7 INSIDER SECRETS FOR CHOOSING AN AREA RUG FOR YOUR HOME
An area rug can be the making or breaking of a room. As one of the biggest items in a space, it can make a real impact if you get it right, but it can look like a damp squib if you get it wrong. Whether you're choosing a rug for your bedroom, living room, dining room or other area in your home, find out how to get it right first time.
SECRET #1: CHOOSE BETWEEN COMFORT & STYLE
Now hang on, I hear you say; surely you can have comfort *and* style, right? Well yes you can, but you need to identify which of these is the predominant purpose of your rug. You see, rugs can have several purposes. They can be used to create a comfortable surface on top of a hard wooden floor, so if you or your kids want to sit on the floor to watch TV then this will dictate the type of rug you want to buy. There's little point in choosing a sisal rug if you want to lounge around on it, unless of course you enjoy being covered in hard ridges when you stand up! Consider whether the rug is for comfort or style, first and foremost.
A beautiful lambskin rug from Modern Rugs creates a soft base for lounging on the floor.
SECRET #2: WORK OUT HOW MUCH TRAFFIC THE RUG HAS to deal with
Consider the location of your rug: entrance halls and living rooms tend to be high-traffic areas, whereas bedrooms for example generally have a lower foot-fall. This is important to consider because the last thing you want is your high-pile rug being trampled down beyond repair within weeks of being installed.
Rugs with a low-pile are best for high traffic areas, and flat weave or natural materials such as jute, sisal, seagrass or hemp are good choices here. In a lower traffic area you can be bolder with your pile; consider sheepskin rugs for the bedroom for example, or play around with fun designs like pom pom and felt rugs.
SECRET #3: GET THE SCALE RIGHT
An incorrectly sized rug can make you look... well, a bit stingy to be honest. Rugs need to look balanced and in proportion with the rest of the room. There are some simple guidelines for getting the scale of your rug right, and you can download my rug placement guide below, which walks you through these rules room by room. To get a feel for the size of rug you are thinking of buying, either draw a to-scale floor plan, or lay out sheets of newspaper in your room to check it out, before committing yourself to a purchase.
SECRET #4: CHOOSE THE CORRECT SHAPE
Unless you have a rug bespoke-made for you, they generally come in standard sizes and either round or rectangular, although children's rugs often have a greater variety of shapes. A general rule of thumb is to match the shape of your rug to the shape of your furniture arrangement. This is especially true in dining areas: a rectangular table should be placed on a rectangular rug; a round table should be placed on a round rug (grab the download to get this right).
SECRET #5: DECIDE WHETHER YOU WANT YOUR RUG TO BE THE HERO OF THE PIECE or supporting cast
Once you've chosen the type of weave for your needs, you can turn your attention to colour and pattern. Apart from the walls and ceiling, rugs take up the biggest surface area of your room. This means that you need to consider carefully how much impact you want it to have. Decide whether you want the rug to be a bold statement piece, or whether you want it to blend gracefully into the background.
If you have a boldly decorated room, then it's probably best to choose a neutral or plain-block colour rug. Choose one of the accent colours in the room for your rug to tie it in with the existing decor.
If you have a simply decorated or fairly neutral room then a rug can bring in a little much-needed drama. Choosing a highly patterned or strongly coloured rug can give a plain room the lift it needs; think of it as a piece of artwork. Just remember to echo or repeat the colours or the patterns from the rug elsewhere in the room so that it looks cohesive with the rest of the space.
This multi-coloured rug from Harlequin via Modern Rugs acts as a bold statement in a dark room. The colours are repeated in accessories throughout.
SECRET #6: USE IT AS A ZONING TOOL
Many of us live in open plan homes, and rugs are a great way of demarcating separate functions of each space. Use a rug underneath a table and chair set to demarcate a dining zone, and use another rug to unify sofa, armchairs and a coffee or side tables in a living room zone.
SECRET #7 CHECK THE CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS
New rugs look fantastic when they are first installed, but knowing how to look after them properly is key to making that new look last for longer. High pile carpets can hide a whole host of nasties within their long fibres; you also need to consider whether stepping on pieces of long-lost lego is something you want to contend with! But close weave materials have their cleaning downsides too: tufted carpets can look flat and lifeless very quickly and materials like sisal can be problematic if you spill something on them. Check the backs of the rugs too: rubber bonded backs on rugs make them a real challenge to clean. Check the manufacturer's information to find out whether you can spot clean it.
With such an expensive purchase on the cards, let's get it right first time. Don't forget to download the rug sizing guide below.
Until next time x
Main Image Source: Pyramids rug by Jennifer Manners