Area rugs instantly update a room


Gray bedroom set with gray area rug on a wood floor
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In the time it takes to unroll a rug, you can transform a living or working space. Use these guidelines to pick the right one.

If you like instant gratification, then you’ll enjoy refreshing your décor with an area rug or two. In the time it takes to unroll a rug, you can define an area, add a splash of color and provide more comfort in your home. Plus, rugs can be cleaned more thoroughly than wall-to-wall carpeting—a big plus for anyone with allergies or pets.

When you go shopping for an area rug, you’ll discover that there are thousands of options. Here are things to consider when choosing a rug to transform your space.

Size matters

With area rugs, you want to be like Goldilocks: pass over the ones that are too big or too small. How do you get the right size? It depends on the use.

In the dining room, chairs should be on a rug even when pulled away from the table. In a living room, size the rug so at least the front legs of the furniture are on the rug. Also, allow visual space between the rug and the wall. 6 to 14 inches should be enough.

If you’re defining an office space within another room, make sure your desk and chair fit completely on the rug. You don’t want to fight with the rug every time you roll your chair back.

What if the rug you love is too small? Use more than one and mix up the patterns. Check out Martha Stewart’s tips on how to layer rugs like a pro.

What material to choose

How your space is used will guide your choice of materials. For example, a synthetic (such as nylon or polypropylene) makes more sense in a kitchen or mudroom where it’s exposed to water and spills. Fibers like wool, silk and cotton are better for living rooms, bedrooms or even home offices.

Wool is one of the best materials for rugs. Not only does wool feel great on bare feet,  it’s exceptionally durable. A wool rug that’s well cared for can last decades. Plus, wool rugs have 30% more stain resistance compared to synthetic fibers and are naturally flame retardant without the use of chemicals.

Rugs are also made from natural fibers like sisal, jute and seagrass. Typically, these materials are designed in natural colors with rich textures, lending an earthy feel to a room.

Choose a rug made of material that suits the space it will be used in.

Have fun with rug shapes

Another way rugs add panache to a room is with their shape. Rectangles are the most popular but consider other shapes, too. A round or oval rug can highlight the shape of a table or create a cozy conversation nook. Squares work in places where rectangles look out of place. Runners can transform a hallways or add elegance alongside a bed.

Have fun with the shape of your rug!

Don’t forget outside spaces      

Outdoor spaces get just as much of a lift from area rugs as indoor spaces. Outside you definitely want synthetic materials that won’t be damaged by rain and can be easily hosed off.

An outdoor area rug can also provide an opportunity to try out new colors or patterns that appeal to you but feel too bold for indoors. Cool colors like blues and greens create a relaxing mood while bright reds, oranges and yellows can energize the atmosphere on your patio or deck. Go ahead, be daring with your outdoor area rug!     

Consumers helps more than 1,000 members finance land, first and second homes, and home improvement projects each year. We’d love to help you with a mortgage or home equity line of credit; contact us online or call us at 800-991-2221.

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Consumers home loans

We’d love to help you with a mortgage or home equity line of credit.

Learn more

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