Measuring for Accuracy

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Before you buy a new rug, you should consider multiple variables: color, design, texture, and of course, size. Most people will have an idea of the color (or colors) they want because, if they are only buying the rug, it has to match their existing décor. Similarly, the design or style — whether traditional or contemporary — should also match the style of the room the rug is meant for.

Texture is a variable that depends on taste as well as function. Does the rug have to accommodate a lot of traffic? Does the rug have to fit beneath a swinging door or a dining table? Individuals will choose different textures, based on common sense and personal preference.

The Thing About Size

Size, however, is the most scientific variable. Anyone can determine the ideal size of a new rug by following a few simple steps:

1.First, measure your entire room, wall to wall. Use a good-quality measuring tape, if possible.

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2.On a piece of paper, draw the room dimensions in scale. Include doors, windows, fireplaces, radiators, and heating vents, where necessary.

3.Measure the existing furniture. Either add them to your drawing or, even better, cut out blocks of paper for each piece, so you can easily and quickly “rearrange the furniture.”

4.Next, measure the space you think you want to cover. Unless you want a customized rug (and are willing to spend the price for one), don’t get too specific. Measure out and mark off standard sizes: 4×6, 5×8, 6×9, 8×10 feet. One trick is to use masking tape to outline the rug’s Printdimensions.

5.Always double-check your measurements. Like the seasoned carpenter says, “Measure twice; cut once.”

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6.Go shopping! Find a store, like Rug & Home, that allows you to take the rug home and try it out for a day or a week. You’ll know immediately if it’s the right size, but you may need longer to judge the other variables.

Size Matters

We’ve already written about how to find the best size rug for your dining room and bedroom, so check our past posts to get that information. For other rooms, here are a few more tips:

A rug that isn’t properly sized for a room can make the room look uneven or unfinished. To make a positive impression — and more importantly, to give yourself and your family a sense of ease — lay a rug that fits the room.

Don’t size your space just with your eyes. A 6×9-foot rug that seems huge in the store may still be too small for the room once you get it home.

In your living room, place the rug so that your furniture sits either all the way on or all the way off the rug. The only exception to this rule is for a couch. If the couch has its back to a wall, you can get away with having only the front feet on the rug.

If you want to create a cozier space, subtract 1 or 2 feet (12 to 24 inches) from the length and width of the room, as determined in Step 1 above. Even hallway runners shouldn’t crowd the walls.

A new rug is like a new chair: you can tell in the store how comfortable it is, but you won’t know until you get it home how well it fits in to your life. Do your homework before you buy, but make sure you can return it if it doesn’t work.

How to Buy an Area Rug

Decide on which style suits your tastes before you go shopping for your new rug.

Going into a huge rug store like Rug & Home can be daunting. Thousands of area rugs — nearly every size, style, and color — hang from humungous racks. Without proper guidance, the rug-buying neophyte may feel intimidated and overwhelmed.

While salespeople are there to help, they don’t know your home — or your tastes — like you do. They can’t choose your favorite color or pick the right design for your living room. Only you can make those decisions.

Buying rugs, like other home furnishings, is a particularly personal endeavor. After all, you and your family have to live with the results. But don’t let the fear of making a wrong choice stop you from finding the perfect fit. With a little forethought, you can take control of your home décor and create comfortable rooms that bring a smile to your face every time you enter.

To make your rug-buying experience an exciting adventure, here are a few steps to take before you even enter the store:

  • Set a budget. Purchase the best-quality rug you can afford, even if you have to save up for it. Well-made rugs last longer, and they withstand traffic and spills better. Top designers suggest spending about as much on a rug as you spent on your sofa.
  • Measure your space. Follow the accepted guidelines to avoid buying a rug that doesn’t fit in your room. To provide adequate coverage, area rugs should be about two feet smaller than the shortest dimension. A 12×20 room, for example, can accommodate a rug that’s 10 feet at its widest point. Dining room rugs require at least 18 inches on every side past the table edge to allow chairs to slide in and out without scraping the floor. Hall rugs need about six inches of clearance on all sides after you’ve opened any doors.
  • Start with the rug. If you’re starting from scratch, buy your rug first. Pick a primary color that dominates your decorating scheme and look for a rug that embodies that tone and gives you two extra colors. Then paint the walls and buy your furniture.
  • Do your own research. Look through home magazines and websites to get ideas and narrow down the design you find most attractive. Start by deciding between traditional Oriental rugs, modern geometric designs, or transitional styles that embody a bit of both. A rule of thumb: go with your gut. Regardless what anyone says, stick with your own taste. What makes your heart skip a beat when you see it is probably the best choice for you.

Write down the sizes, colors, patterns, and designs that fit your taste, budget, and room size. Once you’ve done this homework, you can walk into that big rug store with confidence. Bring your list with you into the store. Armed with your list, you can’t go wrong because you know what you want. You may find that preparing for your rug-shopping spree makes the entire experience so enjoyable that you’ll look forward to doing every room in your house.