Rugs can transform any room by adding warmth, comfort, and visual interest. Whether you want to make a bold style statement or create a cozy retreat, rugs are an easy way to update your home. Here are 12 tips for selecting and incorporating rugs to enhance your rooms with beauty and warmth.
Choose the Right Size Rug
When selecting a rug, proportion is key. A properly sized rug grounds the furnishings, defines the space, and pulls the look together.
For living rooms, the rug should be large enough so that the front legs of seating rest on the rug. Usually an 8’ x 10’ or larger rug works best for most living rooms.
For dining rooms, the rug should be wide enough to tuck under the legs of the chairs at either end of the table. A rug that is too small will make the furnishings look unanchored.
For bedrooms, you’ll want at least the front legs of the bed on the rug. Larger rugs can encompass the whole bedroom set.
Take measurements to ensure your new rug is scaled appropriately for the room. An undersized rug can throw off the whole design.
Layer Rugs for Added Interest
Don’t be afraid to use multiple rugs in a space. Layering a large area rug underneath a smaller rug adds visual texture and defines seating areas or zones within an open concept room.
Try combining rugs with different textures, patterns, or colors that complement each other. The key is to make sure the layered rugs relate through color, theme, or style.
Layering rugs is an easy way to update a room by changing up the smaller rug with the seasons or trends. The larger rug provides consistency while the smaller one on top changes the vibe.
Use Natural Fiber Rugs for Sustainability
Natural fiber rugs like sisal, jute, cotton, and wool are hypoallergenic, biodegradable options that promote sustainability. As consumer awareness grows, natural rug fibers have become increasingly popular.
Jute and sisal rugs provide texture and a casual vibe. Cotton flatweave rugs offer flexibility and softness underfoot. Wool is cozy, durable, and soil-resistant. Each natural fiber has unique characteristics to enhance your home.
In addition to being eco-friendly, natural fiber rugs are durable, easy to clean, and timeless. Investing in a quality natural fiber rug is a smart sustainable choice that pays dividends through longevity and lasting style.
Add an Area Rug to Warm Up Tile or Wood
Area rugs help warm up the look and feel of cold hard surface flooring like tile, stone, concrete, or hardwoods. They provide visual softness, sound dampening, and literal warmth underfoot.
For direct heat insulation, wool and cotton area rugs work best. Natural fibers allow for airflow so heat rises through the fibers. Synthetic fiber rugs trap heat against the flooring, making rooms feel colder.
In foyers or entryways, consider a doormat-type rug to prevent slipping on slick flooring. Use padded rug backings and anti-slip rug pads, especially for rugs on hardwoods or tile. The rug pad cushions steps and prevents shifting.
Define Spaces with Area Rugs
Rugs are a great way to delineate living areas within open concept great rooms or large spaces. Use area rugs to designate specific zones for seating, dining, or working without blocking sightlines.
Try placing one large area rug under the living area and a second rug under the dining set to visually separate the spaces. Or use one long runner to connect the two zones.
Floating furniture atop rugs creates intimate groupings for conversation or activities while maintaining an open layout. Rugs offer flexibility to rearrange furniture and direct foot traffic through the room.
Protect High Traffic Areas
Area rugs are ideal for dampening noise and absorbing wear-and-tear in high foot traffic zones or places prone to spills. Use durable, easy-to-clean rugs in:
- Dining areas
- Family rooms
- Children’s bedrooms
Rugs take the brunt of dirt, moisture, food spills, and pet accidents so your underlying flooring remains pristine. Treaded or textured anti-slip rug padding prevents bunching and slipping.
Rotate rugs every few months to even out wear. Periodically clean rugs to prolong lifespan and appearance in well-used spaces.
Muffle Noise with Rug Pads
Rugs help absorb ambient noise like creaking floors, kids’ footsteps, or home theater systems. But rug pads amplify the sound dampening ability exponentially.
Rug pads create a sound barrier between the rug and hard floor. Quality thick pads muffle impact noise and airborne noise transmission better than rugs alone.
Look for felt, rubber, or foam rug pads designed for noise reduction. Make sure they offer non-slip rubber backing so the rug stays firmly in place. Rug tape also secures edges to minimize crinkling or buckling.
Warm Up Contemporary Style with Textured Rugs
The simplicity and hard edges of contemporary design schemes beg for the tactile softness and comfort of rugs. Yet finding rugs that complement modern decor can prove challenging.
Try contemporary rugs with textural interest like high-low shags or tone-on-tone patterns. Abstract designs and muted palettes keep the rug looking fresh, not fussy. Natural sisal and jute offer earthy contrast to sleek lines and metal finishes.
Let the contemporary furnishings remain the focus by limiting competing colors or busy prints on the rug. Find a rug texture and subtle pattern that enhances the decor without overpowering the intended vibe.
Play with Color and Pattern for Bold Impact
In traditional or bohemian styled rooms, don’t be afraid to make a splash with vibrant or graphic print rugs. Rugs present a fun opportunity to layer in exciting colors, prints, or patterns without overwhelming walls or furniture.
Try safari-inspired animal hides or distressed-look rugs to add exotic flair. Moroccan trellis motifs and geometrics inject global eclectic appeal. Floral medallion rugs feel lush and romantic.
Just take care that rug colors complement the overall color scheme. Start with neutrals or muted solids for sofa, chairs and drapes so the vibrant rug pops. Then accessorize with pillows or art in some of the rug’s bolder hues.
Shop Thrift and Vintage Shops for Rug Treasures
Before purchasing brand new, browse thrift stores, vintage shops, flea markets, estate sales, or online auctions for unique secondhand rug finds. With some cleaning and minor repairs, thrifted rugs offer charm and individuality.
Vintage Persian rugs, embroidered Turkish kilims, or historic Oriental carpets are beautifully crafted and appreciated assets that cost a fraction of retail. Discount vintage rugs are a sustainable choice.
Look for quality construction, rich details, and fine materials that improve over time. Hand-knotted wool rugs become softer and develop patina. With TLC, a pre-owned rug lasts generations.
Repurpose Old Rugs for New Spaces
Give tired rugs new life by repurposing them to suit changing needs. Cut large rugs down to size for a room reboot. Use remnants to make bathmats, stair runners, or doormats.
Try an old bedroom rug in the living room layered under or cut to fit around sofas. Freshen patio rugs by hosing off and moving inside to high-traffic areas. Even small area rug fragments work as dynamic wall art.
Stained but structurally-sound rugs can be professionally cleaned and restored, or dyed a rich, dark color to disguise worn sections for continued use. With imagination, old rugs gain renewed flair.
Rotate Rugs By Season
As seasons and décor evolve, refresh rooms by cycling different rugs in and out of rotation. Some rugs feel more appropriate for the mood of a particular season.
During warmer months, try indoor-outdoor rugs on porches or lightweight cotton or jute rugs inside. Change out richly-hued Orientals for folksy rag rugs or faded vintage dhurries.
Come winter, restore cozy wool rugs underfoot and mix up styles – try a Flokati shag under the coffee table or furry sheepskin by the fireplace. Let your rug selections reflect the season.
Use Sculptural Rugs as Art
For real visual impact, select a hand-tufted or hand-knotted rug with artistic dynamism or unusual sculptural elements. Artisan-crafted rugs become artistic centerpieces for decor.
Look for raised relief, carved textures, dynamic shapes, or three-dimensional components like thick woven fringe or long silky pile. Nepalese Tibetan rugs, Indian dhurries, and Moroccan Beni Ourain shag rugs offer artisanal flair.
Floating a conversation-starting artistic rug on the wall makes a texturally exciting mixed media art display. Let an art rug take center stage and keep surrounding furnishings and accents minimal.
Rugs add comfort, warmth, visual interest, and personality to any room when thoughtfully incorporated. Take time to find the perfect size, material, color and pattern to complement your existing décor and lifestyle.
Invest in quality natural fiber rugs with compelling textures that stand the test of time. Don’t be afraid to layer rugs or use an area rug to designate cozy spaces within a large open room.
Let rugs help absorb noise, soften hard flooring, and protect high traffic zones while making a stylish design statement. Used creatively, rugs transform rooms into inviting havens filled with beauty and warmth.
Frequently Asked Questions
What size rug should I get for my living room?
For most living rooms, an 8’ x 10’ or larger rug works best. You want the front legs of seating resting on the rug so it looks proportional to the space. Size up rugs for very large rooms.
Should area rugs be centered in a room?
Not necessarily. Rugs can be centered, aligned with just the front edge of a sofa, or offset under the front legs of seating. It depends on the room layout. Play with positioning until the rug placement looks best to you.
How do you layer rugs?
Layer rugs by placing a larger area rug as an anchor, then topping it with a smaller rug in front of seating areas or zones of a room. Complementary colors, patterns and textures keep layered rugs cohesive.
What is the best material for rugs?
It depends on the rug’s purpose. Wool and cotton offer durability and sustainability. Silk is luxuriously soft. Synthetics like polypropylene are affordable but less eco-friendly. Choose natural fibers when possible for longevity and quality.
Should I get a rug pad?
Yes, quality rug pads prevent slips and falls, reduce carpet wear, absorb sound, and provide insulation over cold flooring. Felt or rubber pads work for most rugs. Make sure pads are non-slip and sized to fit the rug.
How do I clean an area rug?
Check the rug’s care instructions. Most can be vacuumed regularly. For deeper cleaning, try DIY spot cleaning methods first. For stubborn stains or extensive soil, periodically hire professional rug cleaners to deep clean rugs and revitalize colors.
Rugs provide many functional and decorative benefits within a home. Paying attention to scale, materials, quality construction and proper care ensures rugs perform well while enhancing your rooms with warmth, comfort and visual richness.
Take time to find area rugs with colors, patterns and textures that express your personal style. Arrange rugs thoughtfully to define spaces, protect floors and make a bold design statement.
With so many options, you can easily change up the look through rug rotation or layering to keep your home feeling fresh. Thoughtfully incorporating beautiful, high quality rugs transforms any room into an inviting space you’ll love coming home to.