A well-chosen rug ties a room together and adds rich colors and textures to a space. While rug sizing and placement may not be the first thing up for consideration in room design, the size, shape, placement, and color palette of a rug are key factors in creating a cohesive, welcoming environment. Choosing a rug that is too small can make a room seem empty or throw off the scale of your furniture. Alternatively, selecting a rug that is too large can make an area seem cramped.
Before investing in a rug, read the tips below for inspiration. When contemplating which size to purchase, make sure it anchors your furniture by having at least the front legs of your couch or bed on the rug. When using a rug in a dining space, keep in mind that your guests will pull their chairs out so allow for a decent border surrounding the table (no one likes wobbly chairs at the dinner table). For more tips and style suggestions, scroll below.
Skip to more information on rug types here.
Common Rug Materials
The material of the rug is just as important as size. Below we highlight the differences between a few of the most common materials available in the market today.
Wool rugs – Wool rugs are popular for homes in cooler climates, and for good reason. Their durable fabrics are soft and warm. Thanks to the naturally stain-resistant fibers that quickly bounce back, wool rugs are a great choice for high-trafficked areas or those frequented by children.
Cotton Rugs – Like wool rugs, cotton rugs also offer easy care and can be found in an array of styles thanks to the pliable fabric. Because they are generally low-cost, they can be a good fit for areas with high rug turnover, like the bathroom or the den.
Synthetic rugs – These man-made blends mimic the look and feel of natural fibers. They are often designed to be durable, stain-resistant, colorfast, and generally come at a competitive price point, meaning the look of each room can be updated more frequently.
Hide rugs – Often made from cowhide with skilled artisan work, these rugs are fitting for an elegant, sophisticated look. Care for hide rugs is more difficult. These rugs are best suited for areas less-frequented by foot traffic, and a specific vacuum settings should be used.
Popular Rug Styles
When working with an interior designer or when trying to specify the look you aim to achieve, understanding the distinction between styles is key.
Traditional rugs – The traditional style rugs are based on the original Persian rugs, popular for their richly colored borders and floral or vine patterns. To learn more about elegant Persian rugs, check out this article that details their history.
Dhurries – Dhurries are affordable, flat-woven rugs often made of cotton or wool with simple, geometric designs.
Kilims – These flat-woven wool rugs typically have narrow strips of earthy colors, which is how they are distinguished as Kilims.
Moroccan rugs – Moroccan rugs are shaggy, wool or cotton rugs that are perfect for a plush and exotic look.
With a greater insight on placement, materials, and styles, you can design like a pro. Completing the look of each room is a gradual process, and remember that it takes time to find the perfect rug to match your home’s decor.
Looking for more inspiration? Explore Freeman’s British and European Furniture and Decorative Arts auction (October 17) for key design pieces that will elevate your home decor.