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How to choose a rug

Whether moving into a new home, re-decorating an existing property or just thinking about making a change to a room, the rug will play a huge part in the look and feel of any space.

Here are my tips for finding the perfect piece.

1. Start at the beginning

It is best to try and select a rug at early as possible in the design process of any room: rugs always occupy the key area of any space, so it’s easier to build around that focal point.

If you are at the end of your project and struggling to find something don’t despair – it is possible to have a rug made to fit a custom size and colour.

2. Size matters

Getting the size of the rug right is key and there are some general rules for each room of the house:

Living rooms

For living areas it’s often the case that larger is better: sitting all of your furniture on the rug will make the area feel bigger and more luxurious. 

Smaller decorative pieces should be fitted at the foot of seating furniture, making sure your feet are on the rug when you sit down.

The dimensions of the rug should be also relative to the size of the room so there’s nothing wrong with some of the furniture being half-on.

Dining rooms

The rug should be in proportion to the table: measure an extra 60cm from the edge of the table top on each side to make sure there is sufficient space to pull out a chair and sit down without the back legs coming off the rug. 


 

Bedrooms

Your feet should land on the rug when you get out of bed: the rug can either go across the bed at the foot of the bedside tables as below 

 

 

Or along the bed and under the bedside tables.

3. Choosing a design

Now that you’ve sorted out the size comes the exciting bit. With such a huge array of patterns, colours and styles out there it’s best to trust your instinct and go for something that really appeals to you. Remember that out of all the things you buy for a space, the rug is likely to be the piece that you will own the longest.

The design and feel of the rug should vary depending on the type of room. For living rooms choose a rug that reflects your personality: are you a fan of colour and geometric patterns, or do you prefer abstract or textural pieces? For dining areas, places of enjoyment and passion you can get adventurous with style and colour; borders also work well to frame a table. For bedrooms and media/cinema rooms consider plain and textural pieces which have a calming and relaxing effect.

Don’t be afraid of colour: this can bring something new and exciting to the interior.


You can also go beyond the catalogue and have something designed especially for you in custom pattern, size and colours. In all cases follow your heart. 

4. A word on materials

Rugs have traditionally been made with natural fibres such as wool, silk and cotton. Wool is my most recommended material due to its durability; silk is beautiful but beware of fading in areas which receive strong sunlight.

There is also a raft of synthetic fibres such as art silk, viscose and nylon which can create depth and deliver a lovely sheen to rugs. They do offer cost-effective alternatives to wool and silk but are sometimes not as durable or easy to clean as natural fibres, worth considering for high traffic areas or if you have young children, cats or dogs.

5. Check for responsible sourcing

It’s so important to know that your rug has been made in the right conditions - ask the supplier about their fair-trade practices or an accreditation with an organisation such as GoodWeave.

Olly Adam is the director of The Green Room, distributor for The Rug Company in Australia. 

To contact Olly email olly@thegreenroom.com.au or call +61 (0)450 077 139.

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