Advice from our partners at the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)
When decorating your home, think of your floors as the foundation for your design scheme. An area rug can visually integrate or harmonize eclectic elements in any decor or can revitalize a room. There's an endless array of rug designs
to choose from.
Visualize the desired total look of the room. Do you want a room that's uncluttered and monotone or a room rich with colors or textures? If you start with a totally empty room, choose a rug, then paint or paper the walls in colors found in the rug.
Remember, the rug has to fit the room - in more ways than one. Consider how the room is used, how much traffic the area gets and who will view it under what light. For high-traffic areas such as hallways and foyers, you may want a durable, patterned rug.
Choose furniture that enhances the rug design or colors found in the rug. If you start with furniture, choose a rug to pick up the colors used in your furnishing patterns. Patterns can be mixed if they are coordinated by color. Elements of a rug design can be further incorporated into the overall design scheme. For example, if the rug is floral, add framed prints or flowers in similar colors.
Size up the size of the room and the area you want to cover. The most common area rug sizes are 4-by-6 and 6 by-9 feet. They work well under a coffee table. An 8-by-11-foot rug or larger can cover an entire room. Smaller area and scatter rugs can be ideal for adorning smaller spaces-a hearth, a bedside, the area in front of a kitchen sink-with a splash of color and warmth.
A rug with a bold, overall design can be the focal point of a room with a chair and sofa in solid or subdued patterns.
Light colored rugs make a room look more spacious, and deeper colors lend coziness to a room.
Choose a rug that will perform well, with the right combination of density and fiber. The denser the pile, (with closer tufts or stitches), the better your rug will wear.
The naturals - wool and cotton - are durable, soft, and easy to clean.
Watch out for fringe elements. If the rug you like has fringe, make sure it's sewn on well, and very carefully use the vacuum cleaner.
Remember to take a swatch of any fabrics you'd like to match with you when you shop for a rug. That way, you'll have a better idea of what will complement your existing décor.
Don't underestimate the value of an underlay. Not only will it absorb the impact of feet and noise, it will reduce wear and tear on the rug and make vacuuming easier.
When buying a rug, it pays to select a reputable dealer with a knowledgeable staff, wide selection, and a guarantee that the store will stand behind its merchandise.