Rugs are a very important piece in your project. They add warmth, color, and style. Additionally, they also serve a purpose for functionality. They help maintain and protect floors, and can even help draw out noise.
When it comes to selecting the right rug, this may seem like a daunting task. How to make the search a little easier? There’s a few points to keep in mind to help you narrow down your selection. I have all the details from color, to pattern, size, and the right style for your space.
Let’s get to it!
The way a rug is constructed determines the amount of maintenance it will require. I would not recommend a high pile rug, like a “shag rug” for high traffic areas, or for a house with kids and pets. Consider how you intend to live with the rug, the amount of traffic in your space, the use for the rug, and how much time and maintenance you want to invest in caring for it. How was this rug made, and how it fits with your life style?
Woven rugs are either produced by hand, or through mechanical looms. They are made made by intertwining warp and weft yarns. Machine woven are more affordable than those hand produced. Great for low traffic areas, and are easy to maintain. Some may even be reversible.
Tufted, or hand hooked rugs can be made by machine, or by hand. Made by punching individual yarns through a fabric sheet,using tufting tool. Made in low and high pile, these rugs are great for their patterns and texture. They are also the most affordable, and require the least amount of maintenance.
Hand knotted rugs are made using a an old technique, in which craftsmen tie each yarn individually, which is a very labor intensive process, making these rugs more expensive.
Wool is the most widely used fiber for rugs. Rugs made of wool are also the most durable. They will require the most maintenance, as wool will absorb scents and may easily stain. They are a great investment for low traffic areas.
Flat woven rugs are made with cotton fibers. They feel soft, look colorful, and are available in many patterns. A rug made of 100% cotton may be more delicate than a blend or synthetic rug, as they absorb dirt and stains.
Natural fibers like jute and seagrass are soft, durable, and eco-friendly. They offer great texturing, and are perfect for coastal and bohemian decor. Great options for indoor and outdoor use.
Rugs created with synthetic materials are more durable, easy to maintain, and more affordable. These man-made fibers create long lasting rugs, they hold up even under heavy use, and traffic. Great for indoors and outdoors use.
Now that you know a little more about construction and materials used to make rugs, let’s dive into the visual elements you will come across when choosing your ideal rug.
The ideal color depends on the size of room, lighting and how much color and pattern you already have in your space, or plan to incorporate in a new design. If you are looking for a rug for a small space, keep it light or neutral. Also, if your space has dark furniture and dark walls, a contrasting shade of neutral, or lighter tones will complement the space best. If your space is big and you have white walls, you can splurge on a more colorful rug.
If you are working with existing furniture, the colors of the rug should complement the color of the walls, furniture, art and decorative items like throw pillows and accessories.
For a house with kids and pets, a dark color will hide stains and spills.
Patterns are a fun way to infuse texture into a space. The way a pattern flows in the rug will have an effect in your space. It can also dictate the style you want to convey. So many different patterns to choose from geometric patterns, floral, to more ornate and intricate designs. If you are looking for a soothing and calm setting, then opt for a rug with minimal pattern.
Also, if the walls in your space already have a busy pattern, you may want to opt with less pattern on the rug. On the other hand, adding a little pattern, infuses a different level of energy into a space.
There are some rules that apply in buying the right size of rug for your space. Your choice in size will depend on the scale of your space, and the scale of your furniture. The rug should be as small, or big as your room. Typically, a rug should sit 6 inches to 2 feet from the edge of the wall.
In open concept spaces the rug anchors the space. The furniture should sit in the middle of the rug to designate each living area, and create harmony within the space.
In instances where the furniture can be against the wall, you can use a rug large enough for all the front legs of each furniture piece to touch the rug.
For dining rooms, you want to allow room for chairs to be able to move in and out of the space, without getting tripped on the rug. So allow for 36” of rug space from the table.
I hope this guide is helpful on your next purchase. Happy rug shopping!
Claudia Davis | Owner, Interior Designer | House and Harmony Design Studio
Claudia Davis is a native of San Diego, California, and longtime resident of the beautiful coastal community of Carlsbad. She created House and Harmony with the desire to make interior design services more accessible. She loves to create functional and stylish, practical and luxurious spaces.