Rugs are often the final piece of the puzzle in a room, seamlessly pulling the whole look together at a single stroke. They're more than just another accessory: they're practical, offering both comfort and warmth; they're pieces of art, introducing colour and pattern to your space; and they provide a quick yet dramatic update for your interiors without the need to completely redecorate.
Whether you prefer subdued vintage styles or eye-catching statement designs, here's all you need to know about using rugs around your home.
Because they're not attached to the floor, rugs can be a lot more versatile than carpets. You can use them to disguise old floorboards or even worn-out carpets with minimal effort. If you've moved your furniture around recently and have been left with annoying dents in the carpet, place a rug over the spot and no-one will know.
Scorched carpet in front of an open fire? A rug will hide the mark while protecting your floor from further damage. Cracked tile in the hallway? Rugs or runners are perfect for covering up these little imperfections. Rugs are also easier to clean than carpets, and can be rotated for even wear-and-tear, making them a much more affordable and durable alternative.
As well as hiding less-than-perfect flooring, rugs can be used to draw attention to an important piece of furniture, such as a coffee table, sofa or dining table, or a feature such as a fireplace or a floor-to-ceiling window.
With large statement rugs, the rugs themselves become the focal point. They act as an anchor for the rest of the pieces in the room, highlighting or complementing accent colours or patterns on other soft furnishings to make the room feel unified. Think of a rug as art for your floor. If you're decorating a space from scratch, why not choose a rug as your starting point and then build everything else around it?
The style, size and material of your rug will be heavily influenced by its location in the home, so consider this before you make a purchase. For spaces with frequent footfall such as a living room or hallway, choose a hard-wearing rug made from heavyweight material with a busy pattern in dark colours (so that marks don't show up easily), such as a dhurrie.
For a dining room, a rug with a flatter weave is better so the chair legs don't snag the pile. For a bedroom, pale colours, subtle patterns (such as a deliberately-aged, vintage style) and a deeper pile offer the most warmth and comfort for the space (and your bare feet).
If you have an open plan living and dining space, rugs can be used to great effect to define and separate the room into specific sections.
Bear in mind the rug you select should be large enough to accommodate the furniture that will be placed on top of it (as a rule, rugs under dining tables should still include the chair legs when the chair is pushed out from under the table). A rug that's too small will unbalance the proportions and create the illusion of a much smaller space. If in doubt, always go bigger.
Wooden or laminate floors are a stylish and popular flooring choice, but come the winter, they make rooms feel bare and cold. A rug is an easy and relatively affordable way to add warmth under your feet, and introducing one will instantly make the room feel more inviting.
Old wooden floorboards often have gaps and loose nails, and can creak, so adding a rug can help to block out drafts, prevent your feet from getting hurt, and eliminate unwanted noise. It's equally important to protect the floorboards too, so choose a high-quality rug underlay to go underneath to stop the rug slipping about.
Absolutely. In fact, using a nice, colourful rug as a cover will not only protect your sofa or armchair from dirt and spills (especially important if you have children or pets) and keep the upholstery from wearing out, it can also help you transform the look of your furniture – and your whole room – in an instant.
Rugs are pretty hard-wearing by nature but also take a bit of a pounding over the years, so it's important to take good care of them.
Regular vacuuming or airing outside will help to remove particles of dirt or pet hairs that often can't be seen by the naked eye. Woollen rugs tend to accumulate more dust because of their looser weave and deeper pile, so these need to be vacuumed more frequently than rugs with a tighter, flatter weave – as do rugs that are placed in hallways or busy rooms.
Direct sunlight can cause brightly coloured rugs to fade, so make sure you rotate them more frequently during the summer months. You can even give your rug a bit of a holiday – just move it from the floor to the wall so it's still incorporated into the scheme. Follow these tips and your rug will look pristine for years to come.
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