How to Choose the Perfect Area Rugs for Your Home and Lifestyle

iStock_000003230618_SmallIf you’ve recently installed new bamboo flooring in your home, you most likely spent a week or so oohing-and-aahing over just how stylish and beautiful it is. And then eventually you realized there were areas in your home that you wanted to “cozy up,” especially if you live in parts of the country that experience cold and harsh winters, and now you’re on the hunt for those perfect areas rugs.

But where most people know what color of rug they want, they haven’t a clue about pile, textures, durability or practicality, and so they make a large purchase and realize when it’s too late they didn’t buy the right rugs for their home or lifestyle.

3 Things to Consider When Selecting an Area Rug:

  • Your Personal Taste
  • The Location of the Rug
  • How the Rug Will Need to be Maintained

The first point is relatively simple: what colors are you drawn to? Do you like simple designs, complex designs or no designs? Do you like a worn, antique look or brand spanking new?

Next, you need to decide where each rug will be located in order to know what kind of upkeep it will need. For instance, an area rug in the foyer that will come into contact with dirt and grime brought into the house will need much more cleaning and maintenance than a rug in the master bedroom.


Typically speaking, medium- and high-pile rugs will need to be deep cleaned to remove dust and other allergens that have accumulated and settled in the fibers. Much of these won’t be easily removed by vacuum alone so a thorough and professional cleaning is highly recommended.

Low-pile and flat-weave rugs obviously provide fewer hiding spaces for all of the dirt and crumbs and dust and grime and can usually be spot cleaned quite easily. With these it is recommended that you take them outside twice a year and give them a good ol’ fashioned rug beating to get rid of any dirt your vacuum didn’t suck out. Once you give a rug a good beating and see how much better your mood is after, you’ll want to beat your rugs more often, but twice a year will suffice. And for really in-depth cleaning, you can have them dry cleaned instead of having a professional in who will charge more and do about the same job.

The cleanliness of your rugs significantly affects you and your family’s health and for this reason we can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure you schedule regular cleanings which will create a healthier home environment.

Some Suggestions

If you’re unsure of what kind of weave or pile of rug should go in what room, here are some suggestions:

  • Flat-weave area rugs are great for high-use rooms such as dining rooms and living rooms. Also, if you have young children who often play on the floor, a low-pile rug with a quality rug pad will create a cushy, comfortable spot for them to play on.
  • High-pile or shag area rugs are best for bedrooms where you want a sense of softness and luxury. Just be sure to have the rug under and around the immediate area of the bed and not reach out into the rest of the bedroom.
  • As for the size of your rugs and how they should be laid out in relation to your furniture, people will try and convince you there are rules to this but ignore them. Many designers will tell you to do what feels and looks right to you. For instance, some people like to make sure all furniture has been placed on the area rug, creating a little island, were other people like only certain parts of the furniture (front sofa legs) to be on the rug. You might find you want to intentionally create a dedicated space using a large rug, like in a dining room.

In general, the use of the space will determine rug and furniture placement.

How to Choose the Right Area Rug for Your Room and Lifestyle

When you think about it, area rugs are a big investment financially as well as visually, and they typically have the power to make or break the look and feel of a room. The right rug choice can tie together the color patterns and furnishings while the wrong rug can create discord and confusion.

Here are some things to consider when shopping for area rugs:

What is Your Family’s Lifestyle?

Do you have pets that constantly drag mud into the house? What about kids? Are they teenagers or toddlers who haven’t mastered the art of not spilling food? If your life is a bit messier these days for whatever reason, a high-pile light-colored rug would most likely NOT be the wisest choice.

What is the Purpose of Your Area Rug and Where Will it be Located?

Will this rug be the center of attention in the room? Will it be smack dab in the middle of your living room where family and guests will be on it and around it just hanging out or playing board games? Or will it be in the guest bedroom where your aunt, who has bad allergies, will be staying when she comes to visit? You have to determine purpose and location before making any costly purchase.

What Would You Say Your Overall Style is?

Although you don’t have to be matchy-matchy, try and complement the style and space of your rooms. Make sure the colors of the rug work with the tones you’ve selected for the wall color and upholstery color.

Will it be Easy to Clean?

No one will dispute the fact that antique Persian rugs are gorgeous (and expensive!), but they will have to be professionally cleaned AT LEAST once a year if located in high-use rooms. If this is the way you insist on going, find out first if your professional rug cleaner will come pick it up from your home or if you are responsible for dropping your rugs off. Depending on the size of the rug, it may be too cumbersome to roll up and stick in the trunk of your car.

What Feels Best to You?

Do you and your family often walk around your home either barefoot or in socked feet? If so, you will most likely want a softer rug made from either wool or cotton. You wouldn’t want rugs made from jute or sisal which, although beautiful, can be a bit rougher and not as warm underfoot.

What’s Your Budget?

Doing any kind of renovation or redecorating project costs a lot. One thing to remember is, often, if you spend more money up-front on high-quality rugs it can save you money in the long run. The only exception to this would be if you know you tend to be the type of person that likes to change area rugs, window treatments and pillow every few years. If that’s the case then we recommend you go with some medium-quality rugs from a discount or home improvement store.

Area rugs really can make or break the look and feel of a room. Hopefully by following these guidelines you will choose rugs that are perfect for your home and your lifestyle.

Categories: Flooring, Interior Decorating

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