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How to Appropriately Use Area Rugs in Interior Design

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Area rugs are an often underutilized aspect of home decor. Even today, it remains one of the most dramatic ways you can change the look and feel of a room. Understanding that it’s more than simply an accessory is one of the first steps to understanding how to successfully incorporate them into your own home.

Understanding Its Role


The purpose of an area rug isn’t just to look good, it should also set boundaries and create order within the room. This is why choosing the size is so important. People are often surprised at the prices of larger examples, but remember that your savings will be worthless if the rug isn’t right for the space. In the living room, the general rule of thumb is that it should be large enough so at least the front legs of the furniture are on it. In the bedroom, you want to be able to feel the rug on your feet when you get out of bed so around two feet beyond the bed on each side a good starting point.

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More Than an Afterthought

Area rugs often come as an afterthought in the design process. If a designer has done a bad job tying together a space, they often think that by adding a rug into the equation they can better bring everything together. The truth is that an area rug should actually be one of the first things you consider when designing the layout of a room. After all, it’s likely the largest piece in the entire space so it deserves your full attention. Deciding what you want at the last minute also means that you risk spending months searching for the perfect fit.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Neutral colors like beige, creams, and grays are very popular amongst people buying area rugs because they fear that something with more character could be obstructed by their furniture. The trick is to match the rug with the kind of furniture surrounding it. If you’re using a patterned motif, look for something with a geometrical pattern like those available here. This means that the overall design won’t be blocked by the furniture covering it. Similarly, if you’re using a rug with an image on it, make sure that a piece of furniture isn’t obscuring the most interesting part of that design. Place it underneath lighter furniture with a slender frame, or perhaps a glass surface.

When used correctly, area rugs are an incredibly useful device in interior design. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different approaches until you find the one that’s right for you.