Defining your Space

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How to incorporate an area rug

When something just isn’t working in your living room or it just doesn’t seem to feel complete, one of the first things that I look at is the area rug. Is there even an area rug? Often times when you have just built new or just renovated and put in new hardwood floors, people (men in particular) do not want to cover the new wood floor up with an area rug. But the reality is, an area rug is essential to define your space, add texture and pull the room together.

An area rug is the grounding piece to your room. It is like the foundation that holds all the other pieces together visually. However, unlike the bottom piece that holds the lego blocks together it doesn’t have to be the first piece to your puzzle. Even though it is the grounding piece, it can often times be left until last. Making it like the icing on the cake.

First things first, define the feel or style you want your room to have. Look at the items that definitely have to stay such as pieces that are sentimental or you cannot afford to change. These are your starting pieces. Secondly look at the optional items. These are items that you like and could stay in the room if they fit with the developing plan, but could also be relocated, sold or donated. Next is to determine if your starting pieces have any limitations on color or style. Often times the thing that is limiting and fighting the rest of the room, is the existing area rug. Take it away and look at the room with fresh eyes. If your furniture must stay and it is a paisley print Victoria sofa, you are not going to be able to make your room contemporary. Work with your limitations or revaluate how critical they are to stay. Perhaps that permanent piece would be better changed, if it is going to allow you to get the room you really want.

Next, choose an inspirational piece. Perhaps it is a picture from a magazine, a piece of art, toss cushion or maybe even an area rug. Use this as a jumping off point to build the rest of your room.

If you have a lot going on in your space with different elements, patterns and colors, then it is probably best to keep your area rug fairly neutral and plain. Just a shag with variations of neutrals allow for texture and softness, yet doesn’t compete or draw your eye away from the focal point. However, if you are feeling like your space is lacking personality; a bold patterned area rug may be the perfect choice to spice up the room.

As for the size of an area rug, like art it is rare that I ever see a client use a rug that is too large. Most often, the issue is that they have chosen an area rug that is too small. When working with an area rug with sharpe corners such as a square or rectangular shape it is going to be even more critical to get the size and scale correct as it defines a definite perimeter to your room. A round rug however, allows you to cheat your size and scale a little easier, which sometimes means you can get away with a smaller rug; therefore, making it more affordable. Because your area rug is defining your space, a general rule of thumb is that your area rug should connect all of your furniture by at the very minimum having all of the front legs of the furniture sitting on the rug.

It is not very often that I come across a room large enough that makes it crucial to have an area rug that extends past the back of the furniture. In the rare instance that I have had this issue, it was a very large grand living room that sat in the center of an open concept home and we used the area rug to define that space completely as there were absolutely no walls, halls or furniture to help define it. In this particular instance we did have all of the furniture sit completely on the over sized rug with a two foot boarder of rug around the sitting area.

Most often it is possible to get away with an area rug that just allows the front legs of the furniture to rest it, making it a lot more affordable to get a designer rug. It is however, crucial to purchase an area rug that is large enough for the space. If the rug is just floating under the coffee table and makes no connection to any other furniture, it is not being effective in defining the space and connecting all of the elements of the room. Round is the exception to this rule that allows you to just connect the large items and perhaps not have the chair actually sit on the area rug.

Just like with anything, styles and trends are constantly evolving, and so are styles of area rugs. It is important to choose a style and color that compliments your developing plan. We are seeing a lot of neutral shags as well as bold geometric pattern this season in rugs. The nice thing about an area rug versus carpet is it allows you to be a little more adventurous as it is easier to change. The fact is, when you have pets and children living on your area rug, you are going to have to change it out every few years due to cleanliness so that is something to take into consideration. Depending on your pocket book, that may mean you don’t want to spend as much or perhaps that means that you want to be bolder and create personality.

Regardless, go big, have fun, and use it as the linking piece to pull the room together.

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