How to Choose an Area Rug

Choosing the perfect area rug

A good area rug can make the barest room feel warm and inviting.  But with so many options available, it's hard to know what the right one is for your individual needs.

How to Choose an Area Rug

Area rugs can set a room's design style, define a conversation area, organize the flow of traffic and more. Their varied designs and colours give them almost limitless decorating possibilities. And, because they are movable, area rugs are easy to maintain.  Some are even reversible for longer wear.

1. Rug considerations

Decisions in buying area rugs revolve around what you need and like, and what you can afford. Often the deciding factor, outside of price, is the design. Be a little bit practical when choosing a rug. If the area rug is to be used in front of the kitchen sink, easy cleaning and cushioning comfort are key features to look for. A machine-washable rug, such as a cotton rag or nylon braid, would be ideal for this location.

In its friendliest, most congenial presentation, an area rug fits under the front and back legs of the furniture in its focal area. At the very least, the rug should fit under the front legs of all the pieces in the area.  When an area rug is placed only under one piece of furniture, it gives power to that piece. This can be helpful when you want to call attention to an heirloom table in a hallway.

The area rug in a dining room should extend well beyond the table on all sides, so that chairs remain on the rug when they are pulled out for seating. You don't want people half on and half off the rug as they eat.

2. Types of rugs

Most often it is the construction of a carpet that establishes its formality or informality. Rag, hooked and braided rugs are considered informal and casual. On the opposite end, Auberon and Oriental carpets generally appear in formal rooms with period furniture. Needlepoint, Sherrie and Khilim rugs span the middle.

There are always exceptions to rules. If you have a good eye for design and colour, use area rugs in an eclectic manner, gracefully mixing styles to create a comfortable ambiance. Here are some popular types of area rugs.

  • Aubusson: A flat tapestry pile made from a fine yarn, the original French style is characterized by a central medallion in the field with a wide border repeating some centre details.
  • Braided: Three fabric strips, with cut edges folded in by hand or machine, are braided; then the braids are stitched together in rounds, ovals or straight rows to make these casual reversible rugs.
  • Dhurrie: Hand-woven in India of colourful wool or cotton yarns that cover the cotton warp in a tapestry weave, these reversible rugs have soft colours and varied designs.
  • Hooked: This rug is made with heavy yarn or a strip of fabric pulled through a mesh by a hook or needle to form a looped pile.
  • Khilim: A style of Oriental rug, Khilims are hand-woven in Anatolia, Persia, Turkestan and some Balkan States with heavy, twisted wool yarn in a split tapestry weave that is reversible.
  • Oriental: Classically, any handmade carpet from Turkey eastward to the North Pacific Ocean is an Oriental rug. The many styles are named for their regions or the peoples who make them.
  • Needlepoint: Tiny diagonal stitches are handmade across the threads of an even-weave canvas with wool yarn. An 18th century art form, they are often made in floral or geometric patterns.
  • Rag: Torn strips of fabric with the edges visible or concealed are either woven, crocheted or knitted to make rag rugs. Colours usually run randomly throughout this type of rug, and it is reversible.

Knowing the basics of area rugs will assist in finding the perfect rug for you.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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