I am in the market for a rug in our living room. And by ‘in the market’ I basically mean, I need to buy one now.
I am tired of cold hardwood floors everywhere, and so are the fur babies. Poor Barkley and Pablo only ever lay down on the little rug by the front door or the small remaining carpet patch in the extra bedroom. We miss them when we’re in the living room taking a work break. So, rug buying time it is! The problem is, I don’t know where to start…
Rugs are an investment two ways. First, the financial commitment shouldn’t be overlooked. Rugs aren’t cheap. I heard one interior designer say that it should cost about 25% more than the couch. Ah! Second, the design commitment is huge. Aside from paint color, the rug is the next largest color/design element in the room. At this point I have selected paint colors, furniture and layout, but I haven’t yet gotten into the details, designs and patterns. My rug choice will be the first step.
So, let’s get started…
- Material: Sisal, jute and grass rugs often cost less, but are difficult to clean and don’t last as long. Wool has the capacity to develop its own patina through exposure to light, air and feet walking on it. Dhurries and kilims are flat-woven wool and cotton rugs that are often reversible. They typically have bright colors and graphic patterns, tend to be durable, and are easy to clean.
- Size: Choose a rug that is two feet shorter than the smallest wall in the room. Our room is 13’x12′ so I shouldn’t pick a rug that is any larger than 10′ wide. Measure the size of your seating area before shopping and get the closest size up from that. If your sofa is backed up against the wall you can have a smaller rug that floats in front of all the furniture – you don’t need to waste the rug real estate under the sofa if you can’t even see that its there. But, if your furniture is floating, get a larger rug or else it will make the room look smaller, chopped up and totally out of proportion. One of the main functions of a rug is to pull the room together, not chop it up.
- Clearance: Make sure that your rug is has at least 6-10″ of material sticking out on either side of the sofa. This is crucial. If the width of the rug is the same as the width of the sofa then it will look too small and create a bowling alley effect.
- Furniture Legs: Be Consistent! Some designers feel that all legs on the carpet is the only way to go. Others think that no legs should be on, and others still say you can have the front two legs on, but don’t need the back two. The point is – there isn’t a hard and fast rule, just be sure you’re consistent throughout the room.
- Color & Pattern: A neutral rug forms a solid foundation when you want to layer on rich textures, patterns or colors. Think of it as the canvas for the rest of your room. If your furniture is a solid color or neutral, try a patterned rug. For foolproof color coordination, match the secondary color in the rug to your sofa or key furniture. A monochromatic rug complements patterned furniture by grounding it in a primary palette. In a living room, try matching the rug to the secondary color in a patterned sofa.
- Rug Pad: Don’t forget the rug pad underneath. Along with preventing your rug from slipping all over the place (which it will!) a pad will add another layer of comfort and help protect it for years. Don’t forget this important element when forming your budget.
For my personal rug selection, I’m torn. I don’t want a sisal rug, as I’m pretty sure I will have one in the entry hallway. Right now I’m leaning towards wool. A good size for me would be 8×10, or 7×9 if I can find one. Color and pattern is where I’m running into way too many options! So far my furniture is dark brown leather and a deep blue linen, so I want something a little lighter. But not too light, as I don’t want it to get dirty too easily. Also, I’d like to bring in some gray, if possible. After spending some time looking around, I’ve found a few I really like and I think will work well in that room.