Choosing an Area Rug for Your Home

Area rugs can add texture to any part of the house without taking up too much space. These rugs are versatile especially if you like to change your décor every now and then. When choosing a rug, these elements should be considered – size, pattern, material, durability, comfort, maintenance, and color.
Choosing an Area Rug for Your Home

If you’re been reading into home design, you’re probably familiar with the floor-to-ceiling rule: start designing from the floor, then work your way up. That’s because your floor sets the foundation for the rest of your home. If you mess up your floor design, you’ll have a hard time getting the rest of the house right. The opposite holds true as well—set an impressive floor and the rest will take care of itself.

So how do you design your floor right? Often, people overdo their walls and ceilings and leave the floor bare. This puts the room out of balance and distracts from the rest of the décor. If can’t afford floor treatments or are simply out of ideas, try dressing up your floor with an area rug. Area rugs add texture and color to your floor without taking up too much space, and you can change them as often as you like to match changes in your room décor. Here are some things to consider when choosing an area rug for your home.

Size. The size of your rug should be in proportion with the visible floor area around it. You don’t want something too small or it won’t be visible, but you don’t want it taking up too much space either, or you might as well have gotten a carpet. As a rule, there should be one or two feet of bare floor on each side to give it emphasis. This is especially important if you want it to be the room’s focal point. Also consider the furniture and other items in the room. If there’s something you want to get noticed, choose a smaller rug that won’t call attention.

Color. This is usually the first thing people notice when they look at your rug. Pretty much anything goes with rug color—you can go for stark contrast or subtle blending, bright neons or pastel shades. However, it helps to keep your motif in mind so it won’t clash in a bad way. If your room is simple and minimal, a bright-colored rug might liven it up a bit; if it’s a funky country-themed one, you can tone it down with a neutral-colored rug.

Pattern. Contrast is usually the rule of thumb when it comes to pattern. Don’t overdo the rug when your room is already full of color, but don’t make it too dull by combining solid rugs and solid walls. If you need some texture but don’t want any patterns, try using a braided or woven rug. The bit of floor that shows through gives it some variety, and the weave gives it a more natural-looking pattern. It will also show fewer signs of wear and tear, making it perfect for heavily used rooms.

Material. Cotton and wool have always been favored for rugs, but synthetics are also becoming popular because of their durability. Even plastic and rubber rugs are being introduced, although they are more popular as bath and door mats. Your choice of material should depend on the function of the room. In a living room, where they’ll be walked on all day, polyester or some other synthetic material will hold up better. For added comfort, choose a cotton-polyester blend with a soft weave and quilted construction.

Durability. If your rug is mostly for display, durability is only secondary to color, pattern, and texture. Nylon and polyester blends tend to be weak, but they offer more color choices, so they make great floor accents. If you need something sturdier, go for a higher concentration of natural material such as wool or cotton. Also look at the weave—the tighter it is, the more abuse the rug can take. A rubber underside is great for preventing slip and protecting the material on top.

Comfort. The rug should be soft and comfortable if it’s to serve as a play area as well as a floor décor. Soft, thick fabrics and thick weaves work best for large area rugs. A good Oriental rug can have as much as 1,000 knots per square inch, making it both very comfortable and extremely durable. The only problem with knotted rugs is the dust, which tends to gather between the knots. On a thick rug, you’ll often need more than two runs of the vacuum to get all the particles out.

Maintenance. Besides your flooring, your rugs are usually the first to show signs of wear. You can expect tears and frizz to appear a month or so after you set it up. Tighter and denser rugs are more prone to wear, so avoid anything too rich if you’re going to use it in the living room. Look for rugs that can be washed or dry-cleaned without damaging the material, and go for shorter knots to minimize the dust buildup.