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How To Choose The Perfect Rug For Your Living Room

How To Choose The Perfect Rug For Your Living Room

Finding the right rug is not as straightforward as it might seem

Linda Holmes
By Linda Holmes, Interiors Director

Living room rugs come in a smorgasbord of colour, shapes and sizes. There are those whose purpose is purely one of aesthetics, enhancing a tone in your room’s palette or exaggerating texture so that your scheme feels richer. And there are others who exist to perform a function.

Knowing which is the perfect rug for you and your home is not as straightforward as it might seem. Discover our five top tips to make this process much simplier.

How To Choose The Perfect Rug For Your Living Room _ Bailey London _ Grey Living Room _ Read more in the Style Guide
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1. Consider the function of the rug in your living room

When contemplating rug ideas, a helpful place to begin is whether your rug has a clearly defined function as this will inform the scale of your rug, the look of it and the feel. For instance, you might ask yourself, is my room appearing flat? In which case, your rug’s primary role may be to introduce texture in a bigger way.

Shaggy rugs for a living room, be they looped pile, fluffy sheepskins or luxuriously dense, long pile designs will, in the blink of an eye, make your room feel much more interesting and varied.

Or, you may decide your rug is to serve as your key provider of pattern. If your walls are painted in a smooth, consistent manner and your upholstery is in a plain fabric, then a rug offers you the opportunity to invite in any sort of pattern. Think of it as a blank canvas in your living room, waiting to be filled with graphic, contemporary shapes, elaborate damask swirls, or even a majestic Persian-style weave.

Another function that a rug may fulfil is one of softness. Hardwood flooring instead of carpets, shutters instead of curtains, sculptures over artwork, and sharp-lined furniture over rounded counters can all combine to imbue a level of coldness. Adding a textile to the floor counteracts this. Soft rugs or thick rugs aren’t the only option here. Even thin or coarse jute rugs will achieve the same counterbalancing effect.

How To Choose The Perfect Rug For Your Living Room _ Caballero _ Read more in the Style Guide
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2. Choose the right size living room rug

Knowing the right rug size for your living room can be difficult too. Not least because you want to be sure the proportions will be in balance with your room’s dimensions and furniture choices, but because it can take time to find the rug that you love. And when you do, and it differs from the size of rug you had envisioned, what do you do?

The function of your rug is one of the strongest dictators of your rug’s size. For example, if yours is an area rug – one that defines a clearly marked zone, picture-framing your seating section and drawing attention to it – then you will know that the size needs to be large enough to cover the footprint of your sofa and armchair arrangement. Anything smaller, and it won’t achieve its intention.

You may even have an existing rug in your living room and wish to bring in a second. This too can bear influence on the size of the newcomer rug, unless the bohemian, overlapping rug approach appeals.

Ultimately, in order to determine the size of your rug, first define its function and then practice how to place a rug in a living room by mapping out the space it would take up. You can do this by drawing to scale your room’s floorplan and furniture. Then make a marker for the rug, again to scale, and try it on the floorplan to see how it fits.

If you find a rug that you love, but its dimensions are a touch smaller or larger than you felt would suit your plan, be ready to be flexible – a few centimetres difference needn’t be a make or break scenario. This technique will help you to understand whether it is or isn’t as you’ll be able to see exactly how it would fit in relation to the other furniture in your room.

How To Choose The Perfect Rug For Your Living Room _ Finchatton _ Read more in the Style Guide
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3. Find a shape of rug that matches your living room style

Size and function considered, another factor to deliberate is the shape of your rug. This aspect is generally somewhat easier to settle on.

Sometimes people have a strong leaning towards one shape over another – square or circular or rectangular. If you are open to both straight-lined and round living room rugs, then be mindful of the style of your living room as this can guide you to the right choice.

A sleek, contemporary living room might struggle to absorb a circular rug as the contrast is too strong. Follow the lines of your furniture here and echo these in your choice of rug.

If your furniture is of softer form, a rectangular rug can still work, and choosing one with motifs woven in, such as quatrefoils, interlocking circles, or even animal print will bring in those softer shapes that will complement your furniture.

Of course there are other shapes of rug, such as hexagonal and triangle. These more abstract, unconventional forms however are much less seen, but do have a space in certain parts of the home, such as a children’s bedroom where their unusual shape feels playful or to accent smaller aspects of a room, such as beneath a occasional table to which you want to draw attention.

How To Choose The Perfect Rug For Your Living Room _ Rene Dekker _ Read more in the Style Guide
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4. Don’t be afraid of colour and patterns

Front room rugs are one of the safest places to play with colour and pattern. In the same way that cushions allow you to incorporate smaller, more easily digestible pockets of pattern, rugs, being placed on the floor and therefore not in direct eyesight, provide a subtle domain for being bold.

Remember that often, furniture may be covering parts of the rug, so it may not be seen in its entirety – something that makes splashes of colour or distinct pattern a less scary thought. Equally, forget not that the two don’t go hand in hand. Pattern can exist with the absence of colour. Pattern doesn’t have to be noisy to be heard.

When decorating, it is said that a ceiling should be viewed as another of your walls rather than being left white and forgotten. And with the floor, see it as yet another area to decorate and explore.

Rugs are in effect a piece of art for your floor, and what is art if it isn’t a place for colour and expressions of print, pattern and creativity? Apply this mindset, and modern rugs for living rooms suddenly become pieces of contemporary art and richly coloured and patterned traditional rugs a piece of glorious tapestry.

How To Choose The Perfect Rug For Your Living Room _ Bailey London _ Read more in the Style Guide
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5. Choose a rug texture that complements your living room furniture

The notion of contrast is one of the pillars of interior design. Points of difference in a room surprise and delight, they give your scheme pace and they act as a foil for one another. This is entirely the case with lounge rugs and how their texture should work in conjunction with the furniture occupying your space.

Is yours a sitting room of predominantly smooth, polished wood, mirrored surfaces and lustrous silk trimmings? If so, then a fluffy rug for your living room will interrupt this consistency, breaking it up with much-needed textural difference. After all, they do say to take the rough with the smooth.

Header Image Credit: Elicyon

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