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 Choosing The Right Rug

by www.rugsuk.com 

So you’ve decided that you want to buy a rug but you don’t know what sort of rug will work best for you and the environment in which it will be placed, or maybe you know the sort of rug that you would like but you’re having difficulty choosing a design. The following is meant to be a practical guide to help you discover issues that you may or may not have taken into account when choosing a rug.

Space and Environment

Space and environment are key issues to consider when it comes to choosing a rug, have you thought enough about the space that it will be in and the effect that the design you have chosen will have on that space? The likelihood is that it has been thought about but not fully considered.

patterned rug Rugs can either open a space up or make a space seem a lot cosier. Depending on the atmosphere, look and feel that you wish to create, there are several key elements to take into account. 

If you want to create the feeling of spaciousness then light colours and simple patterns are the ways forward. Light colours and simple designs can create an amazing feeling of expansion and really open up a space, however if you are looking to make a space cosier then rugs that have darker colours and more ornate or dense patterns tend to work better.

Featured to below are two great rugs featuring ornate dense patterns for making that space seem cosier. 

patterned rug                                              rug

Most traditional rugs will lend themselves well to this job with their ornate dense patterns however there are also many modern rugs that will effectively make a space cosier. Don't limit yourself to just traditional if it's a modern rug that you would prefer. 

These two rugs are very different but will both have a profound effect on the space and environment in which they are utilised.


Believe it or not size is one of the most fundamental decisions to make when it comes to choosing your rug. The wrong size can make a room look cluttered or far too small. 

Rugs tend to come in standard sizes: three feet by five feet (90cm x 150cm) up to approximately four feet by six feet (120cm x 180cm) 

Medium rugs measuring up to approximately eight feet by five feet (240cm x 150cm) 

Large rugs measuring up to approximately eleven feet (330cm) with anything larger classified as extra large.

Many rugs can be custom made to the size that you require, this is often more expensive and can take a long time but the results can be amazing and in the end provide you with a rug that is the perfect size for the area required. If you see a rug that you like and you require it to made in a custom size then please view the size chart for that collection to see whether or not custom sizes are available. 

floral patterned rug on lounge floor In general, small rugs tend to highlight smaller pieces of furniture say for example a bed or a coffee table whilst larger rugs tend to be for dining rooms, lounge areas and other bigger spaces.

If you prefer to go with one of the standard sizes of rugs but they’re not the actual size that you require it is often better to choose a standard size that is slightly larger than the required size than to choose a size too short. Remember larger rugs can often be tucked under furniture. 

The best way to determine the size of rug that you need before placing an order is to lay out some sheets of newspaper in the area that you would like to place your rug and to stick it down with masking tape. When you are satisfied with the area that the newspaper fills you can record the measurements of the size that looks the best. 

Also bare in mind the area where you will be placing the rug, e.g. if you are placing a rug by a door opening you want the rug to be able to go under the door without it causing an obstruction. There really is nothing worse than buying an expensive rug only to find that it obstructs entrances and exits to a room. 

Another thing to be aware of is to make sure that the corner of a rug doesn’t stick out into the middle of a door opening because they can often cause tripping hazards.

Where is Your Room's Main Focal Point? Furniture, Fireplace or Rug? 

Discovering the focal point of your room to be can be very important when it comes to choosing a rug. Rugs can draw attention to certain areas of a room, compliment existing focal areas in a room or even become a focal point themselves. They are extremely powerful design aids and can be used effectively to attract or detract attention to or from certain areas within a room. 

Furniture as a Focal Point

If, for instance, the furniture and surrounding décor in the room is to be a focal point, then it’s best to choose a rug that is more subtle and subdued with little or no pattern or a rug that compliments the colour of existing furniture.

Soft colours and tones will work best for this with many plain rugs being good choices.

In some cases two or more smaller rugs can work better than one large rug. 

pale sculptured rug on wooden floor

Fireplace as a Focal Point

If the focal point of a room is a fireplace it is usually best to choose a rug that has a subdued all-over pattern or a plain rug that compliments the surroundings so that it does not become a distraction.

Rug as a Focal Point

If the rug that you choose is to be the focal point of the room, then it is best to choose a rug that is quite busy, bright or bold in design/colour, thus attracting attention to it and drawing attention away from the furniture and surrounding décor. Rugs that are to become focal points work best in rooms when the surrounding décor is neutral or soft in colour, thus creating a picture frame so to speak for the rug that becomes the artwork within that frame. 

In general, if two or more items happen to compete for a focal point it can unbalance a room and upset the atmosphere within it. This can be avoided with good planning and placement. As a rule of thumb it is often best to just have one focal point in a room, a rug can be busy or the surroundings can be busy. If everything in the room is busy it tends to create a very restless atmosphere.

Style, Texture and Colour

A rug can really transform a room and can be used instead of redecorating or to replace an old carpet that looks worn. A rug can bring a fresh look to a room or give it a lift. Whatever your rug is for, the thing to remember is that it should always compliment the style and colour scheme of your room. 

For instance, it wouldn’t be advised to place a beautiful traditional style Persian rug with an ornate design, in a room that has been designed to have a modern and contemporary nautical feel to it; whilst at the same time it wouldn’t be advised to place a Navajo rug in a room that is trying to create a Victorian look. Instead it would be advised to choose a rug that reminds you of a seascape for the nautical themed room and a rug with a European floral design that compliments it for the latter. In general, in terms of style and colour scheme the rug that you choose should compliment the surrounding décor or theme of the room otherwise it will look out of place and stick out like a sore thumb.

textured rug on lounge floor In terms of colour, it is advised in general to match up a particular favourite colour in the room for example match the colour of your walls or your curtains. 

There is no need to try and match your rug to every colour in your room or vice versa. A good rule of thumb is that if it’s a room full of colours, choose a neutral colour for your rug and if it is a very neutral room then choose a bright coloured rug. 

Try using solid modern colours to carry painted colour schemes all the way throughout the room. 

If you place a rug in a strategic area of a room that matches a certain wall or ceiling colour it can really set off a room and make your design come together.

Textured rugs can add a certain depth to an otherwise flat room. Many shaggy and textured rugs can create depth where smooth walls meet smooth laminate floors. They can break up the monotony of smoothness in a room, adding depth and interest, giving your room body as well as form.

Wool or Synthetic? 

Regardless of what anybody says, all wool rugs shed. This is because they are from a natural fibre source. Most wool rugs that are new will shed for a while because of the loose fibres, however, some wool rugs have been known to shed for months and even longer. We have a wool rug in our sitting room that has been shedding for well over a year now. For some time we have been concerned that it is just going to disappear into nothing however it doesn't shed half as much now as when we first bought it and it still seems to look just as great.

If a rug that doesn't shed is a huge factor in the rug choosing decision then we would recommend that you do not choose wool. So you may ask why people buy wool rugs if they shed. Well the answer to that is that wool is far more resilient, more durable than synthetic man made fibres and responds better to coloured dyes, i.e. it absorbs and maintains dyes better. Therefore you can often get a wool rug that is years old and still looks as good as new whereas its synthetic counterpart can look old and slightly faded. Wool is also naturally resistant to water, fire and stains as well as being resistant to dust mites. This is a great positive for anybody that has allergies because they don't have their allergy aggravated by dust mites. Also because wool is mainly resistant to fire (not entirely resistant if overexposed) and sparking it makes it an ideal choice for a fireside rug. 

Another major or not so major factor depending upon whether you're shopping on a budget or not is price. Wool is far more expensive than acrylic / man made fibres due to its authenticity and durability. There really isn't too much difference in the look and feel of some synthetic rugs these days. In fact synthetic fibres are that well made now that we sometimes have to really look closely at acrylic to be able to tell that it isn't wool. Wool is, and probably will remain, the most popular choice for a rug due to its traditional heritage and natural existence in a mostly man made world. If you are going to be putting your rug in an area that receives a high amount of traffic we would have to recommend wool due to its durability and natural resistance to stains. 

patterned rug patterned rug on wooden floor

There is no exact science to choosing a rug and we are all different in the sense that we all have different tastes and ideas about what will and won’t work in a room. The above information is a broad view of what is known to work and what is not, as with anything there will always be instances where a rug contradicts the theories above, i.e. an exception to the rules so to speak but this will be rare. 

We hope that you have found the information interesting and that it helps you narrow down the overwhelming choice of rug that you choose. Rugs UK have over thirty years experience in choosing the right rugs for the right people for more information on rugs or to see their current selection visit the website: http://www.rugsuk.com 


How to look after and maintain the life of your rug.




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