How to Choose a Rug

Add texture and warmth to each room in your home with a rug. From furnishings to curtains and wall decor, a rug is the final piece that pulls everything together for a finished look. At west elm, we have a vast range of rugs in varying colors, sizes and shapes.


The first thing you need to consider before choosing a rug is the size you’re looking for. This varies depending on the size of the room and the rug’s purpose within that room. Place your coffee table on top of a small rug in the living room to make a cozy feature. This adds a more relaxed feel to the space while you’re enjoying a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with family or friends. A medium-sized rug looks great under a dining table, creating a comfortable ambience within which to enjoy a meal. In a large room with marble or hardwood flooring, a large rug instead of a fully carpeted room gives the benefit of soft flooring underfoot while still being able to see the exposed original flooring around the edges of the room. Alternatively, use small rugs in different sections of the room to highlight those particular areas. This acts as a way of dividing the large space into smaller areas with their own features.


Color is the next factor to consider once you’ve settled on the rug size. Light colors in a small room help open up the space, making the room seem deceptively larger. Dark colors, on the other hand, can shrink a space and this is ideal in vast rooms that need a more intimate feel. Neutral tones are calming and good in rooms where you want to relax or concentrate. Bold and bright colors are more fun, being ideal for kids’ bedrooms. A room with busy decor can be toned down with a color block design while neutral decor is livened up with a patterned rug design. Patterned rugs also complement dark wood furniture and traditional decor. Abstract designs are better suited to contemporary surroundings. Match the rug’s color to the room decor, so that it ties in with the drapes, throws, upholstery or decorative pillows.


The pile thickness is very important and, as well as how the rug feels underfoot, it’s important to take into account how the rug is to be used. In your bedroom, for instance, stepping onto thick, soft pile as you get out of bed is luxurious. But when there is continuous use and heavy footfall, you need a thin rug that is hardwearing. Rugs made from seagrass or woven sisal are ideal for this use as they are durable materials that won’t wear down or lose their looks very easily. These don’t need to look plain though. Go for one with a knotted fringe or colored border for more aesthetic appeal. Another use for a thin pile rug is under your desk in your home office. The thinness, such as with a jute rug, prevents your desk chair from getting stuck as you move in and out while providing a comfortable surface for your feet to rest on.


Be imaginative with the rug shape as well as its colors. In an entryway, you’ll more likely need a long rectangular rug, but in a living room or bedroom go for something different like a circular rug or faux animal skin shape. If you do need to stick to a rectangular or square design, soften it with a tasseled fringe.


Rugs aren’t just for indoor use. Transform your patio area into a new space that resembles an outside room. Ensure the rug is suitable for outdoor use and, on a warm evening, enjoy entertaining outside with the new floor decor that is cleverly coordinated with the decorative pillows and table decorations.


Secure indoor and outdoor rugs using a rug pad. This additional layer between the floor and the rug prevents accidental slips. It also helps protect your hardwood flooring. A reversible rug design not only gives you two style choices but ensures the wear and tear on each side is evened out.

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