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Top Tips for Decorating With Area Rugs

Updated on March 1, 2018
Rugs are an integral part of home design.
Rugs are an integral part of home design. | Source

Your room is lacking pizzazz and you can’t quite put your finger on the problem. Before you start painting and buying new furniture, the simple solution to your dilemma might be right under your feet! Area rugs add that final decorative layer to your rooms. They are an integral part of room design and should be high on the list when shopping for home furnishings. Rugs can set a mood, serve as a focal point or provide much needed contrast in a neutral room. Whether you have been blessed with stunning hardwood, gorgeous tile or ordinary builder grade carpeting; a rug will add instant warmth and personality to your space! Follow these tips to find perfect rug for any room in your home.

Determine the Size

When selecting an area rug remember—size matters. Before hopping in the car to hit the stores, take some measurements of the room in question. Give yourself some leeway on size—that way you won’t waste time trying to find one fitting your exact dimensions. 

In the living or family room, look for a rug that is large enough to accommodate your main furniture grouping. Should your furniture sit on the rug or off? No hard and fast rules apply here—do whichever is pleasing to you. Also use rugs to delineate one space from another in an open floor plan design (such as combined living/dining areas.)

Make sure the rug you choose is the right size for your room.
Make sure the rug you choose is the right size for your room. | Source

Speaking of the dining room, allow for a rug size that will be large enough for guests to seat themselves when the chairs are pulled away from the table. A good rule of thumb is to measure the table and add two feet to the diameter.

Your dining room rug should be big enough to allow for chairs to pull back and still be on the rug surface.
Your dining room rug should be big enough to allow for chairs to pull back and still be on the rug surface. | Source

Here are a couple of great bedroom ideas: to keep your tootsies toasty, make sure your area rug extends at least three feet past the sides and foot of the bed. Another solution is to purchase 3’ x 5’ rugs for each side of the bed. This not only adds color and interest to your bedroom, it warms up those cold wood floors!

An area rug in the bedroom give the room a cozy feel.
An area rug in the bedroom give the room a cozy feel. | Source

Choose a Shape That Works

Standard rug shapes include round, square, rectangular and oval. Choosing the right shape can make or break the room design. In most cases, opposites attract. Take into consideration the shape of your room and the pieces of furniture when shopping for your area rug.

A boxy room may cry out for a round rug. Offset curvy furniture with a square or rectangular rug. Soften the hard lines and angles of furniture with an oval or round rug.

A round dining room table doesn’t necessarily demand a round rug. The juxtaposition of a round table and a square rug may provide just the right balance to your dining room.

Experiment With Texture

Rugs are a great way to experiment with texture in a room. Today’s wide variety of area rugs can provide a unique look and mood to your interior spaces. Experimenting with texture on the floor gives new dimension to a tired room!

A sisal rug in the living room adds texture and a casual look.
A sisal rug in the living room adds texture and a casual look. | Source
A shag rug provides a soft feel underfoot.
A shag rug provides a soft feel underfoot. | Source

Natural materials, such as sisal, jute or seagrass impart an organic feel in a traditional room.  Modern berbers, with their dense loop construction, add a casual softness to a room and are more comfortable underfoot than the grass cloth varieties. A sculpted wool rug can be the focal point, bringing a sense of elegance to a bedroom or formal spaces. Fluffy flotakis and shags turn up the hip quotient in contemporary interiors.

Capitalize on Color and Pattern

Rather than creating jarring color contrasts, pick a rug that coordinates existing colors in the room--upholstered furniture, pillows, window treatments and paint. Do some quick preparation by noting the overall color scheme of the space. To pull the look of the room together, focus on rugs that coordinate with two of the primary colors

Take things a step further by bringing along a digital photo of the room, a throw pillow or swatches of fabrics or paint colors. These color references will give you a good idea of how your new rug will work with the other colors in your room.

If you have played it safe with solid color upholstery, pillows and curtains choose a rug that makes a bold statement, such as an oriental, kilim, tapestry or hooked floral. Here’s an easy way to make it all work:

Match the most predominate color of your area rug with your sofa color. Coordinate the second dominate rug color with occasional chairs. The third color in the rug should complement curtains, wall color and pillows.

An Oriental rug is a great way to pull in colors from the room.
An Oriental rug is a great way to pull in colors from the room. | Source

Caring for Your New Rug

Rugs are not cheap, so protect your investment. Be sure to save the “care tag”—it will tell you if you need to dry clean, wash or spot clean your rug. Take smaller rugs outside weekly to shake out the dust and dirt. Most large rugs can be vacuumed just like carpeting (oriental rugs and those made from delicate materials may require special care.)

Check the label on your rug for cleaning instructions.
Check the label on your rug for cleaning instructions. | Source

How to Spot Clean a Wool Rug

© 2010 lindacee


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    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks rugsville!

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Arizona

      RTalloni, thanks for stopping by my Hub! Glad you enjoyed the rug tips. Definitely try a round rug. It's a good choice to counteract that boxy feeling! Have a great day!

    • RTalloni profile image


      6 years ago from the short journey

      Friends laugh, but I love to capitalize on color, especially in area rugs. Love the ideas you've highlighted in this hub with good advice. Although angling a colorful rug in a particularly odd and boxy room helps, I am thinking I need a round rug now… :)

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Arizona

      I'll keep the inspiration coming! Hopefully if you just wait a while your son will pick a new favorite color for his bedroom walls!

      I think part of the fun of decorating a new place is the hunt for inexpensive items to make it look like a million bucks. Have fun with it!



    • N.E. Wright profile image

      N.E. Wright 

      7 years ago from Bronx, NY

      Please, I need all the inspiration I can get, because I am a mother of a 7 year old boy who swears he will love the color red on his bedroom walls forever. LOL.

      I keep thinking about how I can make my -- hopefully -- new place look close to as great as your great décor photos. LOL.

      Take Care,


    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Arizona

      N.E., I am so excited this Hub provided design inspiration for your upcoming move! I will be moving by the end of this year as well and will probably be living in a bland apartment -- the perfect place for colorful area rugs! Good luck with your move and thanks for checking out my Hub!

    • N.E. Wright profile image

      N.E. Wright 

      7 years ago from Bronx, NY

      Hey Lindacee,

      This was a very informative and helpful article.

      I am looking into moving out of state -- hopefully -- and all I keep thinking about is how to re-do my new place for my son and me.

      Still, in all of my visualizations I have in fixing up my new place I never thought about rugs of any type. Which is strange, because I have always wanted to buy Flotakis, Berber, and Shag rugs .... LOL.

      Now, I will be visualizing those rugs along with my furniture ....

      Thank you so much for sharing this article.

      Take Care,


    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Arizona

      Dolores, orientals are beautiful choices -- they work with almost any style if done right. Rugs do create a cozy feeling and also absorb sound (hard shoe soles on wood, laminate or tile surfaces.) Thanks for reading!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      As I have lovely wood flooring, I really need an area rug or two for coziness. Oriental styles are my favorite - they add a lot of pizzaz and the reds really warm up a room.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Arizona

      Joe, So glad I could help. Hope you stay tuned for more great decorating hubs! Thanks!

    • profile image

      Joe White 

      7 years ago

      Looking for rugs to complete several rooms in my house. This article was extremely helpful.I'm printing it out and taking it with me when I go to the store to make my purchases!


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