Warm Up Your Room With the Right Rug

Think of rugs as the ultimate room game-changer.


By Charmean Neithart, Houzz

It's confession time: I have a rug habit. If someone were to ask me what my favorite thing to buy is, without a doubt I'd say a rug. I've developed a close relationship with my rug vendor over the years; he's taught me everything I know about rugs. After 18 years of buying rugs from him, the thrill is still there. Going to his shop is like a trip to the candy store.

Besides the fact that they have the ability to transform a space, rugs can define a style, soften an echo and even serve as a starting point for decorating a room. Many times I've visited a house where the homeowner says, "There's just something missing." It's usually a rug. Rugs provide the cozy factor to most rooms. Here are a few suggestions for working with rugs in your space.


Bear Mountain Builders, original photo on Houzz


When you find a rug you really love, use a glass coffee table with it. Why cover the beauty up with a piece of opaque furniture? Glass tables are not just for modern interiors. They work perfectly fine in traditional and transitional spaces, too.


SchappacherWhite Architecture DPC, original photo on Houzz


A wide-striped rug will expand the room. This choice of bold black and white stripes sets off the palette and seems to widen this cozy room. Note how the pattern and palette are repeated in the pillows, making this statement unmistakably about contrast.

A geometric pattern can be paired with solid or patterned fabric. It may seem contrary, but geometric patterns look great in the most traditional spaces mixed right in with ikat, chintz or damask.

It's very important to select the right size rug for your space. If you're buying a rug for a dining room, it's best to have enough rug for the chairs to slide in and out without getting caught on the edge of the rug.


Traditional Living Room, original photo on Houzz


Don't be afraid to use large patterns. If this look appeals to you, consider solids for your furniture fabrics with smaller patterns on pillows. Notice that the colors from the rug are repeated in the pillows, but with very different patterns.

Dogs love rugs. Don't be surprised if your pooch takes to your new rug — they know luxury when they see it. Rugs can also help older dogs navigate their way across slick hardwood floors.

When selecting a rug for a bedroom, consider the bed size as well as the bedroom size. The edge of the rug does not need to go all the way under the bed. I prefer to see a rug stop just in front of the nightstands, with just enough to step on when getting out of bed.


Margaret Donaldson Interiors, original photo on Houzz


If bold color under oot is not your thing, then go for texture. A textured rug can add just as much dimension to a room as a bold color can. Notice that a similar texture to this rug is repeated on the ceiling.


Robbins Architecture, original photo on Houzz


Use a rug in a room that has to do double duty. Create a connection between the two functions of the space. For example, this rug placement creates a casual connection between eating in the dining space and relaxing in the living room.

Consider custom touches. Most wall-to-wall carpeting can be cut into area rugs. Custom rugs can be notched around fireplaces or other architectural conditions. Cut rugs can be surged on the edges or banded with a coordinating color.


 Kathryne Designs Inc, original photo on Houzz


Rugs can be used to define traffic lanes as well as spaces. Consider using runners to transition from one space to another or to add interest to a space with an exaggerated length.

Of course, I endorse the idea of rugs as art. If you have a special rug that is valuable or unique, consider hanging it as a focal point over a mantel or bed.

Related: Think Big at This Tiny House Resort in the Catskills

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