Choosing the Right Area Rug for Your Living Room

Area Rugs are a Great Alternative to Wall-to-Wall Carpet

A Moroccan beni ourain rug defines a modern living room
The Style Files

Wall-to-wall carpet isn’t nearly as popular as it used to be. These days it's been traded out in exchange for area rugs, particularly in the living room.

Area rugs look great and are often more practical than broadloom, but if you're going to use them there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Area Rug Sizes

One of the biggest mistakes people make when decorating living rooms is to use area rugs that are too small (often referred to as postage stamp size).

The standard sizes are 6' x 9', 8' x 10' and 9' x 12'. This is what you'll find in stores but if the sizes don't suit your space you can always have one custom made. Depending on what type of carpet it is, it isn't necessarily that much more expensive to go custom. Whatever you decide keep in mind that there should be approximately 4" to 8" of bare floor around all the sides of the rug.

Color and Pattern

When it comes to choosing an area rug think long and hard about the color and pattern. Choosing a patterned rug can be a great way to add color and interest to a room with neutral furniture and walls. Likewise, a solid rug in a neutral color can be a nice way to soothe an eclectic room. Keep in mind also that a patterned rug will be better for hiding dirt and spills while a solid rug is more likely to show stains.

If you have a colorful room and still want a colorful rug, try to find something that will connect and pull all the colors together.

The idea is to make sure they don't fight each other, otherwise you'll end up with a visually cluttered space.

Remember that the flooring has a huge impact on the overall look of the room, so choose something you can live with and won't tire of quickly.

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Texture

Think about how you want the rug to feel before you make a purchase. Wool rugs can add warmth and softness while natural materials like sisal and jute are a bit rough. Silk is soft and beautiful but also expensive and tough to clean. Take these things into consideration when shopping.

Using More Than One Area Rug

To add a little more interest or define your space a little more try layering area rugs on top of each other.

It can add a little more color and pattern and it's a particularly great trick for seasonal decorating. In the colder months layering rugs can add coziness, then in the summer you can edit them and create a lighter look.

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