By Kathryn Weber
An area rug is a magician when it comes to instantly pulling a room together with unifying color
If you live in a loft or large, open-concept home, defining your space can be a challenge. Or maybe your apartment and your furniture seem at odds with one another. Fortunately, there's one decorating accent that can unify all these situations -- the humble area rug. But far from being simply something to walk on, area rugs can solve a number of problems and make your rooms look fabulous.
When you have a large open living space, it's easy to feel lost. An area rug under a table or in a seating area instantly defines those two spaces as distinctly different. Better still, an area rug is a magician when it comes to instantly pulling a room together. This versatile accent can make a sitting area cozy in a snap, soften your décor, and even dampen sound, so important if you have tile or wood floors.
One of the most important considerations when placing an area rug is to make sure the corners aren't sticking out in walkways. Otherwise, the rug becomes an area hazard. If you place a rug under your dining table, be sure to find one that extends past the chairs when they're pushed in and when being used. You don't want guests wobbling in their chairs on the edge of the rug.
Area rugs placed on smooth floors, especially small rugs, are often a source of slips and falls. Make sure to use pads, or your area rugs could raise your homeowners' insurance rates! To get more size out of a small rug, move furniture off the rug and place it instead around the edges.
Choosing a rug
If you can find a dealer who'll let you take several rugs home to try, that's your best bet for finding one you'll love that works with your décor. A good rule of thumb for choosing a rug color is to go with a hue that contrasts with your furniture. Dark furniture or floors call for a lighter-colored rug. If a dark rug is selected, the whole area will become heavy, with little distinction between floor and furniture. If your room is small, a light-colored rug will visually open up the space. If you're interested in drawing the eye away from your furniture, select a rug with a bold pattern; it will steal the spotlight.
Consumers today have a variety of rugs to choose from, including many natural fibers like sisal, wool, cowhide and bamboo. Natural fibers wear well and stand up over time, making them good choices for high-traffic areas. Area rugs are even popping up in today's large bathrooms to warm cold floors and keep hairspray and other personal products from building up on tile or stone.
Another option is to create your own rug. Talk to a designer at your local carpet store about making a custom area rug for you. Custom designs come in virtually any material and shape, and are bound professionally.
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