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Mistakes to avoid when decorating your space with rugs

Thursday April 9 2020


Use your eye to test how cohesive the rugs are with the other main pieces in your space. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Besides protecting the floors from wear and tear, rugs are essential to styling any space, they tie the different styling elements of a room together, define the dimension of a room’s floor plan and visually anchor a space.

A space that doesn’t have a rug feels stripped bare, lacking in warmth and incomplete in styling.

It feels like it needs a little more love. A little more flavour. Rugs are as easy to style as they are not.

There are several mistakes people make when decorating their space with a rug. Here are four of those and how to get around them to style your space just right:

Mistake#1: A rug that is too small for your space

The dimensions for your rug are determined by the space in which it shall be used.


Take the living room for instance: you will know that your rug is too small if all the furniture in there – your couch and seats, your TV console – are floating around the rug.

Pulling them in to have at least an inch of them sitting on the tip of the rug turns your living room into this squeezed unliveable and uncomfortable space.

For your dining room rug, you will know it is small when you pull at a chair and the back legs immediately go off the border of the rug to the bare floor.

A bedside rug is too small if you swing your feet off the bed and you can only wriggle the toes of one foot on the rug.

An underfoot rug is too small if the bottom feet of your bed are not sitting within its perimeter.

The one way to avoid this mistake is to take the dimensions of your space – measure your living room, dining room and bed using a tape measure.

The dimensions of rugs are quoted in feet and inches. Use the same when taking dimensions. There are no standard dimensions for each room in a house.

Work with the space you are living in right now. For your living room, trim a few inches from the floor skirting then take the rug dimensions from there.

This is because you want to show some bare floor after placing your rug since it gives the illusion of space. For your dining room, use your dining table to guide you on how much wider and longer your selected rug should be.

Mistake #2: A rug whose patterns don’t match your already-existing decor style

Those who go for patterned rugs sometimes select patterns that are so ornate and so rich in colour, that they upset the harmony and cohesion that already existed in a space.

Imagine patterned curtains, patterned cushions and patterned poufs then in the midst of all this, you throw in a patterned rug…

One way to avoid this mistake is to invest in a rug as the final item in your decor shopping list, so it can reinforce your styling – avoid styling a room around a rug.

This may mean several weeks or months without a rug as you turn this town upside down searching for one that complements the styling of your space.

No matter how long it may take you to find the ‘perfect’ rug, it is far better to wait than to invest in one that will make your space look tacky and dizzying.

Another way to avoid this mistake is to play it safe and go for a rug in a solid colour.

A colour that picks up from an already-existing colour in your space, that way you have a coordinated scheme.

This especially works if your other items are already heavily or subtly patterned. Get the anti-slip rug gripper to prevent the rug from slipping.

Or a rug pad to add some cushiness to your floors. I like this description: protects rugs, allows air to circulate and enhances comfort underfoot.

Mistake #3: Not creating harmony for different rugs of different spaces

Rugs are a great way to visually define the different functional spaces in a room, especially where it is open-plan, or where the space is small.

A rug will define your living room; a different rug will define your dining, and another one can define your corridor.

You can also get creative with shapes, textures and materials as you use your rugs to define each of the spaces – from rectangle and oval shapes, to natural and synthetic fibres, and machine to hand-woven rugs.

The catch is, there must be harmony in how you style these different elements of your selected rugs. Colour is a default and strong elements of harmony.

Patterns may not quite get you there - imagine attempting to match a symmetric pattern with a floral one. However, you can be bold with your choices and go for it.

Use your eye to test how cohesive the rugs are with the other main pieces in your space.

Mistake #4: A rug that doesn’t feel good underfoot

Ultimately, a rug should feel as good under your feet as it does to look at.

You should want to squish your toes into it after a long day chasing paper.

Thinking functionality, bedside rugs should be plusher than living room and dining room rugs.

Dining room rug should be plusher than a living room rug but it should also be easier to clean or brushing off food particles that may fall off the table and get stuck in between its fibres.

Some like to have a kitchen sink rug. I imagine they want to make the experience of washing dishes feel less dutiful and more delightful.

A kitchen rug should just be plush enough to wriggle your toes in but not too plush that it takes three days to dry from some water spillage.

A shaggy rug is, therefore, a no-no for your kitchen and dining room but a winner for your living room.

A faux fur rug or sheepskin rug is a winner for your bedroom but an unwise choice for your corridor.