Picking the perfect area rug for your space

November 6, 2014

Whether to update the look of a room or make it seem cosier, finding the right area rug for the space you have requires more than simply choosing a colour or style. You also need to consider different fibres and sizes before you get it right. Here's some advice to help you pick the perfect area rug.

Picking the perfect area rug for your space

Choosing between rug fibres

Instead of shopping by rug style alone, you should begin by choosing the rug fibre that will meet your needs in terms of durability, stain resistance and overall comfort.

Wool rugs have a very high level of stain resistance.

  • Wool is also very soft and can withstand constant foot traffic.
  • Although new wool rugs may shed, shedding should significantly diminish after a few weeks.

Most high-quality antique rugs are made from wool and are extremely durable.

Cotton rugs are easy to clean, but they don't have the same level of stain resistance or durability that wool rugs possess.

  • The benefit of cotton rugs is they shed far less than wool rugs and are less expensive.

Natural fibres
Area rugs made from highly durable natural fibres such as sisal, jute, seagrass and bamboo are available in a variety of natural, neutral colours.

  • Most natural-fibre rugs are woven in a simple design and may be finished with a cotton border.
  • These grass-fibre rugs are often incorporated into contemporary and modern rooms.

Polypropylene is a synthetic fibre that is just as soft as wool. However, unlike other fibres, it will not absorb water.

  • The special dye used on polypropylene makes it unlikely to fade when exposed to sunlight or most chemicals, but polypropylene rugs should be placed in low-traffic areas so as to avoid wear.
  • Although polypropylene rugs are good in areas where wet shoes, boots or feet tend to tread, they tend to wear out faster than natural-fibre area rugs, so you'll need to be careful where you place them.

Polyester rugs are less resilient than other fibres and can be easy to stain. The plus side? Polyester rugs can have richer colours and are softer than other rugs. They also tend to be cheaper than other types of area rugs.

  • Due to its limited durability, polyester rugs should not be used in high-traffic areas. However, given that they are usually fairly inexpensive, replacing them more often won't break the bank.

Nylon rugs offer superior stain and soil resistance.

  • They're available in a wide selection of colours and styles, which makes them an excellent option for homeowners who like synthetic fibres.
  • If you have pets or young children roaming the house, the stain-resistant properties of nylon rugs make them desirable for decorating in areas where spills or stains are likely to occur.

Sizing the rug for the room

Area rugs can be used to visually define smaller spaces within a larger room. In general:

Larger rugs
Even large rugs should never cover the entire floor.

  • There should always be at least a half metre of space around the rug's perimeter.

Smaller rugs
Small rugs or long and narrow rugs should be placed in front of doors or in entryways to prevent wear on the underlying flooring.

In larger rooms
In larger rooms, each rug should be big enough to encompass a vignette of furniture. For example:

  • In a large living room, a rug should extend beyond the perimeter of space marked by a couch, coffee table and chairs.
  • Small rugs that sit just underneath the coffee table, but do not extend underneath the surrounding seating, are not considered as aesthetically pleasing.

The first step to choosing an area rug perfect for the space you have is by size and fibre type. Then, begin looking for a style and colour palette that you adore. Don't be afraid to experiment with textures and patterns to give your home a more personalized look.

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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