Nothing pulls the look of a room together more effortlessly than a well-chosen area rug. Area rugs help anchor a room and provide an interesting focal point. They help pull all the design elements in a room together while offering warmth underfoot. Here we offer tips to help you pick the perfect area rug for your space.
Keep the Proper Scale
The first rule of thumb for choosing an area rug is to measure properly. When a rug is too small it looks more like an afterthought or mistake instead of a thoughtful design element. When it’s too big, it can make everything else in the room look like it’s floating, or the room appears too small. So how do you know how to measure properly for an area rug? There are two schools of thought for size:
- Room Size: One approach is to consider room size. In this case, you choose an area rug that comes in two feet from the shortest wall in the room. This allows you to center your area rug nicely in the space. However, this doesn’t work for open concept spaces.
- Furniture Placement: The second approach focuses on the furniture placement in the room. This is the better approach for open concepts, as it helps establish different designations such as the living room, vs the dining area. In this case, you measure your furniture’s “footprint” and aim to have the rug the same size as that area so you can place your furniture on the rug. In smaller spaces, or with smaller budgets, you can aim to have the area rug sit at least midway beneath the furniture.
An important note for dining areas: Your rug should accommodate your chairs pulled out far enough for someone to seat themselves. Otherwise, your area rug edges will constantly be catching the chair legs every time someone pulls the chair out.
Focal Point or Accent?
It’s important to decide if you want your area rug to create a focal point or be more of an accent or functional piece. Since they come in every imaginable colour and pattern, this will help narrow down your choices. Remember when you choose the right size, it will leave a major footprint even in a small room. So a brightly coloured Kashan or multi-coloured geometric rug can make a significant impact, while a tone-on-tone design, or solid with texture becomes more of an accent or functional piece.
Sense of Style
Finally, once you get your measurements right and decide if you want to make an impact or have your rug blend in, you can consider the style. As already mentioned, the styles available are endless. Consider the design style of your home or room to help you zero in on the types of area rugs that will work well. Geometrics are great for midcentury modern rooms but also work well in contemporary settings. Cultural rugs work well in eclectic or themed designs, while fun over-the-top textures like exaggerated shags or faux furs create glamour or edginess. Persian rugs are formal and traditional, but can also add an element of colour or surprise in a monotoned room in need of a focal point.
Don’t forget your household. For example, families might not do as well with an extra-long shag rug and would benefit from machine washable designs, whereas a couple or single home has far more options.