The dos and don’ts of selecting the right rug

A rug is often the first thing people will notice in a room, so it’s important to make sure they are noticing it for the right reason. Finding the perfect rug isn’t easy and there are a lot of common mistakes people make. To help you avoid them, we’ve pulled together the dos and don’ts of selecting the perfect rug for your home!

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Gina living room

Do stick to your overall look and feel

The first thing to do is look at the entire space and decide if you’re selecting a rug to complement everything you already have or if it’s time for a total room revamp. If you’re making big changes to a room, it’s always a good idea to start by creating a mood board. It’s a way of pulling all your ideas together and identify any areas for improvement or issues to avoid before you spend any money.

If your room is full of bright patterns or bright colours, it might be wise to stick with a single colour, or a neutral tone to complement. As a busy floor rug could compete in the space. As the saying goes ‘Busy on the walls OR busy on the floor’. Few people can pull off pattern on pattern effortlessly.

However, if the room is a bit bland, a bold, patterned rug can give it the boost you’re looking for. Modern transitional rugs, such as this Karachi Blue Area Rug, can add a pop of colour and floral pattern to a Hamptons home. Or you can use texture to create pattern. For example, this knotted wool and jute rug is the perfect neutral rug to add subtle pattern and suits a wide range of interior styles.

Do assess your space first

If you aren’t changing any of your original styling, look at the existing furniture and furnishings in the room. You will want your rug to work with the colours in your space. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t want your rug to ‘match’ your space perfectly. Instead, look for a colour that shares similar undertones but contrasts with your flooring or furniture.

Then look at the layout of your room. If the rug is for the living or family area, consider the sofa arrangement — whether you have a single sofa, a classic combination of a two-seater and three-seater, or a modular lounge. Your seating will determine the shape and size of the rug you’re looking for.

Measure up your room. Draw yourself a diagram to measure the space and think about how you’d like to position it and how much of the rug you’d like to be on display. Take note of the measurements of the rugs you like, and mark them out with masking tape on your floor.

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Image via Rugs of Beauty

Don’t choose image over practicality

If you have kids or pets, it’s so important that you select a rug that is hard-wearing, as well as beautiful. Patterned or two-tone rugs are much more forgiving of any marks, stains or pet hair. And if you have little ones, a wool-blend is the right balance of plushness and durability, especially if you take the extra step of scotch-guarding it to protect against spills!

Hallways and high traffic areas will need something that can stand up against a lot of wear and tear. Keep the plush, delicate rugs for bedrooms or sitting areas where there won’t be people walking across them too often.

Do your research

The best way to ensure you aren’t just buying a rug that looks pretty but will also suit your lifestyle is to do your research.

The material you choose for your rug depends on where it will live and what purpose it will serve; whether it’s purely functional or to add a touch of luxury. If it needs to be durable, look to synthetic fibres, wool blends or natural fibres such as sisal, which can take a lot of wear and tear. Think about whether you want your rug to be short pile or a longer, plusher pile (keep note that short pile is a better option if pets are in the space as it can be impossible to vacuum pet hair from plush pile rugs).

The shape of your rug — round, square or rectangular will be dependant on the size and shape of the room and the look you’re trying to achieve. A round rug can soften a room with lots of hard edges, while large rectangular rugs are perfect for your living and dining areas.

Adore Magazine selecting the right rug
Image via Barnaby Lane

Do shop around

Rugs can be expensive, and the bigger the rug, the more you can expect to pay. The good news we recently rounded up some amazing online shops for large rugs that won’t break the bank. If the variety online is overwhelming, some of these online shops like Miss Amara offer a free styling service to help you find the perfect rug for your room.

Miss Amara selecting the right rug
Image via Miss Amara

Don’t go too small

Rugs can be expensive and the bigger the rug, the more it’s likely to cost. But there are lots of inexpensive, colourful rugs to beautify your room without breaking the budget. A too-small rug will look out of proportion, and you will find yourself regretting it, and potentially paying more down the track to replace it!

Ideally, your rug should be big enough to comfortably fit all your furniture in the space. But, if you just can’t afford that massive rug, there are a few tricks you can use to ensure a slightly smaller rug still works in the space.

A great rule to follow is that your feet should always be resting on the rug when you’re sitting down. In a living area, this means the rug needs to be big enough to be able to put at least the front legs of your furniture on it.

In the bedroom, the rug should be big enough to hold your bed, have extra width on the sides and at the end to walk on. You can get around this with a smaller rug by placing the rug under two thirds of the bed, and not under your bedside tables.

One place you shouldn’t cheat is the dining room where, a rug needs to generously hold your table and chairs, even when they’re pulled out. A too-small rug becomes a trip hazard as people start pulling chairs in and out, not to mention it will drive you mad to continually be straightening it!

Cushion inspiration selecting the right rug

Don’t impulse buy

You may think you would never do this, but it happens! It’s easy to think you’ve found the perfect rug when you’re in store or find a beautiful rug on sale. But it’s important to think about your lifestyle and what will be practical.

Some things to ask yourself before you hit ‘add to cart’ on a rug include:

  • is it the right size? This is the biggest mistake people make so double check your measurements
  • will the colour suit our lifestyle? Think pet hair, young children, existing furniture etc
  • is the material practical? Avoid delicate textures in a room where you need a hardwearing rug
  • will it be easy to clean? Jute and wool are materials that have a natural resistance to stains and can be easy to clean
  • is it the right thickness? If you have a young baby and hard floors, you will want a rug with cushioning. However, if you’re looking for a hallway runner that’s going to get a lot of foot traffic, a low-pile rug will be a better option.

We hope these dos and don’ts of selecting the right rug have helped you. Have you got any decorating tips or tricks to add? Tell us about it in the comments!

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This post was originally published in September 2018 and continues to be updated with the latest information and images.

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