When it comes to home decor, there’s almost nothing that can instantly transform your room like a large area rug that fits your personal style. The best rugs add a bit of color and texture if your color palette is feeling a little bland — and they’re also great for pushing your space to the maximalist heights of your dreams if that’s the look you’re going for.
Area rugs — and even smaller accent rugs — are also useful for dividing up your space, particularly if you’re struggling to decorate an open plan layout. They can imbue your room with an instant cozy feeling, and give you a soft place to touch down if your floors are otherwise hardwood, tile, or laminate.
Basically, whatever you’re looking to do for your space, an area rug can help. But choosing the perfect area rug for your space can be challenging. Picking a rug for your entryway or dining room can be hard enough, but when it comes to choosing a rug for high-traffic areas like your living room, it can feel even more overwhelming.
Let’s talk about how to choose the right area rug for your living space so that you can feel confident in your interior design abilities. Choosing the right living room area rug for your space can feel daunting; with a little insight, we think we can help you make the right call.
Why Do You Need an Area Rug in Your Living Room?
We’ve already listed a few of the reasons adding an area rug into your space is a great idea. Rugs aren’t just good for complementing or adding to your home decor — they also serve some more functional purposes in your space.
For example, there aren’t many things as beautiful as gleaming hardwood floors. So if you’ve got them, you probably want to show them off. At the same time, especially if you live somewhere with cold winters, having to walk on cold and hard surfaces all the time can make you long for a carpet. Using an area rug is the perfect way to showcase your hardwood floors without sacrificing your comfort.
Area rugs can also travel with you. So rather than having to leave behind a beloved carpet you’ve installed when you move, you can bring your favorite along for the rug. On top of that, complementing your space with an area rug can be much more affordable than trying to make other, more permanent changes, like painting or carpeting the whole space.
And actually, area rugs are better than carpets, because carpets can hold onto all sorts of dust and allergens that may adversely affect the air quality of your home.
Especially if your living room is also your kitchen and even your dining room or home office, making the space feel cohesive yet appropriately divided into areas can be challenging. Open plan floor plans offer a lot of benefits, like the feeling of spaciousness, and often some really great light. You don’t want to shut these spaces down with clumsy dividers or anything that might affect the flow and light — but you probably also don’t want to feel like you’re cooking in your living room, or watching TV in your kitchen.
Enter area rugs! The right arrangement of area rugs can maintain the flow of your open-plan space while still giving you the feeling of distinct rooms you’re craving.
Basically, if you have a home decor need, a rug can help! But when it comes to choosing the perfect rug for your family room, there are many things to consider, ranging from the pile height to rug size to the pattern. Are you a Persian rug lover, or are you more boho chic? Do you love Moroccan-style rugs or sheepskin or shag area rugs? These are just a few of your options.
Let’s break down the considerations that come into play to help make your choice just a little bit easier.
What Should You Think About When Choosing a Rug?
It’s both a blessing and a curse that there are so many options out there when it comes to area rugs. You can pretty much find any color, pattern, size, and pile height that suits you, so really the key bit is being decisive about what you want. So here are some of the main considerations when it comes to choosing your area rug.
One of the first considerations when it comes to selecting an area rug for your space is thinking about the overall style of your decor. While of course you’re not limited to just one style, it’s often useful to break decisions with a wide range of options into groups.
If you’re into more of a boho vibe, something like our Paloma Rug might do the trick or even a Western classic like a cowhide. While you don’t have to limit yourself to rugs that fit into a single category, it may help you narrow down the options and make your choice that much simpler.
Equally as important as choosing the right pattern for your space is selecting the right color scheme. If your living room is currently pretty simple in palette, you might want something equally subtle like our Tabor Rug, which will help bring your room together and add some texture but won’t totally clash with what you have going already.
Alternatively, you could consider keeping things tonal. If everything in your room is varying shades of blue, a blue rug in a different hue may be the answer. If black and white is your jam, stick with what works.
Complementary colors are also a great option that are scientifically shown to be more appealing to the eye. Of course, what’s most important is that the color combo appeals to you — so while you can use the color wheel as a guide, ultimately the answer should be whatever makes you feel happiest when you look at it.
Rug Size and Accessibility
Rug size is one of the most challenging considerations when it comes to choosing an area rug for your living room! While a runner may be the intuitive option for an entryway or hallway, your living room space may be a bit less defined.
If you’re looking to set off your sitting area, an 8x10’ is going to be your most versatile option. It can work with pretty much any combination of furniture, whether you like a series of conversational chairs or prefer a large, cozy sectional. This is especially useful if, again, you have an open-plan space, because it will create the illusion of a separate room without interfering with the overall flow.
Alternatively, if you’re working with a small space, opting for a 5x7’ rug may be the better option to showcase your seating area. It’s perfectly centered under your coffee table and will give you the texture and dimension you need when space is at a premium.
This is a biggie, especially if you have children or pets. While an area rug may sound great and you may know exactly what you want, you may also already be picturing paws or tiny feet spreading whatever your little ones get into throughout the day all over your brand new rug. And whether that means you’re going to have to lug your rug to an expensive cleaning or it’s ruined for good, it’s a serious concern.
You could choose a patterned rug in a darker color that’s less likely to show mess. You could choose something with a natural fiber like jute, or use an outdoor rug inside, which may make it easier to keep everything clean. Choosing a flatweave or low pile rug over a high pile rug is also helpful in avoiding liquids and grime getting trapped beneath the surface.
However, that’s an awful lot of trouble, and can be limiting on what sort of area rug you can have in your space. So rather than telling you to choose from the smallest possible pool of less-likely-to-be-damaged rugs, we’d recommend choosing a Tumble rug, because they’re washable.
And not only are they washable, but they’re machine washable because they come with a separate rug pad. If you feel like your rug could use a refresh, all you need to do is toss the rug into the washing machine, and you’re good to go.
Tumble rugs are also spillproof, which makes them stain-resistant and easy to clean, no matter what you throw at them. And unlike other products which are spillproof or water-resistant, Tumble rugs are non-toxic and free from potentially harmful chemicals that are often used in the waterproofing process.
When it comes to choosing the right area rug for your space, there are many things to consider! While it may seem daunting when you look at all the options available to you, selecting an area rug for your living room is one of the best ways to elevate your home decor and take the coziness factor to the next level.