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Home » Choosing The Right Rug

Choosing the Rug That's Right For You

Choosing The Right Rug
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.

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

Opulence Rug Collection

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, contact us by email or telephone us for a quote and more information on 0808 108 9657.

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 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. 

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.

In terms of colour, it is generally advised 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.

Below Left: Des.9 - Botanical Rug (100% Wool), Below Right: Infinite Rug - Starburst Black (100% Acrylic)

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 do hope that you have found the information interesting and that it helps you narrow down the overwhelming choice of rug that you choose. 


What follows is some information on basic care and maintenance for your rug.

Looking After and Maintaining the Life of Your Rug
If you want to add life to your rug then the following information will prove to be very useful in ensuring that your rug receives the best treatment in order to prolong longevity.  As always, prevention is better than cure so to speak and you will most likely find that the key to maintaining your rug is using common sense.

Rug Labels
The main thing to point out is that most rugs have a label on the back.  Always follow the manufactures guidelines on that label.  The manufacturer knows the best way to care for that particular type of rug and provides these guidelines to ensure that your rug has a long and happy life. 

Rotate Your Rug
Rotate your rug on a regular basis.  This is especially important if your rug is in a high traffic area (an area where a lot of people constantly walk by) where your rug will receive a lot of wear and tear.  This will enable your rug to wear evenly i.e. one corner of the rug won’t look more worn than the others.  Prevent people from walking on your rug with dirty shoes.  You can do this by either creating a no shoes policy in your home or by having entry mats which will create a barrier and remove dirt from shoes by the entrance points to your home.  Ensure that you never place your rug on damp or wet floors, this will just encourage breakdown of the fibres from which they are made from and could make your rug start to go mouldy.

Cleaning Your Rug
Cleaning your rug is especially important for increasing the life of it.  As discussed in previous articles wool rugs tend to shed a lot and vacuuming them regularly will eventually prevent this from happening.  If you are unfortunate to spill something on your rug which face it is quite likely as in a busy home accidents can quite often happen, first thing’s first, never ever rub your rug.  This will only spread the spillage further and push it deeper into the fibre.  The best way to tackle a stain is to get a dry absorbent cloth, paper towelling or alternative and blot the surface of the rug to soak up the spillage.  Try to prevent the spillage from getting any bigger by removing excess with a plastic spatula, blunt knife or other suitable utensil.  Brush the pile so that the stained area is flowing in the same direction of the rest of the pile and use a stain cleaner solution.  We always recommend that you spot test the cleaning solution on a small area of the rug before applying it in large quantities.  Some cleaners can damage the pile of the rug or bleach the fibres so it is best to use a cleaning solution that you know is safe.  Rug Doctor has some excellent stain removing cleaners that are suitable for cleaning rugs.  As with all stains we would advise that if you are not confident in tackling it that you seek advice of a professional rug cleaner, they are often cheaper than you would think and can remove some of the most stubborn stains with ease.

Vacuum Your Rug
The key to maintaining a healthy rug is to vacuum it regularly.  Different types of rugs respond better to different methods of cleaning.  Below we list the type of rug and the best type of vacuum cleaning method.

 Shaggy Rugs
Shake shaggy rugs to release all the dirt and grit that may be lodged within the deep pile and then use tools on the lowest setting to prevent the shedding that occurs with these rugs especially the wool variety.

Hand Tufted and Hand Knotted Rugs
You should only ever use suction only vacuum and beater bars should not be used on the surface.  Upright vacuums with beater bars on them should be used on the highest settings so that they are just skimming the surface of the rug pile.

Machine Made Rugs
This includes rugs with a cut pile and they should be vacuumed with a vacuum with beater bars on the lowest setting thus keeping the pile a good length and loosening grit from within the base of the pile.  These types of rugs should also periodically be turned upside down and the back of them vacuumed to break the loose grit and dirt away from the base of the pile.

Other Rugs Including Natural and Sisal
These types of rugs should be vacuumed normally with a suction only type vacuum and the beater bar should be set to the surface of the rug.

Use an Anti Slip Floor Protector
We recommend using an anti slip rug underlay.  This will prevent dyes from the rug seeping through to the surface below and will also prevent your rug from slipping which will prevent it from ‘walking’ around your room.  Think about it, if your rug is constantly moving from the place you have put it, it will wear more.  Anti slip rug underlay will prevent this.  There are many products on the market that claim to prevent rugs from walking, including sprays and underlay.  We recommend ‘Rug Hug’ because we have been using it for over thirty years and it does what it should i.e. it works.  It hugs your rug to the surface that it is placed on by creating a friction between the surfaces you have placed your rug on.  Thus protecting the surface your rug is on and your rug at the same time.

Modern or Traditional
Choosing modern or traditional comes down to a matter of taste at the end of the day but there a few points to keep in mind.

Some modern living spaces can adopt a traditional rug with ease whilst others cant. We tend to find that if you're going to incorporate a traditional rug into a modern living space, to make sure that the rest of your walls / ceiling and furnishings have little detail or are plain in colour and design. This makes a busy traditional design easier to live with in what would otherwise be a very busy room.

If you have a traditionally styled living space we would always recommend choosing a traditional rug or sheepskin rug. Traditional rugs can really accentuate traditional styling and space, whilst sheepskin rugs can lift wooden floors adding depth and texture to complement existing surroundings.

Rug Shape
Rug shape can have a beneficial effect on some room designs. For example if you place a rectangular rug in a square room, it often won't look right whereas a square or circular rug would. Another area where shaped rugs really work are in living spaces where you are trying to really make a design statement. Children's room are one of these such areas where brightly shaped character rugs lend themselves very well to their surroundings.

We hope to be adding to this guide soon to include other issues including:

Rug Placement
More on Rug Themes
What Rug To Choose For High Traffic Areas

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