Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of U.S. homeowners have rugs in their homes. That’s no surprise since area rugs can change a room from cold and unfinished to warm and stylishly complete. Area rugs have many functions. They can make a room appear larger, create an intimate seating area, keep feet warm on hard surface floors, minimize noise levels, complete a design scheme as well as many other functions. It is hard to set “rules” for area rug sizes since there are no standard room sizes with exact furniture placement. Use the advice below as a general guideline to get you started. The final decision should be based on how the room looks and feels when the rug is put into place.
Choosing the right pattern can be as important as choosing the right size. If you have a solid color sofa, painted walls rather than patterned wallpaper and minimal patterns in the room, a patterned area rug can tie all of the other colors in the room together giving you a whole new look for the room. If your room has patterned walls, patterned upholstery and other focal points, but the floors still need warmth, an area rug with a less detailed pattern or even a solid rug with a border might be the best choice.
How do you choose the right size to achieve the look you want?
Take into consideration the edges and corners of the area rug being a trip hazard.
The proper type of rug pad should always be used depending on the type of flooring under the rug. Failure to use the proper type of rug padding can do permanent damage to the floors because the backing can scratch the floors. Choosing the right type of rug pad, whether it be on top of wood, tile or carpet will be safer for your floors and keep your area rug from “walking” or “crawling”. Also, be sure that your rug is properly secured to the floor so that no one trips over the rug. Rug pad also helps the rug wear better, absorb the impact of body weight and noise and make vacuuming easier.
- Rugs come with and without fringes. This is personal preference, depending if the option is offered for the rug. There are different styles and lengths of fringe for area rugs ranging from short (that stays in place) to long (that doesn’t always stay perfectly in place). Care should be taken when vacuuming an area rug with fringe.
- Area rugs should be rotated at least once a year if the floors underneath are subject to fading. This will ensure even aging of the floors under the rug.
Under the coffee table – typically a 4×6 or 6×9 area rug will work best here. This application will work best if your area rug is going over carpet or is being used to bring a conversation area in closer for a more intimate feel. The entire coffee table should fit on the area rug and be as close to the same length as the furniture as possible.
Covering most of the floor – if you have a large room with hard surface floors and are trying to warm the entire room or address acoustic issues, an oversized area rug might be the best solution. If the seating pieces are positioned comfortably in the center of the room and a walk way is desired around the perimeter of the room be sure that all of the furniture fits on the area rug.
It is optional if you want the back feet of the sofa on the area rug. All 4 chair legs of chairs that can be picked up and repositioned should always be on the area rug so that a guest is not unbalanced while seated.
Plan to purchase an area rug that will not only accommodate the size of the table with all of the leaves inserted, but also cover the space that is required when the chairs are pulled out to seat someone. It can be uncomfortable to sit in a chair with the front legs on the rug and the back legs are off the rug, especially if you try to adjust the chair forward. Most dining room tables need an area rug that is at least 8’ wide.
If you do not use the dining room very often and plan to use the leaves even less, you can purchase a smaller rug that accommodates the smallest size of the table without the leaves, but still keep the position of the chairs into consideration.
The size of the room and ratio to the size of the rug is important because if the room is significantly larger than the table and chairs, then you will definitely want a larger rug. If the room is smaller and the table and chairs take up most of the room a rug that is sized for all of the leaves may overwhelm the room.
A simple guideline is to measure the length and the width of the table and add 4’ to each measurement.
One of the benefits of having an area rug in a bedroom with hard surface floors is the warmth of your feet hitting the floor in the morning. In this case, the area rug should cover the area of the bed as well as the nightstands. This should give your feet plenty of landing room while keeping the nightstands level.
Another opinion is that the rug should extend 18″ past the edge of the bed for a king or queen size bed and 12″ for a full or twin size bed. The rug can certainly extend more, but should not be less than these guidelines. Area rugs can also be used in the sitting area of a bedroom to create a cozy space. Another option is to “scatter rugs” throughout the room. One could be placed in the seating area and another at the foot of the bed.
- Area rugs can make a hallway quieter and warmer. They should cover as much of the length of the hallway without intruding into the traffic area.
- The rug should be contained in the hallway and not intrude into the next room. You don’t want to find yourself partly on and partly off an area rug in a room.
- This can be a great area to choose a colorful patterned rug because it will do a better job of hiding dirt and traffic, it can give life to an area that typically doesn’t have a lot of color or pattern and can set the tone/color palette for the rooms off the hallway.
A general consideration is to leave a minimum of 18″-24″ of space from the area rug to the wall. This is helpful especially when trying to place an area rug in an entry way. For small foyers, a smaller amount of space can be considered, for example 8″.
Walk off mats should be placed outside. The interior rug should be for decorative purposes and secondary to the exterior rug for catching dirt.
Don’t forget about round rugs in the entry. Like a round eating table, a round rug can be a very inviting first impression.
Regular Maintenance and Care Suggestions
The first thing we recommend is that you purchase a pad to put underneath your rug. This will keep your rug from sliding around, which can cause premature wear, and will help retain its original appearance longer.
Second, rotate your rug periodically. Over the years, set traffic or sunlight patterns can cause fading or uneven wear on a rug that isn’t occasionally rotated.
Vacuuming is the best way to remove every-day dirt and dust. (Special care should be taken in the fringe area as vacuuming with a beater bar can catch and pull the fringe, causing separation.) In the first year after bringing home your new rug, we recommend vacuuming at least two or three times a week to remove the excess fuzz that accumulates on the rug surface. This fuzzing is perfectly normal and in no way shortens the life of the rug. It is merely the result of loose fibers created during the weaving process.
After the first year, how often you should vacuum depends on how much traffic there is over the rug. In highly traveled areas, you may need to vacuum as often as once a day to keep soil from accumulating.
Immediate Action on Spills
Natural wool fiber sheds liquid spills, so quick action offers the chance of preventing a stain. The following action will help you prevent stains from setting in.
- Never rub a spill. You will only force the spill deeper into the fibers and possibly ruin the nap of your carpet.
- Except for latex paint spills, remove any solids using a spoon or blunt knife. Work from the edge of the stain inward, scraping in the direction of the pile whenever possible. Latex paint, which solidifies on rubbing, should be rinsed with large amounts of water, then gently blotted with white paper towels or napkins.
- Press absorbent white paper (paper towels, tissue, napkins, etc.) gently on the stain and repeat until as much moisture as possible is absorbed.
- Try to remove any residual stain with a little lukewarm (not hot) water containing a small amount of carpet shampoo or mild dish-washing liquid and pure white vinegar.
- If water fails, the next step is solvent. *Before attempting to clean, always test the effect of the solvent by applying a few drops to an unseen area of the rug, then blotting with a clean white tissue or paper towel. Any solvent must be used sparingly, and according to manufacturer’s suggestions.
- Apply the solvent directly on the stain and work gently with a spoon handle. Blot out quickly and gently with absorbent white paper until as much moisture as possible is absorbed. Repeat the process until the stain is removed, never over wetting the stain. This can cause rings on your rug, and some solvents can damage the latex-coated backings.
- If it is not possible to use solvent, greasy stains may be removed by placing an absorbent white paper on the stain and ironing the paper for a few seconds. This will soften the grease, which is then absorbed by the paper.
- Never walk on a moist area of your rug, as this can distort the pile. A hairdryer can be used to accelerate drying of moist spots
- Always Check the solvent manufacturer’s label for possible toxicity and hazards.
Your floors will usually be the foundation for your design. An authentic hand made area rug can visually integrate or harmonize diverse elements in any decor or can re-energize a room.