Area rugs can be powerful design tools. With one simple switch, a room can go from traditional to modern, classic to contemporary, or bland to bold. Here are some guidelines in choosing the just the right area rug:

There is an almost unending variety of rug styles. Don’t be bound by traditional ideas of Persian or European rugs. Consider modern, contemporary alternatives, such as bold floral or geometric patterns or simple jutes and sisals.
Before settling on a style, think about what kind of atmosphere you want to create in your room. Remember that an area rug does not have to match everything in the space, but it must work with the textures and tones of the existing design.

Colour is the natural starting point. The colour of your area rug will set the tone for the entire room, so it’s an important decision. Consider how different colours will work with your existing furniture. If your room already has a lot of colour and patterns, a neutral or single tone rug may work best. If you are starting from scratch in a bare room, consider how the rug will work with the colours and tones of the flooring, walls and ceiling.

Patterns may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but in a room where the furniture and walls are all solid colours, a patterned rug can really bring the space to life. Conversely, if you have patterned furniture, a solid rug can have a grounding effect on the room. The key is to find the balance, if the rug is meant for an already furnished room, your choices may be more limited. If, however, the rug is one of the first things you are purchasing for your new room, find a pattern that is right for you.

The size of the rug should be determined by the size of your room. For most average sized rooms, there should be between 25 and 50 centimetres of bare floor between the edge of the rug and the walls of the room. Make sure the rug is centered in the room with the same amount of space open on all 4 sides of the room. Rugs can also be used to define spaces in an open-plan area, in which case you should think about the area you want to highlight or define, and choose a size based on that area, always keeping in mind that with rugs it is always better to go too big than too small.

You should keep your lifestyle in mind when considering your choice of rugs. If you have children or pets, a white rug is probably not recommended. If your rug is in a high traffic area, a rug with a pattern that masks stains is a good option.

Always use a liner to keep your rug from slipping or creeping. The rug liner should be appropriate for your floor type, and be the right size to fully keep the rug from sliding.

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