Rules for Apartment Rugs: How to Choose Carpets That Camouflage or Inspire

area-rugs-area-rug-how-toArea rugs are a quick and easy way to add style and warmth to a room. You can use them to define a seating area, anchor a dining table or serve as the inspiration for your entire room design. Area rugs are also a perfect way to camouflage stained, worn-out, or just plain ugly wall-to-wall carpeting. However, there are thousands of rugs to choose from. How do you make the right choice?

Follow these four easy steps to choose your new rug with confidence:

The size and shape of the area rug will depend on your objective. If you are anchoring a seating area, choose a rectangle that fits the area between the furniture pieces, as shown below. You can extend the rug underneath the front legs of the furniture if sliding is an issue. If the rug is for under your dining table, choose a size four feet larger than the dimensions of the table. Rectangular dining tables get rectangular rugs, but round dining tables can have either round or rectangular rugs. If covering ugly carpeting is your goal, measure the size of your room and subtract two feet.

area rug, traditional area rug
Area rugs are available to suit any style decor. Traditional rugs feature a center medallion with a border or an all-over pattern. Contemporary rugs feature geometric or asymmetrical patterns. Transitional rugs are somewhere in the middle, and make a perfect compromise if roommates have differing tastes. You also have a choices in fibers: Silk and wool area rugs are traditional and tend to be more expensive, while synthetics and naturals (sisal, bamboo, seagrass) are very durable and affordable. Select an area rug that works with your style and budget.

area rug, bamboo area rug, green design
If you are just starting out, an interesting area rug can serve as a great inspiration for your room's decor. If you are adding the rug to an already furnished room, choose a color that works with your furnishings. Don't worry about colors matching perfectly, but they should blend. If your space is small, a light-colored rug will enlarge the area. If your room is large, a darker rug will make the room feel cozier. A rug in contrasting colors makes a bold statement.
area rug, contemporary area rug
An area rug with with a center medallion is best if the rug is to be the focal point of the room. If you already have a focal point such as a fireplace, or you are putting a dining table over it, choose an all-over design. For high traffic areas choose a densely patterned rug to hide the dirt and wear. Be careful if your furniture is upholstered in a patterned fabric. To prevent overwhelming the room with too much pattern I recommend picking a solid or striped rug.

area rug, traditional area rug
Now that you know the kinds of rugs that will fit your space, it's down to choosing what you like.

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