Three Common Mistakes People Make When Choosing an Area Rug

February 2, 2021

An area rug is so much more than softness and warmth beneath your feet. A beautiful rug is an expression of art and culture, woven through different materials, colours, patterns and textures; conceived of and created by a true artist. The right rug can bring personality to a space, serving to inspire the overall aesthetic and set the mood in the home. So, what goes into choosing a great area rug?

Here are three common mistakes people make when choosing an area rug, and how to avoid them.

Don’t underestimate the size you’ll need. All too often, people fail to measure the room and just “eyeball” the size they’ll need. Big mistake. A rug that’s too small for the space will throw off every other proportion. Your furniture will look too big and bulky, and the space itself will appear smaller than it actually is. On the other hand, a rug that’s too large will leave the room and its various functional areas undefined. As a general rule, your rug should be large enough to accommodate all the furnishings in a given room or area. For example, your living room rug should be big enough to fit the sofa, coffee table and a couple of armchairs. The same principle applies in smaller areas within a larger room, such as a reading corner or an intimate conversation area within an open-concept layout. The rug will provide comfort and style, while anchoring and highlighting this zone within the greater space.

Don’t be bland. I like to think of floors as the fifth wall in a room, and much like the walls, your floor isn’t complete without a stunning focal point. Enter the area rug. Like an impactful piece of art, choose a rug that grabs your attention and makes a statement. Consider how colour, pattern and different styles make you feel, and the mood they will bring. Also consider your goals for the room. A dark, rich rug can create a sense of intimacy and intrigue, while lighter colours can enhance the sense of space. Luckily, there is a vast selection of styles, colours and patterns to choose from, available at a range of price points to suit every budget. But buyer beware – if you can’t afford a good-quality rug in a suitable style and size, consider delaying the purchase until you can buy what you actually want and need.

Don’t leave the rug for last. People tend to start decorating their home with the walls and furniture, leaving the area rug as a final touch. Since the rug is the room’s visual anchor, it makes sense to start here and work your way up. Choose a colour and pattern that inspires you, and let it guide your room’s aesthetic. For example, a vibrant patterned rug can provide the perfect palette to pull colours for the rest of the room, such as the wall paint, furniture upholstery, window coverings and accessories.

As you can see, an area rug is just the beginning of a truly great interior, so don’t let this key piece become an afterthought. Be bold and find one that speaks to you and accomplishes your vision for “home.” Comfort, style and inspiration wait. You just have to look underfoot to find it!


Toronto-based stager Red Barrinuevo is the property stylist on HGTV Canada’s Hot Market Series and the Principal Designer at Redesign4more. He is an award-winning interior stylist who was also named one of the most influential people in real estate staging this year by RESA Global. His firm is known for enhancing and creating stylish yet functional spaces through its creative home staging, interior decorating, and design services.

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