If you have hardwood floors in your home you likely have or want area rugs to warm things up and define your spaces. If you are hesitant to buy an area rug because you don’t know what size or style to purchase, here are some tips for selecting the right area rug for your room.
Top tips for selecting the right area rug for your home:
- Size matters. Really. Your area rugs should at minimum be large enough to go under the front legs of all living room furniture. Or, you can cover the entire room, leaving about 12″ of a wood floor border around the edge of the room. In a dining room the rug should be large enough to hold all of the chairs when they are pulled out. I suggest going 6 – 12″ beyond that full extension of 36″ around the table. When placed under a bed, you should have about 3′ out on each side of your bed for a place of your feet to land.
- Mixing patterns. If you can see your living room area rug from your dining room you will want to tie those two rugs together visually, but they don’t have to match exactly. When coordinating rugs make sure they are in the same color saturation or intensity. Don’t place a cool blue rug in a room next to a warm blue rug. Next, tie them together with a common color. It may just be one bit of yellow that ties the two together, but that works. If they both have a pattern make sure they are the same style (traditional or both geometric modern) and that the scale of the pattern is the same or dramatically different (large with small).
- Material & function. How a space will be used is important when it comes to selecting the right area rug for your room. Rugs come in various materials and like most home items, costs and performance vary. If you select the right material for your space you will be much happier with your selection. This material guide should help you make sense of the general rug materials and where to best use them in your home, based on each room’s function.
- Wool – most common type of rug. Wool is durable, soft underfoot and good for high traffic areas. It’s not great for damp areas and it is prone to fading.
- Silk – luxurious and soft. Silk rugs require professional cleaning so are best for bedrooms and low traffic areas (this is not a rug for under your kitchen table!). Their subtle sheen adds to their luxury.
- Cotton – generally used in flat weave rugs. Cotton is more affordable than wool or silk and is easy to clean. This rug isn’t long-lasting and offers a casual look.
- Synthetics – usually made of nylon or other synthetics, these are designed to mimic natural fiber rugs and are very durable. Some are great for outdoor use, they are good for damp areas and are easy to clean.
- Jute & Sisal – made of durable, natural grasses, these rugs are powerhouses that will last for a long time. They aren’t soft underfoot, but are a great neutral element that adds a lot of texture to a room. Great for high traffic areas, but can be hard to clean.
A final tip about color. I prefer to see a rug in person if the color is important to the space. Viewing rugs online doesn’t give you an accurate color sampling. If you can’t see a rug in person, order the smallest size you can to see how the colors work in your space before purchasing the larger size rug. Some rug companies offer custom colors so you can create a rug that compliments any color palette – so the sky is the limit when it comes to area rugs! Have some fun with this selection for your home.
With these few tips for selecting the right area rug for your room, you will be well on your way to finding area rugs that both look and function great for years to come.