A rug adds colour, texture, and complexity to a room depending on its size, design, and quality. But choosing the right one can be tricky, especially when it comes to a large-scale item that has a dramatic impact on the overall look and feel of a room. Take your pick from a wide range of colours, patterns, materials, and sizes – our guide can help you get started.
Decide between plain or patterned
Deciding between a statement rug and a more understated piece boils down to personal preference and your overall design vision. In most cases, decorators invest in a showpiece like an antique Persian carpet or something similarly lavish and striking. If you decide to go for a patterned rug, your choices range from traditional designs to free-form contemporary ones.
A rug with bold and rich patterns can serve as the focal point of the room, but because it has such a tremendous impact on the look and feel of your space, you’ll need to be confident in your decision.
If you want to go for a plain rug, you can find ways to introduce patterns on a smaller and subtler scale. For example, you can add a sisal rug with stripes or a herringbone pattern.
Choose the right material
Rugs come in all kinds of materials, including:
- Plant-based fibres: Sisal, jute, cotton, linen
- Downy, animal fibres and skin: Wool, mohair, cowhide, silk
- Synthetic materials: Nylon, solution-dyed acrylic
Each material has its own look and feel, with differences in price, durability, and ease of washing or cleaning:
- Plant-based materials are an excellent choice for a casual, minimalist look. For beach houses and country homes, the most popular material for rugs is sisal, coir, or sea-grass. Different plant fibres have different levels of durability. Generally speaking, cotton and linen tend to wear down faster than sisal and allo, which are more durable.
- One of the most popular animal fibres is wool, which comes in a wide variety of styles, including flat weaves and hand-knotted shags. Though more expensive than the majority of plant-based rugs, wool makes up for the heftier price tag with its durability in addition to a much softer underfoot. It can make any room look and feel luxurious due to its texture and softness.
The lanolin in wool makes it stain-resistant and fairly easy to clean. If you spill wine over your wool carpet for example, the liquid will sit on top for a while before getting absorbed by the material, giving you time for a quick cleanup.
- But if you live in a home with small children and pets, and spills and stains are a major concern, an indoor-outdoor rug made of synthetic material like polypropylene, nylon, polyester, or solution-dyed acrylic might be your best option.
Depending on how they’re made, these synthetic materials can be quite soft and visually appealing that they can be nearly indistinguishable from natural materials like cotton and wool. Durable, low-maintenance, and easy to clean, synthetic material rugs are impenetrable and can withstand a lot of wear and tear.
Avoid using too many rugs
Smaller spaces and enclosed rooms will do well with a single large rug. This can help expand the sense of usable space without overwhelming the room. Larger rooms and open-concept spaces can have multiple rugs, which can help pull disparate pieces of furniture together and can be used as a physical marker between the living area and the dining area for example, in the absence of partitions, walls, and doorways.
Layer multiple rugs
If you really want to use multiple rugs for a smaller and enclosed space, try layering them on top of each other. Place the larger plain rug on the bottom so that it covers most of the floor then layer a smaller patterned one on top. This technique works rather well with a big, plain sisal rug layered with a softer patterned kilim in the seating area, for example.
Choose a primary aesthetic attribute
If you’re having difficulty choosing a rug, you can narrow down your choices by deciding on the primary aesthetic attribute for your ideal rug:
- Colour – If you think colour is the most important deciding factor, then you can easily rule out any rugs that don’t match your desired colour. So if you find a rug with exactly the colour you want, but the pattern isn’t quite right, it should still be an option because colour is your priority.
- Pattern – If you already have a lot of solids and small-scale patterns in your living space, then you can add a rug with a bolder or more intricate pattern for some visual excitement. When prioritising pattern as a primary aesthetic attribute, colour should be secondary. Go through a few colour choices with the pattern you prefer.
- Texture – Add soft, cozy layers to a stark room or add a shag rug with dramatic texture to an otherwise sterile space. Making texture a priority can help limit your colour and pattern options so that shopping for the perfect rug becomes less overwhelming.
Decide on rug placement
- Living area – When it comes to the sitting room or living area, rug size is usually one of the most important considerations. When arranging furniture, the front legs of tables and chairs should ideally sit on top of the rug. When adding a rug to an open layout, you can use multiple rugs to create a room within a room, or to designate different areas, in which case, all furniture legs should sit entirely on top of the rug.
- Hallway – The main hallway serves as an introduction to your home. Because of this, you can get away with a rug that has bold colours and striking design, especially if your hallway has less light than other areas.
- Dining room – When choosing a rug for a dining table, it should be large enough to surround the table so that diners can push back their chairs and not lose their balance.
- Bedroom – If you go barefoot in the bedroom, choose a rug that feels great under foot, such as cashmeres, loose Berber weaves, and other sumptuous materials.
Franklin Hobart offers a wide range of bohemian-style rugs, mats, and carpets. Browse our collection of homewares today.