Choosing Area Rugs

Hardwood flooring may be durable and charming. But these floors can feel cold to the touch of your bare toes as you pad across them in winter. That may be a plus, since it gives you an excuse to go shopping! Solve the cold feet by investing in area rugs.

Area rugs come in every shape and style and you can get them in any size you desire. They lend warmth to your feet and to the eyes, as well. But there's an art to choosing the rug that's right for you.

Objets D'Art

Start by imagining area rugs as objets d'art, since they are about much more than function. These rugs can stand as much-needed design features in a space by dint of color, type, and texture while expressing your personal style at the same time. A word to the wise: don't buy it unless you love it—the color may be right or the size may be perfect, but if you don't absolutely love it, you'll regret the purchase, and rugs can be on the expensive side. Be utterly captivated and assure yourself that the rug really does complement the space for which it is intended.

Of course, even if you love it, you shouldn't hand over your credit card unless the rug is made well. You want it to stand up to the test of time. It may look perfect now, but if not well-made, it can end up looking worn, faded, and matted down within just a few short years. Look for highest quality wool and a close, tight weave that can handle being trampled without flattening or showing signs of wear.


The size is a very important factor to consider when choosing an area rug and this is the place where many people fail to get it right. The tendency is to go for a smaller rug because it costs less. But if the rug is too small for the area, the entire look of the room will be thrown off-kilter.

Choosing the size of the rug depends on where your furnishings will reside within the room. If the furniture will border the perimeter of the room, the area rug should be 1-2 feet smaller than the outer edges of the room. If the furniture is to be grouped at the room's center, you want the area rug to be of a large enough size so that the furniture's front legs rest atop the rug. If the rug is for your dining room, consider the dimensions of the dining room table, and then add an extra 18" to each side to accommodate the dining room chairs.