Area Rugs Buying Guide
Want to redecorate but don't know where to start? Work from the ground up by adding a new area rug to your room. Whether you're looking for a traditional Persian rug or a modern carpet runner, we've got you covered. We'll even remind you to buy the rug pad.
How Much Rug Do You Need?
Measure the space where your rug will be. This will help you avoid buying an area rug that's too big or too small. Most rugs come in multiple sizes, but it's no use falling in love with one only to find out it doesn't come in the size you need.
Tip: A good rule of thumb is to leave at least 8 inches of floor exposed around the perimeter of your area rug.
Area Rug Size
To determine the size of the area rug you need, try laying out a bed sheet to get an idea of the amount of floor space you want your rug to cover. Measure the area covered by the sheet and use those measurements as a rough estimate for your area rug.
What Is Pile Height & Why is it Important?
A rug can have a variety of pile heights. Pile heights can vary, anywhere from 1/4-inch for flat woven area rugs, to 1/2-in. for medium pile rugs. High pile or shag area rugs tend to be ¾ in. or longer. Whether it's a short pile or high, it all refers to the thickness of a rug measured in length from the backing to the surface.
A key rule to follow is that high traffic areas in your home can benefit from a rug with some density. Short-pile rugs, on the other hand, are easier to maintain and will generally last longer. If you use a rug underneath your furniture, be aware that high-pile rugs can be vulnerable to indentations and marks from table legs or chairs.
Note: Be careful in cleaning your rug, especially ones with a higher pile height such as shag rugs. The fibres may get caught in your vacuum's rotating barrel, so it is best to either turn that off or use an attachment without one.
How To Decorate With Area Rugs
- Colours in your area rug don't have to match the colours in the room but at least one shade should coordinate.
- Lighter-coloured rugs make a room seem more spacious.
- Darker colours in the rug bring a cozy atmosphere to a room.
Take into account patterns on the furniture and walls in your room, so they don't compete with the rug. If you have furniture or wallpaper with an ornate pattern, choose a subtler pattern for the area rug. If the walls and upholstery are fairly subdued, you can try a busier pattern to add more interest to the room.
If your area rug will serve as the visual focal point of the room, choose one designed with a central medallion. The motif will catch the eye and draw it to that part of the room. However, if there's another obvious central point, for example a fireplace, go with a more repetitive pattern.
How to Place an Area Rug in a Room
Learning the Lingo
Here are some terms to eliminate confusion from your shopping trip, so you can focus on what's pretty:
- Hand-carved: Using hand shears, the weaver cuts a design into the rug. The carving and sculpturing give the rug a distinctive and unique look.
- Hand-hooked: The weaver pushes a hooking tool through the foundation cloth to the front of the rug and then pulls the yarn to the back, leaving a loop on the surface.
- Hand-knotted: Each knot is individually tied by hand. These knots are single strands of yarn that have been looped around two adjacent warp threads.
- Hand-tufted: An inked-on foundation cloth is stretched over a loom. Then a manually-operated hand-tufting gun pushes the yarn through the back of the cloth. When the rug is taken off the loom, a scrim and layer of latex is placed on the back. A backcloth is then sewed on to the latex and scrim to protect your floors.
- Heat set: This is a process polypropylene goes through to put a twist in the yarn. When the yarn is set with heat, it has a wool-like appearance.
- Line count: One indicator of rug quality is the number of knots or stitches per square inch. When comparing the line count number of different rugs, it's important to remember that this number may be calculated differently, depending on how and where the rug was made.
- Pile: This is the surface yarn that makes up the face of the rug.
- Stitches/needle count: The number of loops of yarn is known as the stitch or needle count. The higher the stitch or needle count, the denser the rug. Higher-density rugs last longer and wear better than more loosely woven constructions.
- Wilton loom: These rugs bear a close resemblance to hand-knotted rugs but are machine made. The pile is woven between two backings and then split down the middle so you get two separate rugs
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