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How To: Choose an Area Rug

By - Interior Design & Architecture Magazine on Jan 10, 2013

Area rugs serve several wonderful purposes. They provide warmth under our bare feet, create another layer of design, tie a room together and absorb sound in spacious rooms.

Often thought of as art for the floor, it can set the design scheme of the room allowing for wall color and accessories to play off it.

Starting with the area rug to design a space can lead to a great adventure to find the right rug. How can you find the right rug? There are a few things to know that will help with your search.

budget area rugs How To Confidently Buy an Area Rug


As with any large purchase for the home, it is best to have a budget. The cost of an area rug can run anywhere from a few dollars at a home discount store to several hundred at an antique dealer. The key to knowing how much to spend largely depends on the purpose the rug serves.

Consider which room will house the rug.  A high-traffic room will call for a higher quality, often pricier rug, than will a space that's seldom used. A rule of thumb used by designers suggests that the budget be equivalent to the budget for the sofa, but a sensible approach is to spend what you can and get the best quality you can afford for high-traffic spaces.

construction area rug How To Confidently Buy an Area Rug


The production method used to construct a rug can have a hefty influence on the price tag. The most labor intensive, and therefore most expensive, is a handwoven rug, which is constructed by hand-tying the yarn.

A less expensive option is the tufted rug, which can be machine made or handmade, but in either case manufactured quickly and inexpensively. Yarn loops through the backing either by hand or by a machine, and is then cut to create the pile.

Wool, cotton, silk, coir, synthetic fibers, and grasses are common materials used. For a rug that will last, look for good-quality wool or silk rugs. Wool wears well and looks better with age.

size area rugs How To Confidently Buy an Area Rug


Area rugs come in many sizes. The most common are 2×3, 4×6, 5×8, and 8×10.  Before you shop, have the measurements of the room you want to place the carpet in. Start by measuring the size of the room, then measure the area where the rug will go. If you want most of the floor covered, leave 12” to 15” around the room.

For a rug in a dining room, you will want to have a rug big enough so that a chair sitting on the rug can be moved back, without its legs leaving the rug. In the living room, the rug should be wide enough to have the coffee table centered on it. In the hallway, keep furniture off the rug.

shape area rug How To Confidently Buy an Area Rug


The most common shapes are runners, rectangle, and round. Octagonal, oval, and square shapes are also popular.

Choosing the right shape comes down to scale and balance of the space. Less is more in entryways and other transitional spaces, while you will want a balanced look in larger spaces. A large room would call for a large rug, perhaps in a rectangle or a wide oval, but do not skimp on size in a large room.

It is good to note that most handmade rugs are rectangular.

style area rug How To Confidently Buy an Area Rug


There are many style options available that are suitable to all design schemes. One can pick from stripes, geometric patterns, florals, or one-tone patterns and even oriental designs.

To pick the right one start by having a general idea of the look and feel you favor for the space and build from there. A modern or contemporary look would do well with a tone on tone neutral, or pair a traditional look with an oriental pattern. Florals and stripes are perfect for a casual look, while geometrics work well in an eclectic space.

care area rug How To Confidently Buy an Area Rug


Now that you have invested in an area rug, you will want to care for it properly and extend the life of your investment. Avoid direct sunlight if possible, but should your rug be in direct sunlight, rotate it so it will fade evenly.

Vacuum weekly to pick up the usual dust and dirt a home attracts and spot-clean immediately if the rug encounters spills of coffee, soda, or wine.

It is advisable to have your rugs cleaned at least once a year and inspected for loose fibers that need trimmed or repaired. Some cotton rugs can be machine-washed, saving you the cost of a dry cleaner.

All in all, the most important consideration is that you love it every time you walk into the room.

Have you purchased an area rug recently?  If so, what factors went into your decision?

You're reading How To Confidently Buy an Area Rug originally posted on Freshome.

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