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How to choose a rug

How to choose a rug

The ceiling is often referred to as the fifth wall in a room but really it should be the floor that gets that title. As the surface that’s always within our eye line, the floor has a big impact on the look and mood of a room. And while it might be a long time since church bells pealed out every time a hand-tufted rug was completed, as was the case in Axminster in the 18th century, the rug you choose today is still important. So here are our tips on choosing the right one for your space.

Light effects

Sunlight streams through windows and falls on the floor, refracting whatever colours it finds onto the walls. So if you have a white-walled room with a blue rug, the walls of the room will have a blue tinge. Bear this in mind when you’re selecting colours. It’s not just about coordinating with the scheme but about the way light will bounce colour around the room.

Size is important

A common mistake is to choose a rug that’s too small for a room. A rug should act as an anchor to furniture rather than floating on its own. Select a rug size that means at least two legs of the sofa, chairs or bed are sitting comfortably on the rug. If you prefer a more expansive look, select a rug that will leave no more than 10–20 inches of bare floor between the edges of the rug and the walls.

Use runners for effect

Runners are useful for visually altering long, narrow spaces – hallways and landings, of course, but also kitchens and larger bathrooms. Depending on the colour and pattern you choose, you can use a runner to brighten, lengthen or widen the area and give an illusion of more space.

Artwork or background texture

A rug can be anything you want it to be: if your scheme is simple, then a patterned rug can act as an artwork for the floor – and is easy enough to switch out should you wish to. Likewise, a room with plenty of pattern will benefit form a neutral textured rug which will connect and calm the scheme down.

Find the right finish

Just as colour will influence the mood of the room, so will your choice of rug texture. Thick rugs have a luxurious feel that’s ideal in bedrooms, while flatter, tighter rugs are durable and easy to keep clean so work well in busier downstairs spaces. Rugs made from plant materials like hemp and sisal can be a little coarse underfoot but great at hiding dirt because they’re rarely a uniform colour (hemp’s our preferred option as it’s that bit softer). Finally, sheepskins are incredibly soft, making them perfect for bedrooms naturally, but also for draping over chairs, benches and footstools. 

A final word

In homes where many of the floors are timber or stone, rugs offer some soft relief as well as being sound absorbing. To make them safe, always use an anti-slip underlay which will not only prevent accidents but also reduce the wear and tear on the rug.

Tags: Interiors