How to Choose a Living Room Rug
Except for a time in the late 1900s, when wall-to-wall carpet became the status symbol of choice for many homeowners, living room rugs have given us comfort underfoot for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
Still, despite that long history, many homeowners today have a tough time choosing a rug. Not only are there seemingly endless patterns, materials, and types of area rugs, but even choosing the right rug size can be a challenge.
4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Living Room Rug
First, the great variety of rugs means that there’s one that’s suitable for every home, décor and personal taste – even if you have wall-to-wall carpet. Here’s how to pick the right one for your home.
- Sizing – Choosing the right size of the area rug is key to making it work in your living room. Area rugs are generally available in standard sizes, like 5 x 7 feet, 8 x 10 feet and 9 x 12 feet. It’s also relatively common to get a custom size made for you when you just can’t make standard sizes work.
Here are the general rules of thumb for sizing your rug:
- All Furniture Legs on the Rug – The edges of area rugs should be at least 4 to 8 inches from the walls of a room, and furniture should be positioned 4 to 8 inches from the edge of the rug.
- Front Legs of Furniture on the Rug – This may be the most popular sizing guideline. It gives you all the comfort and style of a rug in a smaller size that allows for more creativity in your furniture layout.
- No Furniture Legs on the Rug – This is where area rugs can be used as an accent piece as much as to influence the entire décor of the room.
- Types of Area Rugs – This might sound like a lot to consider all at once, but the rest of your living room décor can help you choose. There are many different types of rugs, generally based on the materials used in the weave.
- Cotton – The most common of the natural fibres used in rug making, cotton tends to be less expensive, but it’s tough to keep clean.
- Wool – Generally preferred over cotton, wool holds its colours better, stains are more easily removed and it’s more comfortable.
- Silk – As with anything else made of silk, you get an unmistakable sheen and softness from silk rugs.
- Jute or Bamboo – Coarser materials, but still comfortable, these rugs are ideal for high traffic areas because of their durability.
- Synthetics – Nylon, polypropylene or polyester, synthetic rug fibres have advanced to the point where many of them are tough to distinguish from natural fibres.
- Colour, Pattern & Texture – With virtually limitless options, the colour, pattern and texture you choose are really up to your tastes and décor.
There are two basic ways to group colours, patterns and textures to help you start choosing.
- Match Your Furniture and Accessories – If you want a more understated rug, you can choose one that matches the colours and textures found elsewhere in the room. Like your favourite outfit, everything matches and you feel good in it.
- Contrast Your Furniture and Accessories – With recent trends to dark and light grays and earth tones on walls and furniture, you can use your area rug to add a splash of bold colour without it taking over your entire décor.
And if you’ve gone all minimalist with your furniture textures, you can give it a break with your rug.
- Styling Your Rug – Every home and homeowner is different. You may like the idea of an area rug, but still not be sure if or how it will work in your room. Here are just a few ways to style an area rug in different situations.
- Over Broadloom – Even if you have wall-to-wall carpet throughout your living room, you can still enjoy the aesthetics and comfort of a rug by simply layering one on top of the carpet. It will look great and help protect your carpet too.
- Larger Rooms -Yes, you could get a custom rug made to fit a larger room, but you lose some of the advantages of having a rug, like easily removing it for cleaning. Instead, consider using two or more rugs.
- Small Rugs – If the rug you love looks like a postage stamp in your room, layer it over another area rug that frames it nicely. Double the rug, double the comfort.
To find out more about adding area rugs to your decor, check out our article “5 Ways to Use Area Rugs”.
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