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8 area rug dos and dont’s everyone should follow

Regardless of the type of flooring you have in your home, a good area rug or two can really bring the space together. Area rugs are one of the easiest ways to you add a touch of your personal style to a room, with thousands of options to choose from that vary in size, texture, color, and pattern. With all of these options available, it can be difficult to know how to pick the best one for your room. If you’re looking for area rug inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to find out more about the ins and outs of adding one to your home.

Do: Extend rugs under furniture

An area should be an accent and does not need to cover the entire floor. Rather, it should anchor furniture in the room and draw the eye to this statement piece. To make sure your area rug doesn’t overwhelm the space, be sure to measure the entire area, including the portion of the room that the furniture takes up.

For smaller pieces like chairs and coffee tables, the area rug should encapsulate all the furniture in the living room. If you have larger pieces like sectional couches, keep the front legs of sizeable, upholstered furniture on the rug and the back legs off. Either way, at least a portion of your furniture should come in contact with the rug.

Don’t: Go too small

The most common mistake people make when choosing an area rug is selecting rugs that are too small. Rugs are expensive, and the larger they are, the pricier they are, so it makes sense budget-wise to choose smaller, less expensive rugs. However, a small area rug can be pointless, as it breaks up the flow of a room instead of pulling it together. In the dining room, the rug should be big enough for the table and chairs (even when pushed out) to fit.

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Do: Be proportionate

Not all home design requires symmetry, but for area rugs, you should have the same amount of floor space as a margin on all sides, ideally between 18 and 24 inches. Depending on the size of the room, however, you can go smaller or larger. Simply put, use your best judgment to determine what best balances the space.

Don’t: Go too small in the bedroom

In the bedroom, even a carpeted one, a cozy area rug provides a warm place to put your feet when you roll out of bed and gives the entire space more visual interest. To eliminate the guesswork, measure your bed before rug shopping. Make sure the rug is large enough to extend at least 12 inches from the frame of a twin or double bed and 18 inches from that of a king or queen. When in doubt, it’s always better to go too large than too small.

Do: Cover high-traffic areas

When placing area rugs, be sure to cover high-traffic areas entirely. When people walk around your house, there shouldn’t be any main areas in which one foot is on and the other is off the rug. Not only will this cause the floor and rug to wear in an unusual pattern, but it’s also uncomfortable and awkward. Don’t worry about your wearing out your rug by placing it in the oft-tread areas. New runners are cheaper than new flooring.

Don’t be afraid to be bold

No matter your style, no color or pattern is too bold or bright when it comes to area rugs. These rugs are notoriously intricate, colorful, and textural because their purpose is to inject a little bit of personality into a room without having to redecorate. If the color or print doesn’t suit your fancy after a few years, you can always replace it. Though they are fairly expensive, you can find more affordable options on overstock websites or at annual sales.

Do: Know how to care for it

Since rugs are so expensive, keeping them clean and protected is crucial. Read the cleaning instructions on any rug before you bring it home. Higher-end rugs are often designed to withstand wear and moisture and can handle most carpet cleaners well. Other inexpensive fabrics cannot withstand significant wear and tear, so they will need to be replaced more often.

Don’t place your best rugs in harm’s way

While it is tempting to put your best pieces on display, putting your most expensive rug in a high-traffic area means you may be setting your favorite rug up for early retirement. For more artistic, luxurious pieces, consider keeping them in a formal living room or another area where the risk of spills and foot traffic is lower.

Area rugs can warm up a room, both literally and figuratively, by adding color and improving the flow throughout the home. With these tips and tricks, you can make shopping for this statement piece a breeze.

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Kelly Kaliszewski
Kelly's work has appeared in blogs and on websites. When she's not writing, she is playing with her two dogs, cooking, or…
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