I don’t believe anything underscores a beautiful room quite like an area rug. Whether it’s a handwoven Oriental, a French needlepoint, a rustic sisal, or a modern loop, an area rug is what I call a desirable necessity. Intensely practical, these self-bound carpets satisfy our craving for comfort and luxury; two things I could never live without. So, for true success underfoot, here are a few things you may want to know about area rugs.
Prior to the 17th century, carpets made on handlooms were used primarily to cover walls, tables, and chairs. That may seem strange to us but, at that time, carpets provided much needed warmth in cold, stone interiors. Today, of course, area rugs still provide warmth and comfort, although they are used primarily underfoot.
Area rugs have a multitude of practical purposes beyond providing a beautiful backdrop for a room’s furnishings. A well-placed carpet can introduce structure to an openconcept floor plan, one of the most difficult challenges when working with loft spaces. It can also intimately enfold a conversation grouping, direct the flow of traffic, and help define distinct areas of activity. The right area rug will link disparate furnishings, and even provide inspiration for colour schemes. One large area rug or several smaller carpets can hide unsightly flooring such as worn carpeting or linoleum, help stop dirt at entranceways, and anchor individual seating arrangements. Area rugs can also help dampen noise levels within rooms—something that may appeal to you if you have toddlers or teens.
The sheer enormity of choice in selecting a carpet prevents any kind of brief discussion on which type of pattern to choose. However, it is safe to make a couple of generalizations. Modern- and contemporary-styled area rugs tend to involve less pattern, while traditional-styled carpets usually contain more pattern and more intricate detailing. While all-over patterns visually help to widen and energize a room, geometric patterns, or those with a border, visually enclose an area of space. Choose a central medallion on carpets in open-seating arrangements or centered under glass tables. However, if a space is an awkward shape or proportion, a central medallion will only accentuate that.
The most common question I am asked regarding area rugs has to do with size. “How big should my area rug be?” In order to determine the maximum size of a room’s area rug, try this formula: subtract three feet from the room’s width and three feet from the room’s length. This allows for a sufficient “frame” of floor around the perimeter of the carpet.
And yes, do place at least the majority of the furniture fully on the carpet.