Choosing The Right Rug

When I talk to people about decorating, I often get asked about rugs. People seem to have lots of questions regarding them. So I thought that I would address a few basics to consider when choosing a rug for your space.

MATERIALS - The type of rug your choose is essential. Consider how you will use the space and its location. Will you eat in that room? Do you have pets? Will you sit on the floor with your children? Will the rug get wet? All of these questions are important when deciding on a rug.  

Wool is the most common material used for rugs. It is very durable and soft. It is strong and offers good stain and water repellency.  It can be subject to fading over time though. 

Synthetic rugs are comprised of man-made fibers including viscose, nylon, and polypropylene. They have been improved over the years to mimic the characteristics of natural fibers. They are family friendly and easy to clean. Synthetic rugs can be used in damp environments and some types can even be used outdoors. Perfect for high traffic or sunny areas but does not always feel as luxurious as wool or silk.

Silk is a luxurious choice for a rug. They are extremely soft sand have a subtle sheen. They often have finer details than wool rugs. Silk rugs require professional cleaning and can show footprints. They are best suited for low traffic areas.

Cotton is used most frequently for flat-weave rugs. It is easy to clean and usually more affordable than wool or silk. It doesn't hold up over time as well. 

Sisal, Jute and Seagrass are durable, natural grasses and other fibers that are woven into rugs.. They offer a neutral palette with nice texture. Natural grass rugs are strong and are made from a renewable source. Some varieties can be coarse and difficult to clean. They are good for a sunny spot.

Animal skins are unique choices for rugs. They are available as complete hides, stitched panels, or woven strips of tanned leather. They are generally easy to clean and are soft and durable. These are not great for damp or humid areas.

THICKNESS / PILE- The pile of the rug is important to consider. If any doors are going to open across the rug, make sure that there is enough clearance. You do not want the rug to inhibit doors from opening or rub against the rug causing any damage to it. Thickness can also add to the comfort of your rug. Think about the pile of the rug too. If it is woven or has loop construction, the threads could easily be pulled if you have pets.

COLOR / PATTERN -  The overall look of your rug offers an opportunity to introduce color and pattern into your room. However, it can also be used as a wonderful base to complement your other furnishings. Just balance it out. Don't let the rug compete with the other items in your room. This is really a matter of personal style.

LAYERING - The trend of layering rugs is great. This really adds some extra flair to your space. Try using a neutral rug for the base then add an accent rug on top.

SIZE - Measure your space and choose a rug that fits correctly. There are some general guidelines when doing this. For living spaces, the rug defines your seating area. Your furniture's front two legs should rest on the rug. It is also acceptable to have all of your furniture rest on the rug. Just keep the rug 12-18 inches away from the walls. Be consistent and choose one way or the other. For bedrooms, place the rug underneath the bed and have it extend beyond the bed on each side 36 inches if space allows. For dining rooms, typically you should choose a rug that is 24" larger than the table. However, if your chairs are on the large scale, place your chairs in their pulled out position. Measure around the outside of your chairs and add 8" to determine your rug dimensions.  For foyers, rug sizes will vary more. I prefer being able to step on the rug when entering through the door. Rugs can be placed across the front door or go longer inward to fill the space. For hallways, leave some space on the side between the rug and walls. Runners are usually the best fit. 

Rugs are a beautiful addition to any room. They really complete the look, define areas and add to the coziness felt in the space. I hope these points will give you confidence and simplify choosing your next rug.