Decorating & Design - Design Lesson

Design lesson: Choose an area rug

Add style and comfort to your home with the perfect finishing touch: an area rug.

Whether it's a hand-woven Oriental, a delicate French needlepoint or a modern manufactured design, nothing underscores a beautiful decor like a complementary area rug. But how do you decide what style, pattern or size is right for a room? The following design tips will help you select that perfect finishing touch – a rug that adds both style and comfort to your home.

Practical beauty
Most rooms benefit greatly from the addition of an area rug. Besides providing comfort underfoot, they offer inspiration for colour schemes and hide unsightly flooring, such as worn hardwood or carpeting. Designs range from more traditional Persians and French needlepoints to bold modern art rugs that come in almost every colour. Other practical benefits: rugs dampen noise and can easily be moved from room to room or house to house.

Material and pattern
Where a rug is placed will influence your choice of material and pattern. For instance, before putting a rug under furniture, consider whether or not it's suitable. A needlepoint rug, for example, should not be used under a dining table, where the movement of chair legs could damage it. Instead, choose a hand-knotted Persian for its durability; its intricate pattern will also camouflage stains.

When choosing a pattern, consider what works best with your decor. For example, a rug with a central-medallion design works well in an open-seating arrangement or centred under furniture, such as a glass table, where the design will still be visible. In rooms with awkward proportions, a rug with an overall pattern works best because it distracts attention from problem areas.

Pattern and colour can also create useful design illusions. For example, a rug with a horizontal-stripe pattern makes a narrow space look wider, while a darkly coloured rug anchors furnishings in a room with a pale monochromatic scheme or minimalist look, and provides a focal point for the room.

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