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How to Choose the “Right” Rug

Many of you are replacing your carpet with hard surface flooring and area rugs. Area rugs offer the most variety in floor coverings. But before you buy, you need to know just a couple more things about them - other than that they can define a space and elevate your décor. Whether you choose handmade or machine made, antique or thoroughly modern, you need to consider these questions:

Size And Shape? Area rugs are made in standard and non-standard sizes and they can be rectangular (most common), round, square, oval, octagonal or long and narrow for runners. The most common sizes are 2’x3’, 4’x6’, 5’x8’, 6’x9’, 8’x10’, 9’x12’ and up. Choosing the correct size area rug depends on the dimensions of the space you want to cover. Here are some hints on how to figure out what size rug you need.

Thinking square or rectangle? Place a piece of copy paper where each of the corners will fall in the area you wish to cover. Measure the space and adjust the “corners” as needed to make the space larger or smaller given the standard rug sizes. If you’re considering a round rug, you can run a piece of tape from the center of the space you want to cover to the outside edge. Measure it. This gives you the radius of the circle. Double it and you have the diameter.

If you choose to cover the whole room with your area rug, it is best to leave a 12-inch to 15-inch border of flooring exposed to frame your rug. Rugs in the dining room table should be large enough so that when seated at the table, the back legs of your guests’ chairs are on the rug with enough space to push back and stand up. One more thing. When you go to buy, be sure to take along a tape measure. Like textile clothing sizes, they need to be “tried-on”, or at least measured so you know what true size you are actually buying, particularly if it is a handmade rug. Many hand-knotted rugs are not perfectly square!

Color is at least as important for an area rug as how it’s made. The combination of color, design and setting (your room) all come together to create your own personal artistic statement. Area rugs don’t have to match the colors of the room precisely. Great interior design often features combinations of colors that either contrast or compliment a room’s primary color scheme. But a good rule of thumb is to stick to one primary shade and two additional colors.

Fiber is another consideration. Most hand-made rugs are made of natural fibers, with wool being the most common face fiber and cotton the most common foundation fiber. Natural fibers require a little extra care and cleaning to keep the rug looking great for years to come. If you’re in the market for a silk rug be ready to make a considerable investment. Also be aware that there are some “faux” (false,fake) silk rugs in the market place. Don’t get fooled into buying one just because the price is “too good to be true.” It probably is!

Pattern is divided into three categories in the rug industry:

· Curvilinear literally means curved lines. It refers to patterns with swirl, arc, and bows.

· Geometric refers to patterns based on simple geometric shapes such as lines, triangles, squares and rectangles.

· Pictorial, the smallest group, refers to patterns that portray people, animals, and scenes.

Style is such an ambiguous idea. It simply means a distinctive manner of expression. Over time, names get attached to the word style: Traditional. Contemporary. Classical. Art Deco. Transitional. Your distinctive style can draw on bits and pieces of all of these and more. It is a personal expression of the way you want to live your life and decorate your home or office.

Rugs styles are also based on their origin: Navajo, Persian, Chinese, Turkoman, Turkey, Caucasian, Tibetan and Indian just to name just a few. No one expects you to know all or even some of these. You need to know what you like. If you do some research on-line and find an image of an area rug you find attractive, take it to a reputable retailer. It’s another way of beginning the search.

What Now? Know and trust your rug retailer. If you are shopping for antique rugs, this is fundamentally important. All investments should be made with the help of a knowledgeable counselor. If this, not an investment, then what you have learned here will guide you to buying the best area rug in the right style for the right price.

Finally, Be Calculating! Figure the total cost of rug ownership as including rug pad and on-going maintenance. The price on the tag you’re buying is just one component of your cost. Proper rug cleaning and maintenance is a smart investment.

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R. L. Seminars, LLC
WoolSafe North America
437 Alfred Ladd Road East
Franklin, TN 37064

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network icons WoolSafeThe WoolSafe Organisation is a cleaning industry service provider, devoted to promoting best practice in carpet and rug care through maintenance product evaluation and certification, education and training, and the promotion of professional cleaning and inspection services.