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Picking the Right Rug for Your Space

Adding a rug to your space is a decorative technique that provides both function and style.  For practicality, they provide comfort and warmth, especially over hard flooring options like concrete, wood, or tile.  Stylistically, they serve an integral role in interior decorating by adding color, tying different design elements together, and centering a space.  Whether you’re enhancing an indoor or outdoor space, there are a few things to consider before you buy.

What’s the shape?

Not just the shape of the rug, but also the shape of your space.  If you’re going for a dining layout based around a specific table, then your new rug should coordinate with the size and shape of that table—typically rectangular.  If, however, you’re trying to spice up a rounded area for sitting/entertaining, then a circular rug would be better.  Just be sure that whatever piece you pick is large enough to touch a majority of the furniture in the area.

What’s the material?

Realistically, this should coordinate with the amount of traffic you expect to have in that particular place.  If it’s in a living space that sees a lot of footsteps, you’ll want something durable—like those woven from natural, plant-based materials.  They tend to have a neutral color palette, and be more resistant to water, which makes them ideal for outdoor use, as well.

A tufted rug may be more ornate, but the looping patterns also won’t last as long in a highly-trafficked space.  As a general rule of thumb, if you have a stylized, one-of-a-kind piece, it’s probably best to feature that in a bedroom or dining room, where it’ll see less wear.  Don’t forget to consider your pets!  The looser the loop of the rug, the easier it is for your furry friend to unravel it. 

What’s the color/pattern?

Now, this is the fun part! While it’s possible to fall in love with a rug and then design a room around it, most often it happens the other way around.  You usually design the room first, and then pick a rug that suits the space, or ties multiple elements together. 

Most people use rugs to offset other design features they’ve already chosen—such as emphasizing brightly colored furniture with a neutral rug whose pattern may echo some of those same hues.  By contrast, an otherwise neutral room can be livened up with a brightly colored rug or a bold pattern.  You just don’t want to choose colors/patterns that clash.  Make sure you choices enhance one another, rather than distract or compete with the others. 

Remember, decorating should be fun!  It’s a way for you to express yourself with your surroundings, so go ahead:  Use one rug to connect two rooms.  Move your rug around to change up different rooms.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with color or ask for help from a professional.