How to Select an Area Rug

Posted on Nov 20, 2008.

Adding an area rug to a room is an easy way to give your space a new look, provide warmth or add color. If you find a rug that you love, you can use it as inspiration and decorate your space around it. Area rugs are easy to move from room to room. Don't limit the rug to the space that you buy it for: Put rugs in different rooms of your home to create fresh looks. Or, swap out rugs for different seasons.

COLOR:
Because it takes up much of your living space, an area rug can be the foundation of your room's look. Even if your existing taste is traditional, a contemporary rug can add a nice contrast. In a modern room, a traditional or Oriental rug can soften the look.

Look for a common accent color in your room and use this color in your rug for emphasis. If your room is brightly colored, select a neutral colored rug. If your room is neutral, a vibrant rug will add a needed statement and focal point.

In general, dark colored rugs add warmth to a room, light colored rugs make a space appear larger. If you have pets or children, consider a dark rug to hide dirt. And, make sure the rug is stain resistant and easy to clean.

SIZE:
Area rugs are great for defining spaces within a room: A sitting area, a cozy area in front of a fire place. If you are using a rug to define a space, leave no more than 2 feet of carpet past the edge of the furniture on it.

For a dining room, 8 x 10 feet is a standard rug size. The rug should extend at least 16" from the edge of the table so that the chairs have room to pull away. For an entryway, make sure to swing the front door open and leave 2.5 feet of floor from this space clear. Runners in hallways should have at least 5" of floor showing on all sides. To warm up a bedroom, use runners on each side of the bed. Or place a large rug under the foot of the bed only. Use small 2' x 3' area rugs over existing carpet at entry points or high traffic areas to protect your carpet from wear.

A great way to test what size rug you will need is to lay down some sheets or towels in the area that you are considering to get a picture of the size and space. You can also use masking tape to mask out the area. This helps to give you a picture.

courtesy of 2Modern Design Talk.

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