Whether you have carpet, timber or laminate floors, rugs in the home have so many practical benefits. Aside from framing and anchoring a space, rugs add warmth, a layer of style and are a fabulous finishing touch.
But as with many things, the sheer amount of choice can be overwhelming. From choosing a texture, weave, colour or size, how do you decide which rug is the perfect choice for your space? And once you’ve chosen it, how do go about placing it in the room?
We caught up with Henley colour design consultant Abby O’Connor who took us through how to choose the perfect rug, what styles are currently trending and how to avoid choosing the wrong rug for your home and lifestyle.
Which size and shape is right for your space?
Before you measure what rug size you should purchase, position your furniture so you know where each piece will be placed. “Decide whether your furniture will sit on the rug, off the rug or half on/half off the rug and always leave 45cm between the rug and the wall. We want the room to be cosy, not claustrophobic,” says Abby who explains that there are different things to consider, depending on the room in which the rug is placed.
The lounge room
There are three ways to place a rug in a lounge room and with no ‘right’ answer it comes down to personal preference. Firstly, while a little controversial, you can choose to have all of your furniture legs off the rug. “This was a popular style in the 90’s but is making a comeback as it works really well in small spaces such as apartment living,” says Abby.
For those on the fence, having your furniture legs half on and half off is a great solution. “This is the most popular option that we see and it suits all spaces as well as usually being quite cost-effective,” says Abby. Given you don’t have to go down the custom route (because any size should work), this option is arguably the most forgiving and it’s easier on the hip pocket too.
All legs on the rug is also permissible, though bear in mind that you are paying for all that metreage that remains unseen. “This style is stunning! But it is only suited to spaces that have a vast amount of space to be able to take such a large rug. It’s really great for large open plan living or when there is minimal furniture in a room,” says Abby.
Like the lounge room, you have three options when it comes to rug placement in the bedroom. “Firstly, you can go for 1/3 of the bed on the rug where the rug only goes under the very end of the bed,” says Abby.
The next option is to put your rug under 1/3 to 2/3 of the bed. “This is the most popular option as you can see more detail of the rug and it’s a cost-effective alternative as you can purchase a slightly smaller rug,” says Abby.
For larger bedrooms you can choose to put the whole bed on the rug. “With this option the bedside tables and bed are all on the rug with a significant amount overhanging so you can still see the pattern and detail of the rug underneath. Much like the lounge, this style requires a vast amount of open space and doesn’t work for a small area,” says Abby.
The dining room
“There is only one option when it comes to a dining table rug and that is having all chairs still on the rug when they are pushed out for someone to get out of their seat, otherwise you will struggle to see the rug,” says Abby though she’s not a fan of the look for practical reasons.
“Although rugs obviously add texture, warmth and pattern to a space, this is not a style I recommend to clients especially if they have young children as the rug does become dirty very quickly from dropped food or spilt drinks. If you do opt to do so, try to purchase an indoor/outdoor style rug which will be easier to clean,” says Abby.
“Both plain and patterned are on trend this winter. For patterned, I have found Moroccan style rugs in bright bold colors to still be very popular, especially for those wanting to add some colour into their living room whilst keeping the furniture very neutral,” says Abby.
But while patterned rugs are on trend, neutral plain ones always remain popular. “Neutral is still the most common trend and the one you will gain the most longevity out of. Thick looped rugs are very on trend and a raised pattern in the same material is also popular,” says Abby.
“Turkish, Moroccan and kilim rugs are definitely trending too. It’s hard to open a magazine without seeing a textured heirloom rug plus jute and wool rugs are still proving popular as they suit most interiors. Animal hides are making a strong resurgence as well as replica vintage rugs reworked with fading,” says Abby.
“However, my most favourite rug trend this season would have to be ‘double rugging,’ why settle for one when you can have two?! Or why settle for one large rug when all you really wanted was an animal hide but your space was too large. This creates so much unexpected drama and interest,” says Abby.
And while trends are worth considering, Abby thinks that other factors are more important in the first instance. “Keep in mind that you must first and foremost always work with your space before what’s on trend and remember that smaller patterns and light colours are always going to make a space feel larger,” says Abby.
To rug or not to rug?
When assessing whether a room really needs a rug there are three key things to consider. “If you feel a room needs anchoring, if furniture feels like it’s floating in a room with no purpose, or the room feels cold, then a rug is a must,” says Abby.
And Abby encourages you to think outside the box when it comes to the way in which you use rugs. “A rug doesn’t have to be used on a floor! There are so many ways of using a rug – get creative. Why not use an animal hide instead of a traditional throw on your bed or chair? There is also nothing wrong with framing or hanging a rug on a wall as an alternative to traditional artwork. I have even seen bedheads upholstered into bedheads. Create the unexpected,” says Abby.
What to avoid
Abby says that the biggest mistake she sees is when people have a rug purely for the sake of it and they don’t really ‘love’ it – she says it’s worth waiting until you find one that you adore.
“Not considering your lifestyle when selecting a rug is also a big mistake. For example, don’t invest in a large loop rug when you have pets or children that will pull at the fibers. Also, choosing a light coloured rug when you know it will be put in a high traffic area is also best avoided.”