Creating a special look for your home can be daunting if you’re not a designer, but you don’t have to be a professional to make your place stylish. There are small things you can do to give your home character—putting up a picture, adding throw pillows, buying a new coffee table—but one easy way to spruce up a room is choosing an area rug.
But buying the wrong rug can have the opposite effect. Luciana Fragali, owner of high-end interior and architectural design firm Design Solutions, offered up some advice and expertise on how to purchase the best rug.
Research the right size
Before you head to straight to the rug section of your favorite store, consider the size of the space you’re trying to decorate. Fragali notes the rug should be six to eight inches wider than the sofa on both sides, and typically run the length of the couch. With typical living rooms being 8’x10’ and 9’x12’, she suggests giving at least 18″–24″ of walk space between furniture for your rug. Sites like West Elm and Wayfair have detailed size charts to help you make the right decision for the proper room.
“Hot tip: Measure out your desired rug size with painter’s tape to get a sense of how it will look and feel,” says Fragali. “We promise, it’s a lifesaver.”
Pile size does matter
The thickness of your rug is referred to as its “pile size.” You might think about a high-pile rug as those old 70s-style shags, while the lower pile sizes can be closer to a doormat, with almost no thickness. A rug’s thickness can change a whole room and function differently for different spaces.
Low-pile rugs can make a room “look cozy and elegant,” says Fragali. You also want to think about what sort of use the rug will have, as low pile rugs tend to be easier to clean and more durable. Consider if you have pets and the amount of traffic you expect for where you would place your new rug—Fragali suggests low-pile rugs work well for high-traffic areas like living rooms and dining rooms, and high-pile rugs may be great for a bedroom.
Brings out your home’s character
Designing may not be your strong suit, but finding something that’s “you” is important. Notice what colors and patterns you gravitate toward while considering the furniture you have in the space.
Do not only focus on your likes and dislikes; but instead, think about how the various colors will complement furniture and other existing items. If your room is full of colors and patterns, buy a single colored or neutral-toned rug. If it is unfurnished, take into consideration the tints of the ceiling, walls, and flooring.
Every home has the opportunity to reflect the personality of the owner, so spend some time researching the different styles you may want, from a sleek modern style, to a farmhouse design, to a bohemian look. Find what best fits your personality and the function of the room you’ll be placing the rug in.
“Above all, be patient,” says Fragali. “Finding the perfect rug takes time and a lot of searching.”