Choosing an Area Rug

Published July 20, 2012

Have you ever found yourself gazing at your living room and wondering if it’s time for a little perking up? Well, an area rug could be the perfect solution. Area rugs provide many uses and can be clever ways to add panache to your room. Among other things, area rugs add warmth and character as well as useful purposes such as covering up spills, stains and providing comfort to your feet.

The question is how does one choose the right size, colour and pattern for your room?

Firstly, ask yourself if the purpose of your area rug is strictly for addition of colour into the room, or perhaps you need to warm up the floor a little and cut down on noise. If the former is your priority then be sure to choose a rug that will coordinate with the rest of the room and pull all decorating elements together. Do you want the area rug to be the focal point in the room or rather to enhance a beautiful fireplace? If a focal point is what you would like then be sure to choose a pattern that is bold and eye-catching. Perhaps a large, center pattern would suffice. If you choose to enhance a fireplace or other feature then you are better off with a repeating pattern or solid colour with a simple border. To warm up your room and cut down on noise, you may want to choose a coordinating coloured rug and lean more toward a thicker, larger rug to cover more floor space.

The size of the area rug is also important. There tend to be general guidelines on the size of the area rug for coffee tables and dining tables. For coffee tables, it’s important for all four legs of the table to be able to fit on the rug. Do not overpower the room with too large of a rug. A typical coffee table rug is either 4′ x 6′, 5′ x 7′ and 6′ x 9′. Obviously the size of the rug depends upon the size of your coffee table and other furnishings in the room. It’s always a good idea to leave some floor space between the rug and the surrounding furnishings. For dining tables, be sure the legs fit on the rug and that your guest’s chairs fit and not fall off the rug when they sit down. As a general rule of thumb, measure the length and width of your table and then add approximately 2-3 feet on each side.

Inquire as to the material that the area rug is made of. There are synthetic and natural fiber rugs. Popular synthetic rugs are acrylic, polypropylene and nylon.  Some examples of natural fiber rugs are jute, sisal and wool. Today’s market offers many more choices of synthetic and natural fiber rugs. It’s best to let your rug salesperson know what the exact use is for the rug so that they can best direct you to what they feel is best for your purpose.

It’s also a good idea to purchase a rug pad to place under your area rug if you plan to use it on hard flooring. Rug pads not only prevent your area rug from slipping but also help to reduce noise and help to absorb the constant impact the rug receives. They will keep your rug in its intended position and will of course protect your floor from any scratches that the rug may impose over time.

As far as patterns go, decorators today are mixing old with new and reinventing an eclectic look that can play host to many different styles of rugs. Choose a rug that coordinates with your room’s colour theme and a pattern that is reflective of your personal style. After all, your home is a reflection of yourselves.