A great rug can be the making of a room – it adds warmth and softness underfoot, grounds furniture and helps you define zones in an open-plan space. But to get the most from a rug there are a few things you need to get right, including choosing the correct size, colour and weave for the space it’s going into.
Our expert interior designers are here to help, with all the practical tips you need to buy once and buy well.
When it comes to rugs, the golden rule is the bigger, the better.
Choosing a rug that’s too small for the room and the furniture in it is the most common mistake people make. The rug ends up ‘floating’ in the room, making it feel awkward and out of proportion.
To get the size right, start by measuring the room and the main pieces of furniture. You’ll want the rug to be big enough for your furniture to sit on top of it – or, at the very least, the front legs of the sofa and any smaller pieces, such as side tables and stools – while leaving 20 to 30 centimetres between the rug and the wall, and enough room to open doors.
For the bedroom, select a rug that fits under the bed and extends out between 60 and 90 centimetres so that your feet have a cosy place to land when you get out of bed. Or, select a pair of floor runner rugs to go either side of the bed.
For a dining room, choose a rug that extends 60 to 70 centimetres beyond the perimeter of the table so that the back legs of chairs will sit on it when they’re pulled out. This also helps protect floors from scuffs and scratches.
Consider how and where it will be used
A good-quality rug is an investment, so whatever you choose needs to last the distance. For high-traffic areas, such as hallways and family rooms, consider a style with a tight, flat weave that can handle some wear and tear, such as a jute, cotton or low-pile wool rug.
This chunky textured rug in a neutral grey provides a comfortable solution for the lounge area in the Amberly.
Chunky, oversized loop-pile rugs are popular and are great for adding texture and warmth to a living room with lots of hard surfaces. But they are best avoided if you have pets or young children as the loops can pull.
Rooms that are all about luxury and relaxation, such as living areas or your master bedroom, call for rugs with a deep, plush pile you can sink your toes into, such as a shag rug or a textured, cut-pile style in wool, bamboo or art silk (an artificial silk with a beautiful lustre).
What your rug is made from also affects its durability. For one that will cope with the rigours of homes with children or pets, choose synthetic fibres, a wool blend or natural fibres such as jute.
A subtle geometric pattern helps create a sense of harmony with the warm timber tones in the Arlington.
Pure wool is soft and durable and has excellent insulation properties. Plus, it shrugs off dirt easily and bounces quickly back to shape. But a wool rug can be expensive, so you may prefer to keep it in mid- to low-traffic spots such as a formal living area or bedrooms.
Colour and pattern
Do you want your rug to stand out or blend into the room it’s going into? A graphic, patterned rug will act like art in a room, and be the hero of a space, and is best balanced out with simple furniture and neutral or block colours in soft furnishings.
If your room is already busy with pattern and colour, opt for a block-coloured rug that picks up on the tones in artwork or soft furnishings, or go for an understated pattern or neutral hue. This allows you to add texture and warmth to the room without visually overwhelming it.
Remember, the colour you choose for your rug will have an impact on the look and feel of the room. If you have dark furniture and floors, a lighter rug can help balance them out, while a darker rug can provide some much-needed contrast in a room with lots of pale furnishings.
A round rug is effective in softening a space and giving extra comfort for a favourite reading spot. Seen here in the Astoria Grand.
While a rectangular rug is the most popular choice, it’s not your only option. You may find that a round rug fits your room better: use it to highlight curved architectural features, soften a room with lots of hard lines or add a touch of fun to a bedroom or playroom. Or choose a square rug to fit a dining table of the same shape or to finish off an outdoor entertaining set-up.
A jute rug is a great option for areas that will experience a lot of foot traffic and study nooks. Seen here in the Canterbury.
Rectangular rugs are extremely versatile – they come in endless sizes and suit most room shapes. Use a rectangular rug to define a living or dining area in a large, open-plan room; use it to add cosiness to a kitchen or lay a slender runner along a narrow hallway or staircase.
What’s underfoot has never looked so good!
Ready to shop for your new home, check out our five favorite online rug stores below:
Armadillo rugs are made with natural materials and sustainable processes, designed to counteract today’s throwaway culture and stand the test of time. They hold themselves to the highest standards of transparency, environmental performance and social responsibility to make a lasting difference in both your home and the world around us. Expect to find a wide range of contemporary and timelessly stylish rugs made from natural materials including Jute and Wool blends.
For over four generations, Hali has sourced beautiful handmade rugs from all corners of the globe. Expect to find a huge range of stoked rugs including traditional and contemporary designs for all interior styles.
The leading online retailer offers a wide range of rugs for your home. Temple & Webster offers an extensive range of rugs online, from shaggy hides, mats, round rugs, to contemporary jute rugs to brighten up your space.
The affordable interior style leader offers a wide range of manmade rugs to suit most spaces in your home. Designs range from neutral to patterned with an emphasis on contemporary styles.
The Rug Lady has been steadily gaining the attention and following of thousands of rug lovers and rug shoppers alike, making it one of the leading online rug distributors in Australia. Expect to find a wide range of rugs, from simple budget-friendly pieces to elegant high-end products along with a selection of large rugs, which can be hard to find and shop for.
See how our skilled interior designers use the latest rugs to bring rooms to life with a virtual tour of our Carlisle Homes Display Homes. View your virtual tour here.