Choosing the right area rug for your room can be a long process!
But it’s an important element to decide on. One of the most common design mistakes is in choosing your area rug last. When in fact the area rug can help you decide on other factors that will help you in designing the room. Things like the colour for your walls and what style the room is going to be.
The main rule of thumb to remember for when choosing an area rug is to buy the largest size you can.
An area rug needs to be large enough so you can fit all the furniture on the rug. If the rug is just “floating” in the middle of the room sitting underneath the coffee table it’s too small.
The rug is used to define areas of zones of spaces. One zone would be the sitting area. The coffee table, sofa and chairs would be included in the sitting area. If you can’t fit all these pieces fully on the the rug then the front legs of the sofa and chairs should at least be on the rug.
When you have all your furniture on the rug it makes the space seem larger than it is.
Leave at least 30cm or 8 inches up to a maximum of 24 inches between the rug and your living room walls.
Best options: Wool, acrylic, polypropylene, sisal, jute.
For a bedroom the size of the bed is going to help you determine the size of the rug.
Generally if you have a queen sized bed the minimum size rug you need is a 8 x 10. Still apply the same rules for spacing between the wall and the rug as you would do in the living room area.
You should aim to place the area rug at least two thirds under your bed with a good landing space on either side of the bed.
Best options: Anything goes! You can afford to go for more luxurious and high pile options as the bedroom is considered a low traffic area.
If you choose to have an area rug underneath your dining table make sure the style is suitable for the area. Having a white or an extremely light coloured rug under your dining table is not practical. Food is bound to fall on to the rug at some point!
Also make sure that the size of the rug accommodates for when the chairs are pulled out from the table. The chairs still should have a rug landing underneath them, a general rule of thumb is to allow an extra 36 inches.
If your dining chairs have castor wheels on them then a durable and low pile rug is a must.
Best options: Flat weave, low pile rugs, dark, patterned, sisal, jute, seagrass.
Even if you have carpet in some rooms you can add a rug on top.
It will give the room an extra cozy feeling. If the carpet you have is a neutral colour bringing in area rug is a chance to add some interest with a pop of colour, an exciting print or a pretty pattern.
You can also layer a smaller rug on top of a larger one and play around with colour and texture. Starting with a neutral colour base is easier and a lower pile is easier to work from.
Low Pile & Flat Weave
Low pile and flat weave rugs are the options you want to look for if you’re needing something durable and hard wearing. Especially if that area is going to get a lot of foot fall. They’re easier to clean and low maintenance.
If you’re considering the layered look then start with a low pile or a flat weave rug.
High pile rugs are looser and longer strands and loops. They are a lot more luxurious and softer but can be difficult in maintenance. It’s better to keep these to low traffic areas such as the bedroom.
Natural Rug Materials
Wool is usually considered one of the best options if you’re looking for a durable yet soft rug. Buying a wool rug, price can vary dramatically due to the size of the rug and the quality of the wool.
Wool is renewable and sustainable fibre and has it will last a long time. Which is why it is usually considered the best option.
Cotton rugs are soft but can be less durable than other natural materials it usually comes in a flat weave design. It is usually blended with wool to make it a bit more durable.
Cotton can be more reasonably priced than wool and some cotton rugs you can even toss in the washing machine. A cotton rug might be ideal for a nursery or children’s room.
Silk is a delicate fibre and not good in high traffic areas. It is often blended with wool to give it a different look and to keep the price affordable as 100% silk rugs are expensive. Silk tends to get dirtier quicker and is difficult to clean.
A silk rug might be better off on the wall as an art piece to preserve it for longer.
Jute is a plant based fibre great for high traffic areas for it’s durability qualities and comes in a range of textures and weaves. Although it is made of natural fibres from jute grass it is softer than other natural options like sisal and seagrass.
Sisal is another great option for high traffic areas like the hallway. It’s durable and strong but it is a coarser material than jute. However do not soak with water to clean as it can stain and cause the fibres to expand.
Seagrass another eco-friendly option which is stain resistant and repels liquids. Highly durable so good for high traffic areas and comes in a variety of different weaves. However it tends to be more expensive than jute.
Animal hides are durable and easy to clean and last for years. They offer interest in the unique shapes available, their colour and markings. Hides are on the thin side so it might be best to layer on top of a textured rug like a sisal or seagrass.
Synthetic Rug Materials
A popular alternative to a wool rug. With acrylic rugs you can get similar designs as what you would find to wool. Acrylic area rugs are cheaper, easier to clean and still very durable.
A good synthetic alternative to a wool rug although it doesn’t feel as nice as wool. It is extremely durable and stain resistant, easy to clean. Outdoor rugs are usually made of polypropylene.
This material has high sheen and soft finish to the rugs. It is too delicate for high traffic areas even when blended with wool. Any spillages even just with plain water and it tends to stain. On the positive side viscose is very soft and has luxurious look about it.
- Remember that area rugs will shed and the natural fibres will tend to shed more than the synthetics.
- It’s always best to buy a rug pad for under the rug. This helps to protect your flooring, it stops the rug from slipping about and will help the rug last longer.
- If you have a working or open fireplace its better to opt for a natural fibre rug as they are a lot less flammable than synthetics.
Use your rug to make a statement, to bring in some colour or simply to bring the rest of the room together. Whatever option you have or choose make sure it works in terms of function for yourself and your family.
What types of area rugs have you found to work best in your home? Let me know in the comments below!
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