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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

How Buying The Right Rug Can Bring New Life To Your Space

Written by Jaymi Naciri Posted On Sunday, 06 March 2016 16:32

Often, the time we spend searching for the right paint color, couch, window coverings, and accessories can't even be measured by traditional units of time. It can be truly exhausting to put a space together and have it reflect your needs and your taste. But you can add instant drama, warmth, and style by adding just one thing: a new rug.

"They're practical, providing cushion, comfort and warmth over a concrete, tile or wood floor," said HGTV. "But they also provide artistic value to a room's design."

Here are a few things that can help you pinpoint the right rug.


Are you looking for subtle color, bold color, or something in the middle? You might not know until you see it. But keep in mind that, "If you already have a lot of color and pattern going on in your space, you might want to stick with a single-color rug, either a neutral or a shade which complements your existing furnishings," said Apartment Therapy. "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 afterwards."



Many rug buyers go shopping with a plan to buy the biggest option they can find - and afford. But bigger isn't always better. For dining and living rooms, House Beautiful recommends looking at dimensions of the furniture - take the surface of your dining room table "and add 6 feet to it. So, if your table is 3' x 6', I would start looking at a 9' x 12' carpet," they said. The goal is to be able to pull the dining room chair back from the table and still have the legs be on the rug.


In the living room, "the front legs of all furniture in the seating area" should be on the rug "at a minimum." In the bedroom, three or four feet of exposed rug "on all 3 sides of the bed" is preferred.

Another good way to "determine rug size is to measure the size of the room and then subtract about 1.5 feet," they said. "This will give you a 9-inch border of exposed flooring on each side. With all of these best practices, keep in mind that most rugs on the market come in standard sizes: 6' x 9', 8' x 10', 9' x 12', 10' x 14', and 12' x 15'. If you're not having something custom-made, find the one that is closest to the size you need."


A well-designed space is multi-layered, and a rug is an easy way to add a layer of texture that also amps up the room's design profile.

"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," said Apartment Therapy. "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."

Wearability and factors like how easy it is to clean should weigh in when making your choice. And you may also want to consider whether you prefer natural or synthetic fibers.

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"Natural rugs are woven using a range of fibers extracted from natural products, including cotton, wool, jute, sisal and hemp. They are generally valued for their resistance to heavy wear and are recommended for high traffic areas," said DÉCOR LOVE. "Synthetic fibers (acrylic, polypropylene, nylon, polyester) have the advantage of being much cheaper than the natural ones, and now offer a wide range of choices, including rugs that bear close resemblance to wool. Of course they cannot compare to natural fibers in terms of quality and comfort of use, plus they are not sustainable resources, but in certain contexts, they might even be a better choice."


An heirloom rug can cost thousands, but that doesn't mean you have to blow your budget.

Stores like Target, HomeGoods, Lowe's, and Home Depot, as well as online stores like Mayfair and Overstock, are great places to turn to for inexpensive rugs that reflect the latest trends as well as some classic versions.

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