With the popularity of wood and tile floors in homes today, carpeting has either been relegated to just the bedrooms or eliminated entirely. While wood floors are wonderful and warm-looking, there’s nothing like a beautiful area rug to ground a furniture arrangement and allow for maximum comfort (and warmth) underfoot. So how do you buy an area rug?
The sheer variety of colors and patterns is mind-boggling. It’s really a temptation to buy the first beautiful and appealing rug you lay your eyes on. But consider these tips.
It’s a great idea to purchase the rug first before you buy anything else for a room. It will set the tone for the style and colors you will be using in other pieces and on your walls. It’s like buying the dress first before you invest in the heels, jewelry, bag and accessories.
Is this rug going in the living room, a den, a bedroom or a hallway? Will it be in a family room with grandchildren and pets? Take stock of how much foot traffic and usage this rug will get before you buy. Outdoor rugs are fabulous for family rooms or kitchens, you can take them outside and hose them off when they get dirty.
Wool rugs are extremely sturdy and long-lasting, at a higher price point. Rugs made of cotton or viscose are less expensive, but they don’t last longer than a few years. Sisal and jute look nice and they have a fun texture, but they will absorb liquids and be difficult to clean. Silk rugs are gorgeous, but they are not easy to clean, so use them in low-traffic rooms.
–Is your room an odd shape, or do you need a very long runner for a hallway? Rugs for specialized areas like these can be custom-cut to size and shape and bound for you; go to a reputable carpet store in your area to select a pattern and have these items custom made by the pros.
–For a living room or den, you have options. An area rug can cover just the area in the center of a furniture arrangement up to the sofa and chairs. Or, choose a rug that extends beyond the furniture arrangement by 1-2 feet all around. Note: if you have vents in your floor, never cover those with a rug.
–For a dining room, measure the width and length of your table and chairs set. The rug should extend to at least 2 feet beyond the width and length of your table, so that the chairs sit comfortably on it, even when pulled back from the table.
–A runner for a hallway should be at least 24 inches wide, but can be fit to within a few inches of each wall. In this photo, a custom cut runner and door mat were paired near at an entryway.
–For a bedroom, place the rug horizontally to allow for rug space on either side of the bed and in front of it. The rug ideally should end before your side tables and can extend as far as you like in front of the bed (such as under a bed bench or a pair of chairs at the foot of the bed).
For this neutral bedroom scheme, the area rug extends to the edge of the end tables, and beyond the foot of the bed, over a wood plank floor.
To size a rug for a living room/den, bedroom, or dining room, go to www.ballarddesigns.com and click on their excellent Rug Guide.
–Rug Pads: Rugs can do a great job of protecting floors and muffling noise. A rug pad will also help you achieve long wear from your new rug. I’m not talking about those cheap rubber mat-type rug pads you find in discount stores. Protect your investment and order a felted rug pad, which will be ¼” to 1” thick, you can trim it to accommodate your rug.
–Maintenance: follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining and vacuuming your rug. Some vacuums can gradually ruin the pile of your rug, so pay attention to the type of brush that should be used. Some wool rugs will shed somewhat the first few times you vacuum them, but that will gradually subside. Most rugs should only be professionally cleaned, so be choosy about the pros you choose to provide that service. Consult with those in the know at your local carpet store for recommendations.
So as you can see, there are a number of important considerations to take into account when buying a rug for your forever home. I’d be happy to be your personal guide in selecting your rugs and redesigning your rooms.!