A carefully selected area rug exudes a richness to a space that would otherwise feel incomplete.  Weather you choose to go with a stock piece or a custom design, the area rug commands the room!  So think of it in terms of theater.  The area rug is the lead and all of the other design elements in the room are the supporting players. 

Below are some key tips to help guide you when you are on the hunt for that “perfect” rug.  Enjoy!

  1. First and foremost, select your area rug. Typically it takes up the largest area in your room.  So what you choose, whether it is a texture or a pattern, know that it will command the space.  Once selected, go on to select the other “supporting fabrics’ for the remaining parts of the room.
  2. Choose variety when choosing patterns. Perhaps you could try a geometric pattern rug in a room with subtle florals.  If you are not open to a mix of pattern, choose a similar pattern but vary the scale.
  3. Mix it up by choosing textures for visual appeal and practicality. Practicality is key here.  Use only fibers that make sense for what the room will be used for.  ie:  A silk area rug in a play room would not be a wise practical choice.  No?
  4. Allow the rug to speak to the beat of its own drum. Meaning that, don’t be so fussy about whether it fits in a certain palette.  Adding that bit of unexpected play is what makes a room interesting.  Take a risk!
  5. The size of the room does matter. The larger the room, the duller the color and pattern will appear to be.  Your light source changes in a 24 hour period.  So it is wise to live with the rug at least overnight to see how the lighting affects your rug.  On the other hand, a vibrant rug can be overbearing in a small room. 
  6. Big rooms don’t necessarily equal big area rugs. Sometimes it is best to create two separate living spaces by defining them with separate area rugs.
  7. Furniture placement is key to consider before making your final selection. Personally, I like to have the front legs of a sofa or a large chair on the area rug.  In the dining room, I like to allow 24” around the entire area of the table to allow the chair to be pulled in and out when dining.  When there is a leaf in the table, I work with the overall dimension of the table and use that to select the size of the area rug.
  8. Never, ever cut down and antique area rug. The value will be immediately diminished.
  9. A border left around the room, makes a room appear larger. In a small room, 6 inches is adequate. In a large room, 12 inches.
  10. On a budget? Layer a decorative rug on top of a sisal rug.  That way you can use your rug budget for the size you can afford.



**Information gathered from SOUTHERN ACCENTS, September/October 2009 (because good, practical information is never outdated) and from my 25 + years of experience as a residential interior designer.