How to choose and place a rug

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How to choose and place a rug capi 9e64e0357fe75f9cbe91b7f1550049f2 cde70ea224e2e51fd795e216d86f2803

Photos: Henley

One of the easiest ways to add a layer of softness and warmth to a room is with a rug.

Not only will its inviting texture make you want to be in that space, the soft fibres will feel delightful underfoot and the design will complete the room’s look.

Abbie O’Connor, colour and design consultant at home builder Henley, said a well-placed rug was a particularly useful decorating tool for zoning an open-plan area.

“I feel, in many ways, the rug is the most important part of a room,” Ms O’Connor said. “It’s the part that brings the whole space together. Without it, everything else feels like it’s just floating.”

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A rug will complete your room’s look.

Picturing what size rug will suit a space is tricky and is one of the main reasons people end up with designs that are either too small or too large.

Ms O’Connor recommended always measuring a space before you went shopping and knowing how you wanted the furniture arranged. Even map out the rug size on the floor using masking tape.

Positioning the furniture half on and half off a rug was the most cost-efficient option, she said, and would create a more relaxed style for casual spaces such as family rooms.

“The bigger the rug, the more expensive it’s going to be, so you want to put as little as possible under furniture and just create the illusion the rug extends all the way back,” she said.

Placing furniture on top of a rug will create a formal feel, while off the rug is better for rooms like a study or playroom, because it will add some quirk.

Ms O’Connor suggested no more than a third of a bed be placed on top of a rug, while sofa legs should sit just a few centimetres off the back edge.

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Placing furniture half off the rug will create a relaxed style.

What’s on trend in the rug world when it comes to colour? In a word: natural.

Warm whites, greys and greiges (cool grey mixed with warm beige) are in. On the subject of texture, thick loop pile and raised patterns in the same material and colour are also popular.

“If the rest of your room is quite neutral, however, you might like to have a bit of fun with a pop of colour or tribal pattern to make the rug a focal point,” Ms O’Connor suggested.

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Natural colours are on trend.

While most of us tend to use a rug on its own, another idea is to layer one rug on top of another so the bottom rug can still be seen for an intimate and cosy feel.

“Use a natural weave on the base and then apply something soft and textured over the top, perhaps with a bit of a pattern,” Ms O’Connor said. “A really thin rug on the bottom and a faux animal hide on top looks great in smaller rooms. Just don’t try this in a large open-plan space as the cosy factor will be lost.”

She said overlapping rugs was a good approach to take when a bigger rug was needed.

“Sometimes you go shopping and you might find the most perfect rug, but it is not in the size you need. This is a great way of getting around that problem.”

Rugs aren’t just for softening hard floor surfaces, either. They can also be used in carpeted areas to bring in extra texture, colour and pattern.

Ms O’Connor recommended using rugs with a bit of contrast in carpeted rooms and avoiding flat rugs if your carpet was flat.

“You want something with texture and movement to provide a clear difference between the two elements,” she said.

Handy tips

Here is some more advice from Ms O’Connor on rugs:

• For a light and airy feel in a room, choose a rug with a large loop weave rather than a busy pattern.

• Use rubber stoppers under rugs to stop them shifting when people walk on them or furniture is moved. It will also stop them curling at the ends and becoming trip hazards.

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Use rubber stoppers under rugs to stop them shifting or curling.

• Avoid using high loop pile rugs in high-traffic areas. Thinner, tighter weaves are more durable.

• Think outside the square and drape a faux animal rug like a throw across a chair or bed. You could even frame a rug as an artwork or use it to create an upholstered bedhead.

• Steer away from rugs under dining tables as this area is prone to food and drink spills. If you do want a rug here, use an indoor/outdoor design to make cleaning easier.