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When it comes to decorating or redecorating a space, having the right rug in an area can really do a lot for the ambience and the overall feeling of the room. Beyond aesthetics, rugs are useful for many reasons, as they protect against slips and falls due to uncovered, slippery floors, and help protect beautiful hardwood floors in your home. Rugs can be one of the first things to inhabit a room to set the tone or chosen after your furniture is picked out or in conjunction with the first piece of wall art being hung. Here at west elm, we have a myriad of rug styles to help you not only decorate your world by offering the best in contemporary styling, but also offering years of protection against wear and tear on your valuable hardwoods.


One of the first things to consider when purchasing a rug is the type of construction you’d prefer. Construction type often has a lot to do with pile height, which is the height of the rug that you feel underneath your feet. Inside your home, comfort is key, and keep in mind you’ll often be walking on your new rug in stocking feet or barefoot. Some prefer a generous pile height, while others prefer feeling next to nothing underneath their feet. Natural fibers, such as wool, jute or cotton, have a more luxurious feeling, while synthetic fibers such as polypropylene have a tendency to be more flat, with less of a pile height. This is simply a good thing to remember as you’re contemplating a new rug.


Color is also important in your rug selection. If the rug is the first item occupying a room, let it complement and match colors with your existing paint scheme or set the tone altogether for decor in the room. If you’re choosing a solid-colored rug, a good thing to keep in mind is that darker colors constrict, and brighter colors enlarge. If you have a rather expansive room that you’d like to make appear more cozy, a darker-colored rug also paired with darker window treatmentscan help provide a more intimate setting. Alternatively, if you have a smaller room you’d like to appear more spacious, use neutral-colored rugs paired with white or off-white drapes and shades to make the space appear larger.


Matching room colors with a patterned rug is slightly different, although the same rules of color matching and complementing ring true. A patterned rug will tend to be more of a focal point in your room, as opposed to being a background piece. For this reason, you may want to match decor, furniture and wall art to certain colors in the rug – or vice versa – to help bring them out as focal pieces also. For example, pair an abstract rug that has several tints of blue along with blue painted trim, several blue-themed pieces of decor, or blue curtains colored in a different shade. Should you want to expose and bring out the neutral tones in the rug instead, then you would add more beiges and browns.


When it comes to sizing, measure for an area rug before making your final choice, and it’s a good idea to keep the size and shape of accent rugs in mind as well. You may add accent rugs as one of your last pieces of decor, after heavy furniture has moved in. Accent rugs are a great way to protect flooring in smaller and high-traffic areas while still enlivening the decor. For a modern and contemporary look, choose round rugs with bold, geometric patterns to wake up small spaces. Use rug pads with accent rugs, just as we recommend for area rugs as well. Rug pads help keep your rugs in place, protecting everyone in your household against slips and falls.