A rug can make or break the look and feel of a room. As a key element in any interior design scheme, choosing the right rug requires careful consideration of factors like size, style, color, and material. The process may seem daunting to the uninitiated, but this guide will walk you through the key steps involved in selecting a rug tailored to your space and decor sensibilities.
With some basic know-how of rug basics and a bit of planning, you’ll be equipped to find the perfect rug to tie your room together. Let’s get started!
I. Understanding the Purpose of a Rug
In interior design, rugs serve both aesthetic and functional purposes. At a basic level, rugs provide comfort underfoot and protect your floors from wear and tear. They also lend warmth to rooms, both literally—by insulating against cold from floors—and visually, by softening and anchoring furniture arrangements.
The right rug can define and unite a space, pulling together a cohesive look while delineating specific zones in open concept rooms. Area rugs under seating arrangements or demarcating dining rooms help carve out individual spaces within a larger room. Similarly, runners along hallways neatly define walkways in elongated spaces.
Rugs also have acoustic properties that absorb sound and reduce echoes. Large rugs in open entertaining spaces help soak up ambient noise and create a cozier atmosphere. Using rugs to dampen sound between floors helps maintain privacy in multi-story homes.
II. Measuring and Choosing the Right Rug Size
One of the trickiest aspects of rug shopping is figuring out the optimal size for your space. You’ll need to take careful measurements of the floor area where you plan to place the rug. Be sure to deduct any floor space taken up by furniture legs or bases so you don’t end up with a rug that’s awkwardly too small.
As a general guideline:
- Living room rugs should be large enough to fit beneath the front legs of major seating like sofas and chairs. Coffee tables and ottomans can sit directly on top. Size the rug to leave at least 18-24 inches of floor showing along the perimeter.
- Dining room rugs can be sized to allow pulling out chairs without slipping off. For round tables, the rug should measure 1.5 times the table diameter. For rectangular tables, allow at least 2 feet of floor between the edges of the rug and the walls.
- Bedroom rugs can extend out from the bed on both sides with a minimum of 16 inches. Alternatively, you can create a cozier seating area with a rug under armchairs and footstools anchored at the foot of the bed.
- Hallway and staircase runners should be around 2 to 3 feet wide to fit the circulation path. Size the length based on the dimensions of your hallway or stairs.
III. Selecting the Rug Style to Complement Your Décor
From traditional patterns to vibrant contemporary prints, the options for rug designs are endless. Consider what rug style best matches your existing decor aesthetics and adds to the overall ambiance you want to achieve.
For formal, elegant spaces, timeless Persian designs or floral motifs in muted palettes create an air of refined sophistication. Classic Oriental patterns also infuse rooms with history and old-world charm. Distressed styles in muted jewel tones bring together eclectic decors.
For casual family spaces, lively graphic prints or bright colors inject cheerfulness and vibrancy. Abstract lines and overlapping shapes create visual interest in modern minimalist interiors. Neutral fiber textures like jute and sisal soften contemporary rooms with natural warmth.
Don’t be afraid to use rugs with patterns as a statement piece. Anchor bold designs with solid colored furnishings and decor accents. Repeating some colors from patterned rugs in your soft furnishings ties the look together.
IV. Considering Rug Material and Pile Height
From natural fibers like wool and silk to synthetic types like nylon and polyester, rug materials each have their own characteristics:
- Wool is renowned for its softness, durability, and natural stain resistance—though it requires more frequent professional cleaning. Wool rugs hold up well in high traffic areas.
- Silk offers luxurious sheen but requires meticulous care. Silk is best suited for low traffic zones or decorative accent rugs.
- Cotton provides good value and a soft underfoot feel, though it crushes easily. Cotton casual shag rugs add cozy texture.
- Synthetics like polyester and nylon are family-friendly and easy to clean but aren’t as cushy. These budget-friendly options work well in kids’ spaces.
- Natural jute and sisal have excellent eco-friendly appeal, though they shed and mark easily. These casual fiber rugs suit laidback rooms.
- Rug blends like wool-silk and wool-nylon combine the best qualities of multiple materials. Though pricier, these hybrids provide the perfect balance of comfort, durability, and ease of maintenance.
Pile height also merits consideration from a style and functionality perspective:
- Low pile under 3⁄4 inch is versatile and suitable for high foot traffic. It allows for easy chair movement.
- Medium pile of 1⁄2 to 1 inch provides cushioning that’s cozy yet practical.
- High plush pile over 1 inch makes a lavish statement, but shows markings readily. Reserve for low-traffic zones.
V. Choosing the Right Rug Color for Your Space
Color selection plays a huge role in ensuring your rug complements your overall interior scheme. Determine the mood you want to create and choose colors that will work in harmony with your existing palette. Here are some color matching tips:
- For a sleek, pulled-together look, pick a rug color that matches your main furniture like sofas or headboards. The rug visually "grounds" the seating.
- Alternately, choose rug colors that complement accent hues in decor items like throw pillows, drapes, artwork and accessories. This adds nice decorative flair.
- Opt for contrast if you prefer a more energetic vibe. Rugs in hues opposite the color wheel from your furnishings make the space pop.
- With neutral "greige" backdrops, vibrant rug colors from deep blues to bright citrus shades infuse rooms with personality.
- In children's rooms, pick colors that match their preferences but stay within the same palettes for visual cohesion.
Trust your instincts when deciding on colors. The rug sets the tone for the room, so choose one that ignites joy!
VI. Additional Considerations for Rug Placement and Care
To prevent slips and trips, ensure rugs lie flat with no flipped up corners or edges. Tape down edges on low pile rugs. Use non-slip pads beneath rugs on hardwood or tile. Avoid positioning rugs at the top of stairways.
For optimal comfort underfoot, use padded rug cushions beneath rugs, especially on hard surfaces. This also reduces wear from grinding dirt and furniture imprints.
Regular vacuuming keeps rugs looking their best in between periodic deep cleaning. Avoid beaters and harsh chemicals. Flip periodically to evenly distribute wear. Address spills immediately by blotting gently with a cloth.
When moving furniture, lift rather than drag pieces across the rug to prevent tearing or bunching. Store rugs flat or rolled up, never folded. With proper care, your rug will stay beautiful for years!
We hope this guide has given you a solid foundation for navigating the intricacies of rug selection. Always keep your personal needs, aesthetic tastes and practical considerations in mind. Measure carefully, shop around for quality materials, and choose colors that excite you.
Most importantly, see rug shopping as an opportunity to infuse your personality into a space. With the perfect rug anchoring your room, you’ll feel at home whenever you walk through the door. For more home decor inspiration, explore our collection of beautifully crafted rugs to find your ideal match!