One of the most important considerations when investing in a rug for any space is scale. The size of a rug can create a sense of grounding in a space and define living spaces, it can create zones and add warmth to a home, however, done incorrectly, it can look awkward and uninviting.
So where do you start? It’s an important piece of home decor and it needs to be practical, aesthetically pleasing, affordable and comfortable. Start by creating a vision board on Pinterest of the designs and colours you like, pretty soon you’ll start to see a common ground. Perhaps you’re drawn to naturals, but you have pets, so you might land on a charcoal colour with a subtle pattern. Or you’re minimal at heart and you’re ready to invest in a stunning hand woven loom rug in a light colour. It’s purely personal and something you should have fun with!
If you’re renting it can be an easy way of transforming a space. Rugs not only change a space visually, but they also offer acoustic benefits and insulation as well. The best thing is, you can take it with you wherever you go and it doesn’t require any installation.
The next thing to take into consideration is the fibre composition. Jute and hemp are great at ensuring a long lasting rug and provide a causal or coastal look. Wool is a beautiful natural fibre and is quite good at repelling stains as the lanolin content provides a certain barrier of protection, it’s also hard wearing and can provide a myriad of textures from flat woven to shaggy piles. Cotton or viscose are also commonly used, they can be smooth underfoot and provide a great lustre. Some rugs have a small percentage of polyester, acrylic or PET fibres. These can be good in terms of wear and tear but shouldn’t make up the majority of the fibre content. One of the most luxurious fibres is silk, it demands a high price point and isn’t as hard waring as you’d hope for a piece that pricey.
“For more laid-back, zen environments, there are fantastically beautiful sisals with patterns in them, like herringbones and subtle stripes,” said Richard Mishaan, a New York-based interior designer.
For a dining space, the table and chairs should be on top with some room to push chairs out. You probably won’t want to go white for under a dining table but an area rug certainly can provide an intimate dining environment and strong design statement.
In a bedroom, the rug should be large enough to go under at least a third of the bed with the foot end of the bed overlapping the rug and the head of the bed not on the rug. It should protrude out from the end of the bed as well. Of course, if you don’t have the budget to stretch for a large area rug, consider a smaller landing rug or mat at either side of the bed to get that comfort under foot in the mornings. Play around with pattern and colour as it’s only small and can be more easily swapped.
For a living space, there are many more variables. Typically speaking, the main item of furniture, usually a sofa, should be half on/half off the rug. The front legs should definitely be on the rug rather than having a gap between the rug and the sofa. Try not to have any furniture legs lurking on the edge of the rug, have the leg either on or off and allow at least 20cm or so allowance. A coffee table is traditionally included on the rug, however side tables and occasional chairs can go either way, it just depends on the space.
Don’t forget about the great outdoors. There are some great outdoor options now in synthetic materials like solution-dyed acrylic, polypropylene or PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which are now often so soft and appealing that they can be hard to distinguish from indoor-only materials.
Rugs usually come in standard sizes such as 2 x 3 metres or 3 x 4 metres. 2 x 3 would have to be the most commonly used rug size but that doesn’t mean it’s applicable to every space. Measure up your space explore the scale that might work best for you.