What type of lifestyle do you lead? Do you have small children in the house? Do you have pets? A white or light coloured shag carpet is probably not a good idea in those instances.
Where will the rug be located, and what purpose will it serve in that space? Is it a focal point in a formal living room or a place people can sit on while playing board games in the family room?
What is your style? Try to complement the style of the space. The area rug should work with the tones of the furnishings.
Cleaning – An expensive carpet is going to have to be professionally cleaned every 12-18 months if placed in high-use rooms.
How does it feel underfoot? If you prefer a softer feel, then natural fibers such as wool and cotton would be your best choice. If you want a lush, deep, pile, synthetic fibers are best. Organic fibers such as jute and sisal can be soft underfoot but they don’t provide the same warmth as a woven rug.
Cost – Spending a bit more on a high-quality area rug may be worth it in the long run rather than buying mediocre-quality area rugs. However, if you like to re-decorate, less-expensive area rugs are probably your best choice.
Entry Way – Entry rugs work best if they are flat weave or have a very low pile. Because the entry is adjacent to the outdoors, rugs there usually need frequent cleaning. They can also be dangerous if not properly secured to the floor with either a nonslip rug pad or rug tape.
Living/Family Rooms – The rug should go at least under the front legs on sofas and chairs, in a seating arrangement, unifying the furniture, and should run the same width, or slightly longer, than the sofa. There should be approximately 18” of bare floor between the rug edge and the perimeter walls of the room. This works in rooms that are enclosed as opposed to open concepts. In a small room, use approximately 8”. But personal preference prevails – furniture that’s half-on, half-off the rug creates a casual look. Furniture entirely on or off the rug creates a more formal look.
Dining Room – Centre the furniture over the rug and choose a rug that fits the shape of your table. Extend the rug at least 24” around the table, allowing you to move the chairs without tripping over the rug, (ie allow 6 more inches for a chair that’s pushed back from the table). Choose a weave or short pile rug to allow for ease of cleaning any spills and to allow chairs to move.
Try to match the rug shape to the shape of your room to bring a pleasing feeling of order to the space. For example:
- Square dining table = square area rug
- Rectangular or oval dining table = rectangular area rug
- Round dining table = round or square area rug
Bedroom – For an area rug to look balanced under a bed, it should be large enough to extend beyond the sides of the bed by approximately 18” – 36” for a queen/king bed and approximately 12” for a twin bed. If placing an area rug at the foot of a bed, the rug width should extend beyond the width of the bed to achieve a balanced look.
Hallways – Are popular places for an area rug or runner. There is flexibility in how long it should be but allow the width to show a bit of floor on each side. A typical runner is 2′ x 8′, but can be custom made to any size.
Invest in a good rug pad – A quality rug pad ensures no one will slip from a rug moving or trip from wrinkles and protects the rug and floor from damage. A rug pad holds the rug flat against the floor to prevent movement. Buy a rug pad that is 1-2” smaller than your rug. Some rug pads are made specifically for hardwood floors while others work better on carpet. PREVENT FLOOR DAMAGE – the wrong pad can damage your floor. Work with your flooring consultant to choose the best rug pad for your rug.