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How to Buy an Area Rug

September 03, 2012 2 min read

Decide on which style suits your tastes before you go shopping for your new rug.[/caption] Going into a huge rug store like Rug & Home can be daunting. Thousands of area rugs — nearly every size, style, and color — hang from humungous racks. Without proper guidance, the rug-buying neophyte may feel intimidated and overwhelmed. While salespeople are there to help, they don’t know your home — or your tastes — like you do. They can’t choose your favorite color or pick the right design for your living room. Only you can make those decisions. Buying rugs, like other home furnishings, is a particularly personal endeavor. After all, you and your family have to live with the results. But don’t let the fear of making a wrong choice stop you from finding the perfect fit. With a little forethought, you can take control of your home décor and create comfortable rooms that bring a smile to your face every time you enter. To make your rug-buying experience an exciting adventure, here are a few steps to take before you even enter the store:

  • Set a budget. Purchase the best-quality rug you can afford, even if you have to save up for it. Well-made rugs last longer, and they withstand traffic and spills better. Top designers suggest spending about as much on a rug as you spent on your sofa.
  • Measure your space. Follow the accepted guidelines to avoid buying a rug that doesn’t fit in your room. To provide adequate coverage, area rugs should be about two feet smaller than the shortest dimension. A 12x20 room, for example, can accommodate a rug that’s 10 feet at its widest point. Dining room rugs require at least 18 inches on every side past the table edge to allow chairs to slide in and out without scraping the floor. Hall rugs need about six inches of clearance on all sides after you’ve opened any doors.
  • Start with the rug. If you’re starting from scratch, buy your rug first. Pick a primary color that dominates your decorating scheme and look for a rug that embodies that tone and gives you two extra colors. Then paint the walls and buy your furniture.
  • Do your own research. Look through home magazines and websites to get ideas and narrow down the design you find most attractive. Start by deciding between traditional Oriental rugs, modern geometric designs, or transitional styles that embody a bit of both. A rule of thumb: go with your gut. Regardless what anyone says, stick with your own taste. What makes your heart skip a beat when you see it is probably the best choice for you.

Write down the sizes, colors, patterns, and designs that fit your taste, budget, and room size. Once you’ve done this homework, you can walk into that big rug store with confidence. Bring your list with you into the store. Armed with your list, you can’t go wrong because you know what you want. You may find that preparing for your rug-shopping spree makes the entire experience so enjoyable that you’ll look forward to doing every room in your house.

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