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You may think that rugs are simple accessories that liven up your space and provide a touch of warmth underfoot, but actually, there’s a lot more to them than that. From intricate weaving processes to durability and longevity, choosing the right one for your specific living area takes some serious consideration.
Here’s our professional guide to rugs, their unique attributes and how to pick out one that will last you for decades.
1. What to consider when choosing a rug
A rug is the centrepiece of any room and the glue that ties it all together so, like most design projects, your first step is to define your style, taking into account the look and feel of your living space. Factors like foot traffic and furnishings will also be determining influences.
Here are 4 checkpoints.
- Budget: If you want something that lasts, opting for the highest quality you can afford is a number one priority. “Consider the cost of your other furniture as a benchmark and spend similar amounts on your sofa and rug”, is FCI interiors guru Christina Chirila’s noteworthy advice.
- Lifestyle: Take your household into account. If you have children and pets, then you’ll need a rug that can be easily cleaned on a regular basis. You might even want to go for something that’s stain resistant.
- Shape: This will depend on the dynamics of your room. Most living rooms are suited to square or rectangular rugs while round dining tables require a round rug.
- Colour: Make sure that it matches your current colour scheme and decide whether you’re going to use it to tone the room down or brighten it up.
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2. The different types of rugs available
From diverse materials to weaving styles, there is a myriad of different carpeting options available, each one with its own unique value, look, feel and durability. Here’s a breakdown of what to search for.
The decisions you make when picking out a rug are all dependent on the materials used and how they’ll hold up in your unique environment. So get to know a bit more about their characteristics before you take the plunge.
- Both made from natural fibres, jute and sisal are durable, sustainable, low maintenance and eco-friendly. They bring a rustic, textural element to any aesthetic, creating interest and timelessness.
- Elegant, delicate and vibrant, silk rugs are an elite option with a price tag to match. But they also need constant care and are easily damaged by furniture and heavy foot traffic.
- Soft, durable, comfortable, lightweight and hypoallergenic are just a few of the attributes that make cotton rugs a fantastic choice. They are also affordable and easy to clean.
- Wool rugs are washable, adaptable and hold dye well, making them a preferred choice if you’re looking for a dynamic colour scheme. Popular for their enduring qualities, they are reputed to look better and better over time. Although they’re a little on the expensive side, they’re worth every penny.
- Polyester, nylon and polypropylene are the most popular synthetic fibres used for machine-made rugs. They are durable, often weather resistant, inexpensive and can be customised if you’re willing to pay extra, making them an all-around good choice if you’re shopping on a low budget.
From rare, hand-made Persian rugs to modern machine-made masterpieces, it’s all about the weave. Here are your main options:
- Flat-wave rugs: A brilliant, low-maintenance option for the high-traffic areas of your home, but because of their flat, lightweight construction, they do tend to roll up in the corners and are prone to showing dirt and spills.
- Hand-knotted rugs: A prime investment and often passed down through generations, these are built to last and completely unique. A single rug can take up to 12 months to craft, and the more knots, the better the quality.
- Hand-tufted rugs: Cost-effective and extremely durable, these make an excellent choice for hallways and other areas where foot traffic is prolific. Be prepared for some shedding, though – they go through a shearing process that makes them fluffy.
- Machine-made rugs: Power looms have transformed the carpet industry and fuse classic styles with modern methodologies. Their piles and patterns are uniform and flawless, and their pricing is dependent on the materials used.
- Hand-loomed rugs: Come in a wide range of styles and textures and tend to have short to medium piles, loose backs and no fringes. But they are a cheap option if you’re working with a tight budget.
- Outdoor rugs: Usually crafted from synthetic materials, these are weather resistant, durable and perfect for outdoor spaces or high-maintenance areas like kitchens and playrooms, making them ideal for family life.
3. How to choose the right rug for your home
Picking out the right rug for your home will depend on the area, function, intention and size of your room. These guidelines will help optimise your decision.
Shapes and dimensions
The most common rugs are round, square, rectangular or runners, but you can also get natural and synthetic animal skin options that are more irregular in shape.
Find one with the dimensions that make the most sense for your space remembering that something too small will throw a room off balance. Your main aim is to anchor your furniture and unify your style, so the gap between the border of your rug and the walls should be a minimum of 16 cm wide.
How to place a rug in a living room
There are three options when it comes to properly placing a rug in a sitting room. Decide which one suits you best in order to calculate the size you need.
- Rest all of your furniture including accent chairs, sofas, ottomans and tables on the rug, allowing it to extend past each piece by at least 16 cm.
- If you’re working with a medium-sized area, rest only the front legs of your furniture on your rug. This is particularly effective if your layout is against a wall.
- Place just your coffee table on your rug. This is the least favourable option, only works in tiny spaces and runs the risk of making your space look even smaller.
Adding rugs to your aesthetics is a far-from-boring endeavour and requires a creative flair and a sense of style. Here’s some inspiration to get you started.
Jazz up your space with patterns: If the rest of your living room is monochrome, an elegant motif will liven it up.
Emphasise your colour scheme: Rugs tie a room together, so find one in a hue that locks in a common thread.
Layer it up: No interior designer worth their salt will tell you that one rug is the limit, so bring in some layers starting with a solid colour and adding patterns and shades to match.
Celebrate texture: Rugs are fabulously tactile, especially if you choose one made from jute or sisal.
Fall in love: There is little difference between selecting a beautiful artwork and finding a spectacular rug, so grab the one you adore because it’s for keeps.
Go with your gut: When placing your rug, trust your intuition. But if you find yourself struggling, our professional designers will give you styling advice whenever you need it.
4. Examples of stylish and unique rugs that will reflect your personality
Christina has picked out 5 different rug options that will elevate your space. This Lucky rug by Cappellini will add an explosive pop of colour to a grey-themed living room ensemble. To anchor your décor naturally and introduce texture without going too rustic, the Soleste rug by Eichholtz is a magnificent option. \
Go all out with a plush pile to bring a sense of opulence to your aesthetic with the Mantra Grey rug from Attic. Or browse through their enormous collection to find your perfect match.
Knot & Loop offer a bespoke, hand-knotted range that allows you to select the colour, size, material and design of your choice, ensuring that you end up with something 100% unique. Take inspiration from Christina’s personal favourite, the Offering rug, and then create your own masterpiece. If you’re looking for something completely unique, think leather. Longhi has an extraordinary selection that will bring an air of sophistication to your space.
5. Tips for keeping your rug looking new for years to come
Once you’ve made an investment, maintenance is key. Here are 7 maintenance tips that will keep it ship shape.
- Dry vacuum it weekly with a simple, upright suction head. Keep it out of direct sunlight to avoid fading.
- Rotate it every six months so that the pile wears evenly.
- Has it professionally cleaned twice a year to get rid of ingrained dirt?
- Take your shoes off when you walk on them.
- Clean up spills immediately, working from the outer edge of the stain inwards.
- If you’re putting it away for a season, roll it up instead of folding it.
A beautiful rug is the epicentre of any room, so it’s vital to choose one that reflects your style, taste and personality. At FCI London, we offer a stand-out range of unique pieces that will transform your sitting rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, kitchens and even patios from ordinary to extraordinary.
So pop into our showroom today and let our fabulous design team walk you through your options – you’re guaranteed to be spoilt for choice.