Area Rug Buyers Guide – Size & Placement
When you plan to include an area rug in your decorating scheme, one of the first questions you should ask yourself is “What size?” Constance McGlynn is an interior designer with much experience working with oriental rugs, and offers a few guidelines in helping to match the size of a rug to the size and use of a room.
Living Rooms and Family Rooms
If you are planning on one large rug, look for a rug that will leave a balanced, symmetrical border of flooring on all four-sides. Rooms and rugs being what they are, however, mean that you may not be able to match a rug to a room so perfectly that all four borders are even; instead, position the rug so opposite borders are equal. In any event, a rug should not about the baseboard molding.
For a more traditional or formal scheme, a central medallion in the rug will help define the center of the room around which you begin to group furnishings. Keep an eye open for architectural details as well; a fireplace, for example, also tends to focus a room. A rug (especially one with a medallion) may look best when you keep in mind the overall symmetry of the room.
If, on the other hand, a room does not have a natural or well-defined center, you might try a rug with an overall repeat pattern. A rug such as a Bokhara, Serebend, or Herati tends to be symmetrically neutral.
A somewhat more adventurous approach is to use more than one rug in the same room. Doing so starts to define areas within a room, separating a group sitting area, for example, from a reading chair and lamp. Don’t divide a room in half with two equal-sized rugs; a large rug and a smaller one makes for a better contrast. Also, designs and colors needn’t “match.” Rugs should complement each other-vary the scale of the pattern and the type of design.
When arranging furniture, it is general practice to place the front legs on the rug (don’t forget to use adequate protectors under heavy furniture to protect the rug!) and the back legs on the flooring. The primary concern, however, is not whether the furniture is on the rug or off-as long as the uncovered spaces on the floor are balanced, the rug is right for the room.
The natural durability of well-made rugs makes them an ideal choice for dining rooms. The rug should be of adequate size to move chairs away from the table without falling off the rug. In most cases, an eight-foot-wide rug will be adequate. A rule of thumb is to measure your table, and add two feet to all four sides. The resulting dimensions will be your minimum rug size.
Surrounding furniture in the dining room (breakfronts, serving stands, China closets) should be on the floor, not on the rug.
Few things are nicer than stepping out of bed directly onto a plush rug! In addition to the wonderful tactile experience, a rug in the bedroom also muffles sound. A bedroom is a restful place, and an area rug helps keep it quiet and comfortable.
Many people are reluctant to cover a rug’s design with something as large as a bed. Most oriental rugs are symmetrical, however, and if the rug is of adequate size your eye will “fill in” the missing pattern.
Kitchens, and Other High-traffic Areas
Remember that your area rug is virtually indestructible. Professional designers are increasingly calling for rug in kitchens, active family rooms, hallways and foyers. Younger couples with small children, especially, are using area rugs for just this reason. Few types of floor covering can withstand the wear and tear that comes with a growing family as well as a quality rug.
The sturdy construction and all-wool pile of an area rug means you need not be overly concerned about the rug wearing thin, or becoming stained and discolored over time.
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