So, here’s the thing. Decorating with rugs is definitely an art, and not a science. No hard and fast rug rules have been handed down from on high by the home décor gods. And while there may have been stricter guidelines for area rugs in the past, in a world where white after Labor Day is perfectly acceptable, so is an eclectic style at home, where pieces don’t necessarily all have to match, and items from opposite ends of the design spectrum can work surprisingly well together.
In fact, sometimes, such contrasts can make for a much richer and more interesting living space. But you also don’t want to overdo it. If every single piece in a room is marching to the beat of its own very distinctive – and very loud – drum, you’re bound to get a headache just looking at it.
The trick is finding the balance that fits your personal style best. But getting started can be daunting, what with the plethora of rug choices available, and the myriad different possibilities for using them in your home. So we’ve come up with a few tips to help guide you in your decision-making process.
You don’t have to worry about perfectly matching the color of your rug to the color of your furniture or walls – unless you want to, of course. But you can also use a rug to add a splash of color to an otherwise sedate room.
An easy way to find an area rug that will complement a room’s décor is to look for one that has at least one color that does coordinate with some other design element in the room. Even better if it has one color that goes with the couch, for example, and another that matches the curtains, and still another that coordinates with the walls. Area rugs are ideal for pulling together an eclectic room in this way.
Should you go for contemporary or traditional? Solid colors or patterns? Unique materials or more conventional ones? A bold geometric pattern can look jarring in a very traditionally decorated room, just as a floral Oriental rug can look out of place in a sleek, modern room. But most homes don’t follow such strict décor delineations, making it much easier to mix and match.
A few things to keep in mind? Patterns hide dirt and wear better than solid colors, so if the rug will be placed in a high-traffic area, a pattern might be your best choice. And geometric designs draw less attention to themselves than rugs with a central medallion, so if you want something other than the rug to be the focal point of your room, such as a fireplace, a contemporary rug might be the way to go.
Rug Size and Shape
A general rule of thumb in choosing the size of your area rug is to make it slightly smaller than the area covered by your furniture, to allow for circulation around the space. The shape of your rug should mirror the shape of the room – for example, a long, narrow room with a long, narrow rug – or the shape of the furniture it’s framing – for example, a round rug underneath a round table. But as always, don’t be afraid to experiment with different shapes and sizes, regardless of conventions.