Have you got wooden floors at home? I do and as much as I love them, they are looking a little bare. I know the answer to this is getting a rug or two but I’ve been putting it off for ages as it feels like a big decision and a big commitment. And most of all I’ve been scared of making the wrong choice.
I have engineered wood flooring floor throughout my home as do many of us (does anybody still go for carpet?). So when Direct Wood Flooring asked to partner with me, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to overcome my fears and finally get a rug to enhance my wooden floors.
As beautiful as engineered or hardwood floors are, they do need a rug to fully bring them to life, to enhance them and to add some warmth. Rugs are also super useful in open plan spaces to create zones. And they help bring your furniture together. I’ve know all the benefits of adding rugs to wooden floors for ages but now it’s time to act!
If you too have been putting off buying a rug, then let’s do this together! I’m going to share my top tips on choosing a rug for your living and/or dining space so that there are no regrets and no costly mistakes. These tips are the exact things I’m considering right now while hunting for a rug. I’ve had friends who have experienced huge ‘rug regret’ after spending hundreds and sometimes even thousands. If you do a little research and planning beforehand, there is absolutely no need for rug regret.
How to choose a rug for your living space:
1. Size matters
The most common mistake we make when buying a rug is going for one that is too small. A rug defines a space and brings the furniture together, whether that’s your living area or your dining area. One the biggest reasons that most of us choose small is that rugs can be expensive. But there are some great options for cheaper rugs out there which I’ve mentioned below so always go big. Bigger than you think you need.
As a guideline, for your living room, rugs should be big enough so that at least the front legs of your furniture are on the rug, if your furniture is against a wall. You can go bigger but this is the minimum so that the rug doesn’t look like it’s floating in the middle of a space! If you have furniture pulled away from walls, then ideally the rug should should be big enough so that entire pieces of furniture are on the rug, not just front legs. Similarly for a dining area, the rug should be bigger than the table and large enough so that when chairs are pulled out, they are still on the rug.
If in doubt, use some masking tape to mark off the area and measure accordingly. And always err on the side of bigger rather than smaller.
Style tip: Unless you have a very large open plan area, one big rug to define the living room area is enough. Placing a second large rug under the dining table can be overkill and also you don’t want to cover up nearly all of your wooden floor. The idea of a rug is to add warmth, to define a space, to complement your wooden floors and to bring your furniture together. If you do have a very large open area then go for 2 or even 3 rugs to create zones.
2. Color & pattern
A rug is not a subtle, small piece of ‘furniture’. In other words it will be the biggest thing you see in the room especially a living space and even more so in a small living space. For this reason I personally prefer neutral, natural tones with little or no pattern. I don’t want to see some colourful, dizzying pattern that overpowers the room. Instead I want calm and natural that draws the eye in but doesn’t take over the room.
So when thinking about colour, firstly choose something you won’t tire of quickly. Consider the colours and patterns you already have in your living room – you don’t want clashing colours or clashing patterns (unless you are into really colorful/maximalist interiors but then I’m guessing you won’t be reading this).
Next, use the colour and tones in your wooden flooring as a guide. For e.g. if you have dark wood floors then a contrasting light rug can work well especially if you want to lighten your space. On the flip side, if you’re trying to create a dark and moody look, go for a dark rug on a dark floor. If your wooden floor has yellowy/orangey undertones, a rug with blue tones will not be the ideal choice.
Keep in mind that rugs are not something you replace very often so if you want to add colour to your living room, do it through wall art, cushions and accessories that you can swap out whenever you want a change.
Style tip: If you’re re-doing your whole room, the rug should be one of the first things you choose. That is one piece of advice I wish I had taken on board when I did my living room form scratch not so long ago. So if you’re decorating from scratch, don’t make the same mistake as me.
3. Texture / Material
This is the one thing so many of us don’t pay enough attention to. Most of us shop rugs mainly by size, colour and price. But as a designer, I know that texture is so important to bring a room to life. Think about the pieces you already have and pick a different kind of texture. For e.g if you have a lot of smooth fabrics, perhaps choose a shaggy rug or something more raw like jute. Having a lot of different textures in your living space is what you’re aiming for.
Having said that, when picking a texture also keep in mind some practicalities like how you want the rug to feel underfoot because you will be stepping on that rug every single day! And finally always consider how easy it is to clean. If you’ve got kids and/or pets, you of course need something super easy to clean. If you entertain a lot, you’re going to get spills (think red wine) so consider the usage the rug is getting before deciding on texture.
Style tip: you can transform the look of a room simply by adding a range of different textures in similar tones. Think sheepskin, wool, leather, seagrass, linen and more.
This is a bit of an unusual point because of course it’s entirely dependent on your budget. But there are a couple of things to keep in mind. As we all know, the bigger the rug the more expensive it is. If it comes down to price, never compromise on size. As in don’t choose a smaller rug because it’s cheaper. Instead compromise on material if you have no other choice. Plant based materials like jute, seagrass, sisal etc are usually the most affordable and most durable. They’re also stylish and neutral so will work in many spaces. There are also several polypropylene rugs (a synthetic material) in a huge range of colours and patterns that are more affordable.
Finally on price, shop around. Especially if you’re going for a plain rug, chances are you’ll find similar at different price points in different shops online and offline.
P.S. Send me a picture when you get your rug. I’m going to be sharing my living room once I get mine!