Wondering how to start decorating with rugs? Few items manage to bridge the gap between functionality and beauty like rugs do. Whether used to add warmth and comfort, or to liven up a bedroom, living room, hallway or even kitchen, rugs add instant style to just about any room.
A huge part of using rugs wisely lies in choosing the right style, and also the right size. A rug that is too big can easily overwhelm, looking far too much like carpeting to be truly effective. Likewise, a rug that is too small can get a bit lost – even if the style is bold and eye-catching. SADecor.co.za has a great article on choosing the right rug, while Mr Price Home also has a handy rug size guide that shows typical sizes in centimetres.
When it comes to decorating with rugs, what are the best ways to get the most of out your chosen area rug? Let’s have a look.
Decorating With Rugs – Room by Room
In this room by room guide, we take a look at how you can decorate with rugs throughout your home. Some tips to keep in mind for each room include the following:
In an entry or hallway…
Whether your entry is tiny or cavernous, a rug will create an instant impression from the moment visitors step in your front door. Runners are a good choice for long, narrow entries as well as hallways, while small to medium sized rugs work well for square shaped entries. Add a touch of colour with a modern boho rug such as a kilim, shag rug or rag rug, or opt for a neutral rug in a natural weave such as jute, hemp or cotton. Just remember that a rug used at the entry may need to be cleaned more frequently than one used in an area with less foot traffic.
In the living room…
Area rugs in the living room range from large rugs that create a cosy nook with couches and coffee table, to smaller rugs placed strategically. If you choose a large rug, make sure that it blends in with the rest of the room without making the room seem too small. Bright, bold colours can work very well in a minimal setting, but when there are too many contrasting colours and not enough open space, the effect can be more claustrophobic than cheerful. Neutral, natural rugs work especially well in large scale. Layered rugs can also work well. Even runners can work well if placed cleverly. Experiment and see what works best!
In the bedroom…
Bedroom rugs can be large enough to fit the bed and bedside tables, or they can be small enough to provide warmth when waking up or getting into bed. Like any other rug, make sure that it blends in without being too distracting. Smaller bedside rugs can be a fun and inexpensive way to add warmth. Runners can also work well in the bedroom, whether placed at the foot of the bed or alongside the bed. Try to keep your general colour scheme in mind when choosing a bedroom rug. Calming neutrals or lighter shades are versatile and easy to mix and match, while colourful rugs can work well when set against white walls and crisp white bedding.
In the kitchen…
A trend that shows no sign of slowing down is antique rugs in the kitchen. You don’t have to spend a fortune on beautiful ancient rugs either – just about any rug will work well in the kitchen, assuming it can be cleaned fairly easily. If you have kids and your kitchen is often a war zone, you may want to either skip this rug or use an easy to wash cotton rag rug that can withstand the odd spill. Runners work very well in longer and open plan kitchens, while small rugs placed next to the sink are also effective at adding impact.
In the dining room…
A general rule of thumb for dining rugs is that the table should fit onto the rug easily without seeming too small or too big. A round rug can be perfect for smaller 4-seater tables (square or round). A runner would work best for a larger table. Consider the size of your dining table and ensure that there is enough room behind chairs and at the head and foot of the table. If the rug is too narrow or short to be seen properly, it will be wasted in the dining area.
In the bathroom…
Bathroom rugs don’t have to be limited to boring bath mats. Adding a modern rag rug, shag rug or a kilim can be a great way to add comfort, colour and style to the bathroom. Cotton and bamboo are ideal choices for the bathroom if you plan to use your mat next to the bath and shower. Wool rugs should ideally be kept away from moisture, so use these away from water sources.
In the kids’ room…
There are some lovely kids’ rugs to be found. Comfortable, easy to clean rugs are always a good choice. Large rugs that can withstand the lifestyle of a busy toddler will always be ideal. If you do use wool rugs or antique rugs, check them regularly for wear and tear and have them professionally cleaned at least once a year (if not more).
In the home office…
Rugs in the home office add a touch of comfort underfoot, along with a splash of colour and interest to your study. A small beside sized rug is ideal, but you could also opt for a round rug, a runner or a larger area rug depending on the size and location of your desk. As these rugs do not have to contend with a large amount of foot traffic, they are not likely to be at risk for spills and wear.
On the wall…
Who says you are limited to the floor when decorating with rugs? You can hang a precious rug (or any rug you really like but don’t want to walk on) and turn it into a modern tapestry. There are many good tutorials on how to hang a rug on the wall. It’s a good idea to do this carefully to avoid damaging the rug. Apartment Therapy has some good tips on hanging a large heavy rug on the wall.
How do YOU love decorating with rugs? Let me know in the comments below to share your favourite rug decorating tips.