How to select the perfect area rug
In association with National Geographic
Interior designers often recommend area rugs as the fastest and simplest design element available to totally reinvent a room or to revitalize existing décor. NOVICA United hopes the following guide will help you select the perfect area rug for you and your home.
I. Choose how you will use the area rug
A. Area rugs as focal points
Some designers recommend making an area rug the foundation of your interior, then working out from there to select furniture, décor, and paint to compliment (and not overpower) the rug. A bold, eye-catching rug easily becomes the focal point of a room. A large pictorial, medallion, geometric, or brightly colored rug, for example, looks best when the rest of the room's décor is relatively neutral, allowing the eye to be drawn to the artistry of the rug. Such showy styles are ideally placed in spaces where they do not compete for attention with other large and bold works of art and décor.
B. Area rugs as décor accessories
For rooms with busy interiors, interior designers generally recommend delicately pattered or symmetrically designed area rugs, with subdued coloring. Such area rug styles compliment a room without overpowering existing art. For rooms with fireplaces, where the fireplace is intended as the focal point, repetitive, subtlety patterned rugs are ideally suited. Look for an area rug with colors that blend well with existing paint, furniture, and other design elements. Keep in mind any furniture upholstery patterns or ornate wallpaper that might go best with a subdued, non-competitive area rug design.
C. Area rugs as practical accessories
Remember to select an area rug that best suits your practical needs. In high-traffic areas, consider darker colors, patterns, and sturdy fabrics. Keep in mind that light colored area rugs help keep a room open and airy, while deeper colors make rooms seem cozier. With a vast selection of styles, sizes, and prices now available at the click of a mouse, it is easy to select an area rug that is beautiful, practical, and affordable.
II. Choose the size
Large area rugs go well in living rooms, kitchens, and large bedrooms, while smaller area rugs work best in foyers, hallways, and bathrooms. More than one area rug may be placed in the same room, as long as the colors are coordinated. Rugs of varied sizes tend to go together best; same-sized rugs tend to divide a room in halves. Rugs placed under tables should be larger than the table itself, ideally with an equal amount of border showing on all sides.
III. Choosing the material
Handmade area rugs are made of a variety of materials. Natural fiber rugs (like those offered through Novica) are typically made of wool, silk, cotton, sisal, jute, or sea grass, whereas commercial area rugs are typically manufactured with synthetic materials. Wool and silk are commonly used in Central America, Asia, India, and the Middle East, while Sisal, jute, and sea grass rugs are most common to Mexico, Brazil, Africa, and some areas of Asia.
Wool is extremely durable. It naturally resists fire, water, and stains, and absorbs and retains dyes beautifully. Wool fibers also diffuse light, resulting in a soft, rich appearance still unmatched by synthetic wool fibers.
Silk remains a choice rug-making material, especially in Asia.
Cotton is soft and durable. It is a popular area rug fiber that that easily absorbs and retains a wide variety of dyes.
Sisal is the most popular of the plant fiber rugs (the word "sisal" has come to be used as a generic term for most plant-based rug fibers, although sisal is actually, technically, one particular type of plant fiber).
Jute is a popular rug-making material, especially in India. The strong fibers of the East Indian Corchorus olitorius and C. capsularis are also used for making mats, gunny cloth, cordage, wall hangings, and paper.
Other helpful tips to care for your rug:
Most area rugs, especially those made of wool and silk, can last a lifetime if they are properly maintained. General wear, mildew, dirt, moths, and carpet beetles are the greatest threats to the longevity of rugs, but the simplest care procedures, if consistently followed, will do wonders to help preserve a rug for generations. Periodic professional cleaning by a rug expert, ideally on a yearly basis, will also help ensure the longevity of your area rug.
Protect your area rug and avoid surface slippage by using proper padding underneath. Inexpensive "underlay" pads will keep your rug in place, reduce wear and tear, improve noise absorption, and provide extra cushioning. Rug pads can be purchased at most local hardware stores, as well as at home improvement centers such as Home Depot.
Treat all spills immediately to reduce the possibility of staining, and to remove moisture from the rug (moisture and mildew rapidly decay natural fibers). Clean spills with white paper towels, beginning at the outside edges of the spill (to prevent spreading), and work in from there. Area rugs with spills, stains, and other damage should be promptly attended by a professional cleaner.
C. Rug rotation
A secret to insuring a longer life for area rugs is to rotate them regularly, especially in high traffic areas and brightly lit areas, to evenly distribute wear patterns and color fading.
Prior to long-term storage, rugs should first be professionally cleaned, mothproofed, and wrapped in a clean, breathable material, helping to prevent mildew.
After deciding on how to the rug will be used, the size of the rug, and the material, you are ready to purchase your rug.
Novica offers a hundreds of affordable area rug styles, handmade in some of the world's most popular rug making regions, at prices ranging from $50 to $1,000. The styles Novica offers vary widely; from the patterned, pictorial, and geometric wool rugs of the Andes, to the contemporary sisal rugs of Brazil, to the rich Dhurries and Kashmiri area rugs of India, to the rugged, rustic designs of central and southern Mexico.
Please see our wide selection of area rugs. Click here to view rugs in the NOVICA Store