How to Select the Perfect Rug: 3 Crucial Things to Consider
Never underestimate the power of the perfect rug. While some might think of a rug as just something soft under their feet, they’re actually an incredibly versatile and effective home decor item that can make or break the ambience in your space. Nailing the right rug for your style is just one component of the selection process – there are so many things to consider before you add a plush new piece to your home.
We’re breaking down three of the most crucial things to take into account when shopping for a new rug. With these tips in mind, your rug is bound to “really tie the room together,” in the words of The Big Lebowski.
Our top tips for selecting the right rug
A rug can complete a room, whether that’s the living room, dining room, bedroom or office. So, it’s only natural that you put a little thought into finding something gorgeous that’s both functional and chic. Aside from the overall style of the rug, the practicalities of your new piece are key to enjoying it for many years to come.
One of the first things you should weigh up when picking out a fluffy rug to adorn your floors is colour. With the style of the room in mind, there are a few approaches to take when it comes to the colour of your rug. Consider the following hints before you make that all-important decision...
Feeling: What is the overall ‘feeling’ of the room? Is it a place to relax and unwind, or are you trying to encourage productivity? And, how do you want to feel when you’re there? You might want to feel calm, inspired, happy, grounded – the list goes on. You’ll find that each of these emotions or characteristics have associated colours, such as yellow and happiness, or blue and tranquillity.
Contrast vs complement: Rugs should do one of two things in pursuit of bringing the room together as a cohesive whole. They’ll either tie into your existing aesthetic and colour palette with similar hues and textures, or alternatively, they’ll create contrast, drawing the eye and helping to establish the overall style of the space. Select a colour that’s already prominent in your space to complement, or go for something that stands out as a contrasting accent colour.
Floor choice: The flooring you’re working with can affect your rug choice significantly, especially when it comes to colour and texture. You’ll want to create visual interest through your rug, and avoid the appearance of your rug and floor blending together. As a result, try to always select a different colour to your floors. For instance, if you have medium-brown wood flooring, a white, light-toned or brightly coloured rug will suit best, and a brown rug should be considered off-limits unless the colour is markedly different.
With these rules of thumb in the back of your mind, it’s time to pick out a colour! Here are three different schemes to try out…
If you’re all about that natural, earthy feel, opt for a neutral shade of black, brown, white, cream, tan or rust. Create a monochromatic look by replicating shades that are already in the space and reflecting them in the rug. There are also certain textures and materials that really lend themselves to a natural palette, such as jute, bamboo and hemp.
For those who love a splash of colour or live for a statement piece, bright and bold hues are the way to go. The colour you choose will base on the room as it currently stands – is it relatively neutral or monochromatic, or is there pops of colour throughout? If a particular accent shade pops out, consider using this for your rug, too. Otherwise, select from complementary colours, or if all else fails, go for something that errs on the side of neutral, like an olive green or rust red.
A mixture of both
Of course, there’s always the option of mixing neutral and colourful – after all, design doesn’t have to be about compromise! The best way to do this is through patterned rugs. They’ll often pair neutral base tones with brighter pops of colour for the more intricate parts of the design, letting you access the best of both worlds.
Now that we’ve discovered colour, let’s talk a little more about patterns! They’re a fantastic way to thread various colours throughout your space, and they can act as the bridge between neutral tones and brighter accent shades. But, patterns can also bring a whole host of other elements to the room.
Size and space: Patterns can visually play with how much space is available in the room, giving the illusion of more room or, in turn, making the space feel cosier and smaller. Something busy with a tightly-packed pattern will draw all eyes to that specific area, which depending on your furniture arrangements, could give the idea of a room that’s more snug. On the other hand, a broad, spaced-out pattern will be less of an eye-grabber, and in the right colour, could make the available legroom seem more ample and the room itself more spacious.
Visual excitement: Another thing that patterns do so well is creating visual interest in your space. Chances are, you’re dealing with relatively simple flooring, such as timber, vinyl, tiles or carpet. By laying down a rug, you’re adding a little fun to the floor, as well as that luxe feeling when you kick back at the end of the day. Patterns only add to the excitement, drawing the eye and adding dimension to the space whatever your style. Don’t feel as if patterns have to be flashy, either – a super simple pattern will do the trick if your aesthetic is on the minimal side.
How you bring out your pattern is up to you, but there are essentially two key ways. One is a flat rug in a material like cotton or silk that has a printed pattern on it, which is great for under your furniture with no bumps or ridges creating imbalance. Whether you pick something simple and neutral, a bright and eye-catching paisley, or something in between, this kind of rug is inherently versatile and could be moved from room to room or space to space as necessary.
Your other option is with a textured rug. We’re about to dive right into material, but in a nutshell, a textured rug can also bring out a visual pattern through the way loops or ridges are spaced. Depending on the thickness of the material, this is harder under wobbly pieces of furniture, but with the right elements in place can look incredible. Simply take your pick – or, if it feels like a tough decision (understandably so!) then you can always opt for two smaller rugs in the same space. This can look stunning when configured correctly!
Finally, we’re chatting material. The material you choose for your rug could be the factor that makes or breaks it in a whole lot of ways, including durability, versatility in your space and its overall feel, both visually and physically. So, here are a few things to consider to help you get it right.
When it comes down to it, there are three things you’ll want to think about when selecting a material for your rug – how it feels to the touch (is it luxurious and soft, or rough and textured?), its durability (will this rug last me for years to come?) and how easily it can be cleaned (is it a spray and go kind of situation, or a ‘2 weeks at the dry cleaners’ type of deal?).
If it’s super important to you to have a rug that feels soft and plush beneath your feet, your top choice will likely be wool. All-natural and available in every shape, size and colour known to humankind, wool rugs are ultra-soft and will feel very luxe day-to-day if looked after. The other primary options you have here are cotton and silk, which will both also feel quite soft and give the room that touch of elegance, depending on the style you select.
Of course, a super soft rug isn’t everyone’s go-to. If this is an element you can compromise on, you might want to opt for another natural fibre like hemp, jute or bamboo. They’ll be a little rougher, but turn the dial way up in the next category, durability.
Rugs aren’t cheap, as you’ve probably come to find throughout your search, so it’s crucial that you find something that’ll last you for whatever length of time you think is optimal – whether that’s two years or ten. Some materials are inherently more durable than others, so if you sit on the far end of this spectrum, opt for something like hemp, sisal, seagrass, jute or bamboo. Wool is also very durable, but needs to be looked after quite regularly to stand the test of time.
Finally, weigh up your household’s daily activities – are you quite clean and conservative with your mess, or are you a rough-and-tumble kind of family? If you’ve got pets, babies or simply a human that finds it tough not to track mud into the house daily, then the ability to clean your rug with ease will certainly be top of mind. Once again, some fabrics are easier to clean than others.
Wool and silk are amongst the most difficult to clean, as they don’t do well when soaked in water – doing this can drastically reduce their appearance and durability. Instead, they require spot cleaning, and if they get something from outside tracked in, it’ll be off to the drycleaners.
Meanwhile, cotton is an incredibly easy material to deal with. Keep it looking good with regular spot cleaning using natural products, and when things start to look a little rough around the edges, it’s likely you’ll be able to pop it in the washing machine on a cold, gentle cycle.
Rougher fibres like hemp and bamboo are less likely to show marks and scuffs due to their overall nature, but if they do need a clean, you’ll want to spot clean them as well. It’s likely that if you spill something, wiping it up right after the fact will prevent against any long-lasting stains.
Learn more about materials, including the difference between natural and synthetic fibres (and which is better in your space!) with our complete guide to the right rug material.
So, are you feeling ready to rug up? Rugs are not only a gorgeous addition to any room, but they’re also a practical and versatile homeware piece that will only amplify your existing style. With these three things in mind, selecting the right rug has just gotten immeasurably easier! Plus, now that you’ve got material, colour and pattern in the bag, why not weigh up your rug’s size and placement, or explore our favourite rug styles? Go ahead, tie that room together.
Shop our all-new range of rugs and discover everything from chic neutrals to standout pieces in eye-catching colours and textures. Want to place your rug in your home before you purchase? Try out View at Home, our innovative augmented reality (AR) tool that’ll let you envision your new rug in your space before you head to the checkout. Shop rugs and so much more with Brosa’s Australia-wide delivery today.