The Power of Rugs

I love rugs. Rugs can be the inspiration and starting point for a whole room. They can also be the last item to be chosen to tie together all the other elements. Rugs define an area and complete a space; they can bring calm or excitement. Rugs can be problem solvers to camouflage an undesirable floor, or cozy an overly large space, or add warmth and sound protection to a hard surface floor. Rugs add elements of texture, color, and style which can make or break a room. So where is a rug needed, what size and style, and where can you get one?

Let’s start with whether a rug is a good idea for your space. Reasons not to use a rug would include tripping concerns, animal and small child precautions, and dust allergies. Otherwise, great locations for area rugs include seating areas, bedrooms, and entries. Small rugs provide cushioning underfoot in kitchens and other work spaces, as well as a place to wipe feet in entryways and bathrooms.

Next, how do you choose the size and shape? Budget may be a determining factor; larger rugs can cost significantly more, They are also harder to handle if you are lugging it home yourself or anticipate moving and cleaning on a regular basis. Generally speaking with a seating arrangement you have the choice of placing a rug in the centre of or under the furniture. A 5×7′ or 5×8′ rug will run along the front of most couches, with chairs at either end or love seat at one end. Alternately a 10×12 or 12×14 rug will sit under part or all of the larger furniture pieces. This may be a better choice in a larger room, and usually works better if placing a rug under a bed. The decorating rule of thumb has been that furniture legs must be all on or off the rug. I’m not a stickler for this one. It may be appropriate for example to have just the front legs of the two chairs on the rug in order to achieve the right balance and walking space between the couch, chairs, and coffee table. I also like the look of a rug under the bottom half or two thirds of a bed, extending out the bottom and on either side with plenty of room to walk on it. It is important that the shape of the rug resemble the space it is filling; as always in successful decorating, attention to balance and proportion is critical. Rugs are usually rectangular or round. Sometimes you will find a square rug, and there is the option of ordering a custom shape although the choices will be limited. If furniture is placed on an angle in a room with a rug, it is especially important to keep the angles in the room parallel, including a corner fireplace, angled couch or dresser, and angled rug.

Now I bet you’re wondering what color and style to choose. Rugs need to tie in with the colors and patterns in the room, and if there will be another rug in the same room make sure the two rugs are a great fit. Having said that, if you want the rug to stand out, don’t be afraid to go bold with the rug as long as it still relates to the room. Against a leather couch, a carpet with a high nap is a good choice for contrast. In a room full of colors and patterns, a solid color can be the bold choice, or vice versa. If you are good at mixing patterns in fabrics, then use the same approach when you choose the rug. Neutral colored rugs with a textured pattern can deliver the wow factor without conflict. Set your budget, have a general idea of what you want, and start shopping.

Where can you source rugs? In building my staging inventory and shopping for decorating clients, I have bought many rugs locally. Most inexpensive rugs (under 150.00 for a 5×7) are very poor quality and should be avoided if you want your rug to last, with a few exceptions. Home Depot has a decent shag rug in a few colors, shown in picture. Costco carries a well priced thicker pile shag in a few colors (120.00 for 5×8). I’ve had hit and miss success with Homesense rugs (about 300.00 for 5×8). returning some for shedding or peeling backing. My favorite local sources for rugs are Zephyr and Attica. If you aren’t in a hurry there are great online sources too, although watch out for shipping costs. Carpet tiles are an interesting option for creativity in size and pattern, such as Flor 16″ tiles, available online. These are very low pile, are assembled easily and effectively, and come in many interesting colors and patterns. Don’t forget to buy underlay. It is inexpensive, will keep rugs in place, may protect your floor, and will extend the life of your rug, which you are going to love.

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