Don’t let an area rug be an afterthought.

What’s a major finishing detail in a well-appointed room that often gets overlooked in the planning stages of decorating? Area rugs! Too frequently when we’re pulling together a room, what’s underfoot is seen as merely a practical addition, or an afterthought to the overall plan–without much consideration about its design or function. But a well chosen rug–one that complements and ties together the color palette, and the other design elements in your room–can serve a far larger purpose than it’s usually allotted. In fact, it can do as much as a well-chosen piece of art to tie it all together and to bring punch and cohesion to your plan.

The right rug will serve several purposes:

  • It’s art for the floor Whether it’s a colorful antique Persian style rug, or a more modern abstract-style composition, a rug chosen with this in mind draws the eye and makes a powerful statement.
  • It creates a conversation area in a larger space. An area rug creates a visual boundary that visually ties your furniture grouping together, almost like a room within a room.
  • About that water stain on your hardwood floor… A high-traffic area of your flooring may have lost some of its finish, or a stain or other damage might need to be hidden. An area rug solves the problem without potentially expensive refinishing.
  • Does your room feel a bit chilly? A tile floor, for instance, can be beautiful and durable–but hard on the feet, and cold in the winter months. An area rug warms it up visually and tactilely.
  • Get out of the echo chamber. A room without an area rug can sound like an echo chamber to those in it–and the constant patter of footsteps on hard surfaces can be irritating to whoever is in the room below.

There are a multitude of area rug constructions, patterns, styles, and durability levels to choose from. Some come in standard sizes, and others can be customized. The following factors will contribute to the investment level and longevity of the rug. Consider them when determining your criteria:

  • Is it in a busy spot in your room’s traffic pattern? Will it get a lot of outdoor/indoor traffic, or is it in a room less often passed through? More delicate fibers and lighter colors may soil or show wear if they see a lot of traffic. Make sure you go with a fiber that withstands dirt and stains.
  • Is there direct sunlight? If so, go with a rug fiber that resists fading.
  • Are there kids? Plan ahead for spills by choosing an area rug that allows for quick and easy cleanup.
  • Are there pets? Even the best-behaved pet may have an accident. Choose a rug that’s stain-resistant.
  • Other considerations? If you’re designing a room for elderly or disabled inhabitants, area rugs can present a dangerous tripping hazard, or can hamper the use of walkers and wheelchairs.

Don’t let your area rug be an afterthought. Plan ahead – for size, construction, and color – to get the most out of this very important design element.