Choosing the Perfect Area Rug

Area rugs are a tricky business: the right one can finish a space to perfection, while the wrong one can make a room feel awkward or unfinished. Taking into consideration just how expensive they can be, selecting a rug is something you may want to put a little extra thought into. There are three main elements to keep in mind when choosing the right rug for your space, so read on for tips on conquering the "rug shopping triad".

Color: If you already have a lot of color and pattern in your space, you might want to stick with a single color rug, either a neutral or a shade that complements your existing furnishings. If you love pattern then consider a tone-on-tone design that will feel like a single-color rug but be visually simpler in the space.  If you want a patterned rug with many shades, it's generally easier to choose it first, and add in furniture and accessories that coordinate afterward. But if that’s your goal, consider seeking the help of a professional who can guide you in how to combine pattern and texture!

A rug will read as one of the largest pieces of "furniture" in the space, so be sure to take into account the tones in your flooring, walls and other fixed finishes when selecting. But don't play it too safe: a boldly patterned or brightly colored rug can be just the ticket to lift a room to the next level.

Texture: This is probably the most overlooked aspect when choosing a rug, but it shouldn't be. A room with a mix of different textures feels rich and layered, and an easy way to set this tone is by paying attention to the texture of your rug. There's so much more out there than cut and looped wool!

Let the finishes of your existing furniture guide you, and aim for contrast. With seating in a soft fabric like velvet, something smooth and hard like a sisal might be the answer, while a sleek leather sofa looks great on something with a longer, fluffier pile.

Pile Height: A thicker carpet can feel more expensive but don’t be mislead, with Orientals and finer rugs are the thread/yarn count that designates the quality. Turn the rug over to check out the detail on the back. The higher the knot count per square in often indicates a well-made rug!

Size: This is the part in the rug-choosing game where you likely know the rules, and it's usually best to play along.

A rug should fit the size of your seating area (which is not necessarily the entire room) and be as large as possible within it. Ideally, all the furniture will be on the rug, but front-legs-only is a good and common compromise. The idea is that when sitting on the sofa, your feet are on fabric, not floor. Under a dining table, you want to be able to pull the chairs back and still have them sitting on the rug.

When the seating area takes up the entire room (as is often the case), you also have to think about orientation: square rooms look great with square or round rugs, and rectangular rooms with rectangular rugs oriented in the same direction.

Layering: Layering of rugs on top of another carpeted surface can be tricky! Two main factors affect your success; first, make sure to purchase a rug pad made specifically for this function. Second, take into account the thickness and weight of a rug. Trying to place a light-weight, handwoven dhurrie rug on top of wall-to-wall carpeting will most likely fail because the lighter weight rug will shift and wrinkle when walked on. For this application, I recommend a heavy weight wool are a rug with a pad that has felt on one side and rubber backing on the reverse. The rubber backing goes against the base carpet to limit movement.

Fiber Options: When choosing the material of your carpet durability and practicality are important considerations. Keep in mind how easy or difficult it may be to clean the rug. For instance, a natural sisal is not a good choice for under a dining table as they are difficult to clean and dirt and crumbs area easily trapped in the texture. Silk rugs and rugs with silk or linen fiber accents may not be a good choice for high traffic areas as these types of fibers don’t have the resiliency of a natural wool yarn.

Safety: Finally be sure to consider whether elderly people or those with limited mobility, will be using the area. A raised pile or shag rug can be a tripping hazard. In these cases, rugs can be inset into hardwood or tiled floors so the floor surface remains at the same level.

Lately, I have many clients who are searching on-line for are rug bargains. Beware – as it is very difficult to tell quality by a pretty picture. Read the descriptions carefully! A professional, like myself, can offer insights and get more information for you from vendors and manufacturers with whom we have relationships and are familiar with the quality of a product line! And we often have the benefit of being able to get a sample of a rug to bring home OR even better yet have a relationship with a vendor that will bring out several options of the actual area rug to see in the space before making a purchase.

Carrie OesmannComment