Choosing the Right Rug for Your Home

Is there a single design element that goes a long way toward making or breaking the look you desire? I’d say yes—but you may be surprised at what element given the title of this post. That’s right, an area rug can do wonders to add visual interest and set the tone you seek for your space.

How can you choose the right rug? Here are some useful tips I agree with provided by Real Simple magazine:

  1. Decide your size. The layout of the room will inform whether you need a 5-by-8, 8-by-10 or 9-by-12 rug. (Those are the three most popular sizes.) In general, if furniture is against the wall, you can go smaller, while if it’s floating in a large space, bigger is better. Many people make the mistake of going too small because of cost. To save money, consider buying a large sisal or seagrass rug and getting a smaller “wow” rug to place on top of it.
  2. Zero in on style. Color should be your first decision; establish whether the rug, walls or furniture will be the boldest element in the room. Then move on to style, where you have so many choices, including trendy (Moroccan shag), edgy (overdyed), graphic (casual) and antique (Oriental). Your rug doesn’t necessarily have to match your décor; you can mix it up if you’re not afraid to take a risk.
  3. Pick a type. The material you choose should be based on your budget as well as your lifestyle and how much durability you need. Wool and silk are considered best among handmade products since they’re long-lasting and cleanable. Natural fibers like sisal and seagrass can be hard to clean if stained, so they may not be appropriate for a dining area or home with kids or pets. Nylon and other synthetic fibers are improving in quality but pass on rugs that include easily stained viscose. For active families, flat-weave wool rugs are recommended due to their affordability and durability.
  4. Look closely. Your best option is to shop in person so you can feel the rug’s texture (take off your shoes!) and compare the contrast with the room’s color (bring a swatch card). If shopping online, ask for multiple photo angles so you can best determine what the colors look like in real life. Just in case, check the seller’s return policy to ensure you won’t get stuck with a rug that disappoints once you actually see it in your space.
  5. Maintain it. The better you take care of your rug, the longer it will last. Start with getting a rug pad, which will keep the rug in place, minimize wear patterns and make your vacuum more effective. Depending on the material (and whether you have a dog that sheds!), vacuuming every two weeks should be fine. To address stains, don’t put moisture on the rug and never rub a spot, blotting it instead. Consider investing in a dry cleaning powder. Also rotate your rug once a year, especially if it’s in a high-traffic area or gets heavy sunlight.



Diane’s Take: Rugs are one of the most important finishing touches to a room. A variety of colors, textures and styles can transform a boring room to a room with personality.

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