Material is an important decision since it plays a major role in the rug’s durability, stain resistance, look, feel, and cost. Please see our section on area rug materials for more information on the most common natural and synthetic fibers used in today's area rugs; with that information in mind, consider the following questions:
- Will my new area rug be exposed to heavy or light traffic?
- Will my new area rug be exposed to substantial amounts of sunlight?
- Will my new area rug experience spills and stains, such as in a dining room, children’s room, entry way, or mud room?
- How much do I want to spend on my new area rug? And, how long do I intend to keep my new area rug for?
The appropriate size depends on the overall size of your room, how much of that area you want to cover, and what effect you are looking to create. If you are looking to cover more of your floor, a general rule is that your area rug should be 1 to 2 feet off the walls. If you want to expose more of, however, then the size of the rug will depend on what effect you are looking to create. For example, you may place a smaller-sized area rug underneath a coffee table or place more than one smaller-sized area rug, either the same or cordinating styles, in a larger room to define separate seating arrangements. Once you have determined the overall size of your room and how much of the floor you want to cover, consider how the area rug will work with your furniture; for example, if your rug is for underneath a coffee table, then all four legs should fit on it, if your rug is for underneath a dining room table, measure the table and then add to each dimension to to accommodate the four legs of the chairs when sitting at the table, or if your rug is for your living or family room, it is okay for larger furniture like your couch to have its front legs on the rug and back legs off, as long as the pieces are still balanced.
There are many styles of area rugs available, including, traditional, transitional, braided, contemporary, floral, southwestern, and shag. The best bet is to choose one that reflects your taste. Also take into consideration your furniture style, the room the rug will be in, and the rug’s purpose; for example, an area rug with a center medallion might not be the best choice for underneath a dining room table as you wont be able to see the medallion.
With today's home's current open floor plans, it is common to use area rugs to visually define the spaces. While it might not be best to mix styles within such areas, using cordinating colors and patterns within styles are a great way to create visual interest match the decor of each area.