room, but also work as an anchor point to create a flow. Read on for tips on selecting the perfect rug for your home.

The Space (size and floorplan)

The first step in choosing the right area rug is evaluating the space you are working with and taking note of the requirements and setbacks. There are still ‘rules’ when it comes to area rugs about placement of furniture and size, but don’t get caught up in the specifics. We mentioned some of these generalizations, but go with what looks best and functions best. Choosing the right size no matter what room will take precise measuring. When in doubt, opt for the larger size.

Entryways or hallway– In most instances, a runner style rug will work due to longer entrances. Keep in mind these areas have higher traffic so will require frequent cleaning. Also, entryway rugs should be low pile or flat weave to allow doors to swing over them easily.

Dining Rooms- Most dining rooms, based on the standard sized dining table, do best with a rug that’s at least 8 feet wide. 9×12’s usually do the trick, but take measurements to ensure that all four legs of your dining chairs will remain on the rug when pulled out from the table. A general rule is to take the table measurement and add 2 feet to each side.

Living room – If you are floating the furniture in the middle of a larger room, consider fitting the whole seating area on the rug. For furniture that is placed around the room and against walls, at minimum have the front legs on the rug. Floating a rug in the center of a seating arrangement with only a cocktail table on it can look unfinished and accidental.

If you have a large open space that you would like to create multiple uses in, then think about using the rug as an anchor point to determine the size of the particular function for that part of the space.

Bedroom – Generally a bed is placed up against one of the walls, so think about extending the rug from the bottom 2/3 of the bed into the rest of the room. Ideally you want to see about 3-4 feet of carpet exposed on each side of the bed, but if the space doesn’t allow this, consider adding a runner at the end or on both sides.

Lifestyle and Materials

Now that you know the size of the rug you need, consider your lifestyle. Are you too busy to dedicate a regular care routine? Kids or pets? All these scenarios play a factor in the type of material you should choose to suit your needs.

Wool – Wool is extremely durable and maintains a good appearance with the weight of furniture due to its density. It resists dirt and spilled liquids will take time to penetrate, so if you have kids, this is a good option if you can be quick with the mop. Wool also provides good insulation to reduce noise levels.

Cotton- Cotton provides softness and good performance and you can usually find a wide range of colors and styles. It tends to be more affordable than wool in general.

Silk Rugs- Silk rugs have a very soft and opulent feel but require professional cleaning- though they definitely make a statement with timeless designs. If you’re a homeowner, a large, timeless silk rug is a wise investment.

Natural Fibers – Sisal, jute or seagrass are examples of natural woven rugs. They are typically free of chemical processing and very strong, though can be difficult to clean if it requires more than a basic beating. Perhaps you’re a renter with hopes of buying a home in the future. These rugs tend to have an affordable price, not to mention a neutral color palette, which work with most spaces and you can easily take with you to a new home when the time comes.

Synthetics- These rugs consist of man-made fibers including viscose, nylon, and polypropylene. They have been improved over the years to mimic the characteristics of natural fibers. Because many of these are described as indoor/outdoor, these are ideal for a home with pets or for high traffic areas like entryways.

Construction and Style

The last component in choosing a rug is the style. Based on the materials we mentioned above, it’s time to choose the style that best corresponds with that, rule of thumb: it’s all about balance.

Tufted- This technique involves inserting yarn through a base to create a pile. Texture and patterns are normally incorporated into these designs. Tufted rugs are most similar to traditional carpeting as thicker rugs don’t shift as easily. High pile tufted rugs provide a comfortable place to sit on the floor as well as cushioning for any accidents (good for kids). Wool and Cotton are typically the materials you will find these rugs in.

Flatweave -These durable and sometimes reversible rugs are known for their textures, graphic patterns or bold colors. They are easy to clean and move around. Great for pet owners since your furry friend can’t dig their paws in or shed fur deep into the base. Additionally, flatweaves like dhurries and kilims are great for the latest rug layering craze, you can read some of our tips for layering rugs here.

And that wraps up our post on the ideal process for determining your rug needs. Now that you have the basics figured out, it’s time for the fun part- choosing your texure, pattern or color! What is your favorite style of rug for the home?

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Jessica Haberer is an active blogger and part of the Gardenology team in San Diego. Gardenology is a retail home decor and interior design boutique with two brick and mortar establishments in Southern California. Gardenology is a forerunner in the upscale outdoor market and has proven to be a forward-thinking leader in the home design arena.

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indoor rugs, interior design, outdoor rugs, rugs
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