The Benefits of Area Rugs

Elegant living room with fireplace
An area rug helps to define a space and anchors the furniture in the room. Hero Images / Getty Images

An area rug is a common addition to a hard surface floor such as hardwood, laminate, or tile. It can even be laid over wall-to-wall carpet. There are numerous reasons why area rugs are so popular, and yet some people may be uncertain as to whether they should cover up their beautiful floors with a rug.

Perhaps the most obvious reason to have an area rug is for the look of it. Area rugs have a unique way of bringing together all of the elements of a room – for example, they can pull together various colors used in the décor.

But the benefits of area rugs extend far beyond style. If you are not sure if an area rug is right for your space, then read on, to learn how area rugs can actually improve the space.

Noise Reduction

An area rug will significantly decrease the noise in your space. Not only is carpet quieter to walk on than a hard surface floor, it also absorbs sound from the air. Do you notice that your room has a slight echo? That is because the hard surface floor does not absorb sound in the same way that carpet does. Lay down an area rug, and listen to the difference.

Comfort

It’s no secret that carpet is a lot softer than hardwood or tile, and most people will agree with the statement that carpet is more comfortable to stand on than is a hard surface floor. Not only does the carpet feel softer to the touch on your skin, but its softness gives it flexibility, which allows the carpet to absorb some of the impacts of your footstep. This literally takes some of the pressure off your body.

Warmth

In addition to being softer, carpet is warmer than hard surface flooring. It has a greater insulating value, especially if it has a pad under the rug. This applies throughout the home but is particularly welcomed in basements, where the floor can be downright cold.

Grounding Aspect

Many people intuitively know that an area rug helps space feel grounded, even if they don’t know how or why. There are actually a couple of reasons for this.

The first is that, when properly placed, an area rug can help anchor the furniture in a room, which helps to create a cozy, intimate space. For example, a living room or family room rug should be large enough that the main pieces of furniture (sofa, loveseat, chair, coffee table) are all sitting on the rug, or at minimum have the front legs on the rug. Without the rug, it can feel as though the furniture is ‘floating’ in the room.

The second reason that area rugs help ground a space is that they provide a resting place for both body and energy. If you subscribe to feng shui or similar beliefs, or even if you just intuitively sense it, an area rug slows down the energy that flows through the home. Energy travels quickly over hard surfaces, and more slowly over soft surfaces. Fast-flowing energy can create feelings of excitability or anxiety, so with nothing to slow down the energy flow, space can feel somewhat chaotic. An area rug introduces a sense of calm into the space by slowing the energy.

Allergies

While it may seem counter-intuitive, carpet can actually have a positive effect on allergens in the home. For years, those with allergies were advised to remove all carpeting from the home, on the basis that carpet traps allergens. Numerous recent studies have shown that carpet is beneficial to allergy sufferers because it traps allergens – thereby keeping them out of the air, where they will be breathed in. If you have no carpet in your home and suffer from allergies or other breathing conditions, you may find that an area rug will help alleviate some of those problems.

Choose the Rug

So, as you can see, there are many advantages to having an area rug, that go beyond appearances. (Although the appearance and style of the space are definitely a big factor!)

If you’ve decided that an area rug makes sense for your space, then check out these tips on choosing the perfect rug.