Picking the perfect area rug can be a daunting task. There are so many elements to consider, such as color, material, size, pattern, and whether it will end up coordinating with the style of your pre-existing furniture. Luckily, you have nothing to fear because we’re here to help you out with a few tips, pointers, and rug rules that designers live by.
First, we suggest narrowing down your rug hunt based on material, and there are a few things you may want to consider.
Will the rug be in a high traffic area of your home? Will kids or pets be playing on it regularly? Is there a possibility that it will be subjected to spills? Think through these types of questions and then check out our overview of rug materials below so that you can select a rug that will serve up a healthy dose of both beauty and function.
Wool: Wool rugs tend to repel water and stains and they are a great insulator when cold weather strikes. They also feel great underfoot but they’re also known to shed.
Sisal, Jute, and Seagrass: Natural fiber rugs are an awesome option for high traffic areas. They are durable and look great layered under smaller, more costly rug options. Although we adore natural fiber rugs, there can be a few cons – depending on the weave, these rugs can be difficult to clean and depending on the exact materials used, they aren’t always the most comfortable underfoot.
Silk: Silk rugs are very soft which makes your feet happy and they are somewhat resistant to wear and tear, making them a solid selection for a comfy, cozy family area! They do tend to be on the pricier side, but you can easily find rugs that feature a silk blend, offering you many of the benefits of silk at a more comfortable price point.
Cotton: Breezy and lightweight, yet strong and sturdy! Cotton rugs are natural and fairly inexpensive, but they’re known for being a bit of a dirt magnet. Luckily, this isn’t a huge issue because they’re also very easy to clean.
Hides: We love layering hides over larger, natural fiber area rugs – c’mon, we’re in Texas, yall! In addition to being durable and easy to clean, every hide features its own unique markings which makes them a special addition to any space. For those of you who can’t imagine using an authentic animal hide, many retailers have started producing faux hides so that you can achieve that handsome, rustic look without having to concern yourself with the issue of ethical animal treatment.
Chenille: Soft and cozy, this is a material that we generally reserve for nurseries and play rooms.
Desperate to learn more? Check out One King’s Lane’s “What Rug Material is Right for You?”
Now that you’re a certified materials master, it’s time to evaluate the layout of your space in order to determine an appropriate size for your gorgeous new rug.
Bedroom: We generally opt for rugs that are large enough to frame the bed. This means that you can see rug peeping out at the bottom of the bed and on both sides of the bed in nearly equal proportions. There is no hard and fast rule that the rug has to be flush against the wall so you have some wiggle room as far as positioning is concerned.
Expert Tip: For added interest, hunt down a vendor that sells custom cut natural fiber rugs and have one cut to the perfect size for your bedroom. Then, layer a smaller, more interesting rug on top that frames your bed to create added depth and dimension.
Living Spaces: In open concept spaces, we believe that the rug should serve as an anchor in the room, so we suggest making sure that all of your furniture can easily fit on top. This means that you’re going to be looking at some fairly large pieces – think 10′ x 12′ and 11′ x 14′ depending on the size of your space. If your living area is surrounded by walls and your furniture happens to back up to those walls, you can opt for a smaller rug and, in this case, our only suggestion is that you ensure the front legs of each furniture piece remains grounded on the rug.
Expert Tip: Are you finding the size you need but not falling in love with any of the colors, patterns or textures? Look for a premier rug source like Madison Lily Rugs that specializes in custom rugs. Their team of professionals will collaborate with you on a custom design, allowing you to personally determine the size of your rug and the materials used, as well as the rug’s pattern and color palette.
Dining Room: No matter what style of rug you choose, every bit of your dining table and chairs must fit on top, but buffet tables, china cabinets, and bar carts are welcome to float. One Kings Lane’s Size Guide reminds us that you need 24″ of space extending beyond each edge of the table to prevent your chairs from falling off the rug when pushed out.
Color and Pattern
Trust yourself. Choose rug colors and patterns that makes you smile and don’t overly stress the details. When starting from scratch, rug lovers tend to choose the rug first, building the rest of the space’s design around that base. If you already have furniture and artwork in place, look at the overarching color story within your space and hunt for a rug that exhibits a similar vibe.
Before we go, we have a few more thoughts to share:
If your budget is preventing you from purchasing a rug in the optimal size for your living space, get creative. You can layer multiple rugs of a similar color palette or style to create something fun and unique.
If you’re concerned about investing in a rug due to that messy thing called life (ie. children, pets, your best friend’s tendency to spill red wine), keep in mind that you can easily protect your rug with a stain guard; make sure to ask your sales person about it before you proceed with your purchase.
Finally, indoor/outdoor rugs have come a very long way and some of our clients opt to use them in areas of their home that experience heavy traffic. If you’re worried about ruining a luxury rug, consider trying out an indoor/outdoor option first, and maybe one day you can graduate to that vintage Oushak you’ve been dreaming of.