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How to Pick a Living Room Rug

Finding the right sized area rug.

These days a room isn’t complete without a rug, especially in the living room, where adding a rug can really help to pull the room together. But with so many options out there, choosing a living room rug can be a daunting process, considering the range of sizes, materials, patterns, colours and price points on offer. So, if you are in the market for a new rug, we’ve got you covered with our handy 6 step guide on how to pick a living room rug which includes loads of great ideas to help you find the perfect rug for your lifestyle and home!

6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Living Room Rug

1. Rug placement

Area rugs can be used as a functional piece in many homes, splitting the space up into different zones and grouping furniture together to define a space. As well as having functional purposes, area rugs can also add decorative value to your living room. The opportunities are endless and area rugs boast a whole range of benefits. Area rugs come in practically every colour, size, pattern and material one could imagine, so you’re bound to find one that suits your personal taste.

The placement of your area rug is key. A well-placed area rug will help bring all your living room elements together, which helps create a cosy, inviting space. We recommend placing your area rug in the centre of the living room – under your coffee table or ottoman. If you’re working with a smaller room, the legs of your furniture should at least be placed on the edge of your area rug.

2. Size

Another important aspect to consider when choosing your living room rug is the size. One of the most common mistakes first-time rug buyers make it picking a rug that’s too small. And there’s no pain like finding the perfect rug just to realise it doesn’t fit your space. There are many different rug sizes available, so how do you find the right size for your living room? Here are some failproof tips so when it comes to unrolling the rug, it will be a seamless fit:

The bigger the better

When it comes to living room area rugs, less is certainly not more. Your area rug should anchor your furniture. If you opt for a smaller rug, it might appear lost and cluttered or it might seem like your furniture is “floating” in the room. Whereas larger area rugs make a room appear more spacious and professionally finished. The perfect area rugs for the living room should be large enough to accommodate your main pieces of furniture. When it comes to finding the best area rug for your living room, we recommend you follow these size guidelines:

  • The rug should run the entire length of the sofa.
  • Your rug should be at least 6” wider than your seating area on each side.
  • Finally, there should be approximately 18 inches of bare floor in between the rug edge and the room’s walls.

Analyse the room

When choosing your rug size and orientation, make sure you have analysed all aspects of your living room. For example, are there any alcoves or doors that might affect the size of your living room rug?

Check before you buy

Before buying your rug, we recommend playing around with different dimensions on the floor using masking tape. This will give you a good indication of whether it will look right and where it will work with your existing furniture before you take the plunge.

3. Consider the material

Rugs come in various materials, including synthetic materials like nylon and solution-dyed acrylic; plant-based fibres like cotton, linen, sisal and allo; and soft, natural fibres like wool and mohair. The different rug materials can have a massive impact on the overall look and feel of a rug and the different materials also vary in durability and price.  

  • Plant-based fibres

If you are looking for a more affordable rug, we recommend rugs made from plant-based materials which offer a relaxed, natural feel without breaking the bank. Even different natural fibres can vary in characteristics, where cotton or linen rugs have a shorter lifespan, sisal and allo are hard waring and even after years of abuse still look effortlessly chic. Therefore, it’s important to consider how durable your rug needs to be to suit your lifestyle.

  • Natural fibres

One of the most popular natural fibres is wool. Wool is durable and warm, so a great option if you’re looking to add extra warmth to your living room in the colder months. The material is also easy to clean and very hard-wearing – ideal for living rooms subjected to heavy traffic. Wool rugs tend to be more expensive than plan-based fibres and synthetic rugs, though, but they are comfortable underfoot and can last for many years.

  • Synthetic fibres

Polyester and polypropylene are two of the most popular fibres for synthetic rugs and with good reason. Both fibres are very similar, although minor differences make them better suited for different purposes. Synthetic rugs are low maintenance, you can use simple cleaning methods like frequent vacuuming and a quick spot clean for spillages. Plus, both fibres are stain-resistant, making it hard to spot any dirt or stains – perfect for homes that are busy with children or pets. However, synthetic rugs tend to have a slightly shorter life span, which makes sense considering their low price point. If your living room is subjected to a large footfall, we recommend you opt for a natural rug.

Out of the two synthetic fibres, the characteristics of polypropylene make it the ideal rug for the main living area– it dries faster than polyester, making the fibres resistant to mildew.  Every room in the house has different requirements when it comes to durability. If you’d like advice on what types of rugs are suitable for kitchens, check out our insightful blog post.

4. Consider the function of your rug

When choosing your living room rug, you’ll need to carefully consider the purpose of your rug. We spend a lot of time in our living room, whether that’s watching TV or entertaining guests, which means we want our main living area to look as presentable as possible. Therefore, we believe that when it comes to rugs for living rooms, they should strike a balance between practical and stylish.

The living room has many purposes and is arguably the most used room in the home. So, you’ll need to assess the practicalities of each rug to ensure it suits not only your home but your lifestyle too. For example, if you’d like a shaggy style rug with a deep pile for comfort, do you have the time to vacuum it? And how much traffic will the rug endure? Unfortunately, over time, all high pile rugs flatten. Therefore, extra thought should be given to any high traffic areas because regular maintenance to preserve the rug is vital.

5. Rugs for pets and children

Since area rugs cover the majority of your floor, they see a lot of action. However, with so many different materials, weaves and colours, it can be tough knowing how to pick a living room rug that will hold up to the wear and tear of a house full of children and pets. The best rugs for children and pets have certain qualities: we believe the most important qualities for this matter are rugs that are durable and easy to clean.

  • Wool

Wool is naturally stain-resistant, making it the perfect choice for homes with children and pets. Plus, the fibre is extremely durable. So, if you’re worried about spillages, you can easily dab it up and get it cleaned in no time.

  • Synthetic

The majority of synthetic rugs are manufactured in a way that makes them stain-resistant. Synthetic fibres are coated in latex, which ultimately improves the carpet’s resilience, thus, making it durable enough to withstand the mischief of little humans and pets.

6. Colour and pattern

Now we’ve gone through the basics. You’re almost ready to start rug shopping. Finally, it’s time to choose a rug colour. Start by assessing your colour scheme. To tie the room together, you’ll want to find a rug that complements two or three main colours in your living room. We suggest using your living room accessories like any throws, pillows or furniture as inspiration. The best area rugs for living rooms anchor the entire space. Meaning the colour and pattern of your rug can establish the space’s mood. Dark, deep colours help define a more intimate and cosy space, while lighter shades make a space appear larger and brighter. 

Choosing a living room rug that works with your existing décor can be challenging, especially if you have lots of colour and prints. You can play it safe with a plain rug, or you can get experimental and pair seemingly incongruous patterns, print and colours to fabulous effect. Alternatively, if you’re starting fresh and want to embrace new colours and you’ve got your eye on a rug. Go for it! Let the rug determine the colour scheme for the rest of the living room.

When it comes to finding a patterned rug, we know it can be scary. Not everyone is passionate about bold and extravagant colours. However, if your living room is plain, a beautifully patterned rug adds a focal point to the space. If you don’t think you can commit to a bold pattern, we recommend finding a neutral-coloured rug that incorporates texture or pattern for a similar effect.

We know that choosing the perfect living room rug can be a minefield, but we hope these tips have helped you get one step closer to finding your perfect rug. If you’ve decided that an area rug makes sense for your living room, then shop by room to browse our large range of living room rugs.