What rug should I choose?
Solving the riddle of which rug would look best in your lounge is not something that can easily be decided by an impulse visit to a rug shop. Whilst most interior design trends in 2022 will advocate the inclusion of a nice rug to complete the décor of a room, the question of ‘which rug?’ must then be answered with many considerations. The choice that you make must be the right one or you run the risk of potentially spending a lot of money on a daily reminder that you made the wrong choice.
In this article, we go over some of questions that you should ask yourself when considering the purchase of a rug.
ONE RUG OR MORE?
You may not be surprised to hear that not all rooms are created equal in shape, size or dimension. Whereas a small, 6 foot by 3 foot rug may be perfect for a smaller, transitionary space like a hall or porch, it would not work at all in a large, open plan living space.
Luckily, there are no rules when it comes to how many rugs you should have in a room. The use of multiple rugs can serve as a grounding base for separated areas in the same space. Consider an open plan living dining and kitchen area in a house: it would be perfectly viable to use a rug for each space to give each area an identity that is distinct from its adjacent spaces.
Conversely and in an attempt to make use of as much space as possible in a normal 17 square metre sized lounge, designers often favour a rug that is almost as large as the room itself (allowing for doors to open) and ensuring that furniture is placed around the rug instead of on the rug.
SINGLE OR DOUBLE LAYER?
At first, it may seem somewhat odd to layer one rug on top of the other but is actually quite a common practice for larger rooms. A larger, plain rug can be placed on top of the floor with a smaller, more decorative rug on top which acts as a focal point in the room. Furniture would them be placed around the top rug and on top of the bottom rug. The bottom rug served to bring everything and everyone on top of it into the same space without being overbearing.
An example of how to achieve this look would be to lay a relatively inexpensive sisal rug as a base layer and then place a more vibrant kilim or Persian rug on top. This is also a great way to position furniture in a large room so that each piece has plenty of room but is still integrated into the room along with the rest of the furniture by being placed around the focal rug
WHAT SIZE OF RUG IS BEST?
There are no hard and fast rules on how large a rug should be compared to the room in which it is placed but if you need an indication of what might look right, then consider the following:
- If a rug is to be placed under a table, it should be at least 80cm larger so that chairs do not catch on the rug
- If a rug is to be placed in front of a sofa, it should be at least 6 inches wider than the sofa and have at least 30 inches of space between items of furniture.
- Aim for a rug that is 2 metres less than the dimension of your room. For example:
- A room that is 4m by 5m should have a rug that is 2m by 3m
- A room that is 5m by 7m should have a rug that is 3m by 5m
- A room that is 7m by 9m should have a rug that is 5m by 7m
It is sensible to consider how the room is laid out and whether the rug needs to allow for any irregularities like fireplace hearths, ventilation and, of course, where the furniture will go. Enough space should be left for comfortable walkways so that people are not forced to walk with one foot on the rug and the other off of the rug. Let’s call this ‘rug etiquette’. So, the walkways behind sofas and seating should either be completely covered with the rug or left bare. A general rule is to enable all 4 legs or castors of a chair to be placed on the rug.
Whilst it is possible to place a smaller rug in a room and surround it with seating, it is often not an advisable course of action. It runs the risk of the rug looking a little lost or unfinished and leaving the rest of the furniture in the room without cohesiveness.
WHAT PATTERN WOULD BE BEST?
When it comes to choosing a patterned rug, there are a lot to choose form: Persian, Caucasian, Chinese, Indian, Turkish, Kilim, contemporary to name but a few. Each type of rug will have its own style of pattern, thickness, colour and weave and will therefore suit some rooms more than others.
It is a courageous choice to pick a vibrant and boldly patterned rug for a room but also a joy should the right rug be placed in the right space. A modern city apartment room can benefit hugely from an antique Persian rug whereas a contemporary rug would look equally as nice if the décor allows. For those wanting to experiment with pattern but is unsure what will work, it is comforting to know that their rugs with a calmer and more subtle colour mix and pattern
WHICH MATERIAL WOULD BE BEST?
The short answer here would be ‘it depends….’.
There are a lot of different materials from which a rug can be made: sisal, jute, wool, cotton, silk, mohair, linen and (dare we say it) synthetic. Each material will yield its own look and feel as well as durability and strength. For example, a linen rug can look beautiful but is not very durable and so is prone to wear and tear and easily damaged by spillages. Linen and cotton rugs can age quite quickly when compared with other materials. Plant based materials are usually the most affordable.
A popular choice for Persian and oriental rugs is wool. Wool is a durable material and fairly resistant to stains and wear and tear. Whilst it may not be the cheapest of materials, it will earn its worth in its ability to stand up to the test of time and does provide a softer, more comfortable feel underfoot.
Silk is an expensive choice for what is a delicate material but has a wonderful lustre and a soft feel underfoot. Upscale rugs can be 100% silk whilst others can combine silk with wool for different effects. Whilst this might make for an interesting rug, problems can arise when a spillage occurs. Silk cannot take water whereas wool requires water to be cleaned.
WHAT TO PUT UNDER YOUR RUG?
Whilst it can be tempting immediately lay a recently purchased rug where it will live, it is worth taking some time and getting a nonslip rug pad to place underneath. The pad should be cut to size about an inch smaller than the rug and will stop the rug from sliding around on the floor. Other added bonus of the nonslip page would be that it adds another soft layer underfoot and will make the rug feel more comfortable an the friction between rug and pad will stop the rug fibres from stretching and folding which could make the rug fold over and appear bumpy.
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