Design Lesson

Design lesson: Choose an area rug

Design lesson: Choose an area rug Author: Style At Home

Design Lesson

Design lesson: Choose an area rug

Whether it's a hand-woven Oriental, a delicate French needlepoint or a modern manufactured design, nothing underscores a beautiful decor like a complementary area rug. But how do you decide what style, pattern or size is right for a room? The following design tips will help you select that perfect finishing touch – a rug that adds both style and comfort to your home.

Practical beauty
Most rooms benefit greatly from the addition of an area rug. Besides providing comfort underfoot, they offer inspiration for colour schemes and hide unsightly flooring, such as worn hardwood or carpeting. Designs range from more traditional Persians and French needlepoints to bold modern art rugs that come in almost every colour. Other practical benefits: rugs dampen noise and can easily be moved from room to room or house to house.

Material and pattern
Where a rug is placed will influence your choice of material and pattern. For instance, before putting a rug under furniture, consider whether or not it's suitable. A needlepoint rug, for example, should not be used under a dining table, where the movement of chair legs could damage it. Instead, choose a hand-knotted Persian for its durability; its intricate pattern will also camouflage stains.

When choosing a pattern, consider what works best with your decor. For example, a rug with a central-medallion design works well in an open-seating arrangement or centred under furniture, such as a glass table, where the design will still be visible. In rooms with awkward proportions, a rug with an overall pattern works best because it distracts attention from problem areas.

Pattern and colour can also create useful design illusions. For example, a rug with a horizontal-stripe pattern makes a narrow space look wider, while a darkly coloured rug anchors furnishings in a room with a pale monochromatic scheme or minimalist look, and provides a focal point for the room.

Choosing the best size
Antique rugs come in various sizes, while reproduction area rugs are available in a wide variety of standard sizes, from a two- by three-foot mat to a 10- by 14-foot carpet. Modern designs can be custom made in almost any size. To determine the maximum-size rug that will fit in a room, subtract three feet from the room's width and length, which will create a frame of flooring between the rug and the walls. For a dining room, choose an area rug that is four feet wider and longer than your table so that the chairs will remain on the carpet even when pulled out. For example, a 10- by 14-foot rug will fit under a table that seats 12 people; an eight- by 10-foot rug will generally fit under a table that seats six to eight.

Using several small area rugs is especially effective in a large room or an open-concept space, such as a living/dining room. Small rugs can help define areas, introduce structure, direct traffic flow and pull together an intimate seating arrangement, such as a reading nook or conversation corner

Kimberley Seldon is STYLE AT HOME's decorating editor. For more great decor and design ideas, visit kimberleyseldon.com.

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Design Lesson

Design lesson: Choose an area rug