How To, Interior Decorating
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How to Shop for Rugs. An Unbiased Document.



Oh they think they are so funny.

I don’t even know why I bother with rugs and carpet.  They are like magnets for animals and kids to pee, puke, and make messes on.  Oh the stories I have.   I should tell you about the time my husband spilled red Gatorade on our cream carpet…or the time he was shaking a protein shake made up of milk, chocolate and something that translated into slime when it hits carpeting–and the lid wasn’t on all the way and do I really need to go on?  Or the time my potty training son used the carpet on the stairs as his toilet paper and slowly slid down them on his backside.  And then there was Norovirus 2010.  No sir, we don’t believe in toilets or buckets in our house–we just use carpet.  Seriously folks, I’ve got a 100 of them, but that’s not what this post is about.

It’s about those brave brave people who want to put carpet, or specifically, area rugs in their homes.  Why, is beyond me.  Did you see the pictures of my house in previous posts?  We use hoses here to clean the floors–rugs are for show and also for our cat to pee and puke on.  Sorry, I’m about to digress again.

Area Rugs.  Here’s some tips for you newbies.  For you young whipper snappers who think, yeah, I want a nice rug under our main eating table and when the baby flings green baby food and my husband spills his red wine…I’m not judging.  Really.  Go ahead and get some area rugs.  I think it’s great.

Here’s what you need to know, about how big to buy and where to look.  I’ll keep the rest of my opinions to myself.

Rugs are really important.  They define the spaces in your rooms.  Stay with me here.  You have a huge room and the furniture floats and it’s not cozy and it looks like a dance hall.  (I reserve the right to use AND as much as I want.)  What you need my friend is a rug.  AND you can put a rug on carpeting too.  A rug anchors the space.  It anchors the furniture to a designated spot.  It says this is the part of the room where we sit.  This is the part of the room way over here where we pass through.  AND this is the part of the room that is the quiet conversation area for just two chairs.  Rugs can do all this.

Next.  How big should the rug be?  I think this is one of my most asked questions.

I’m using Celerie Kemble’s words here.  She’s an interior designer extraordinaire.  Her book, To Your Taste, does a wonderful job of breaking down the nuts and bolts of interior design.

“Unless I plan to expose the floor completely (which I tend to do only in hallways or dining rooms), I like to cover as much as I can with a large area rug that fills the room up to 9 or 18 inches off the walls.  This defines the room and makes it cozier.  Beautiful wood will still make its impact in the border areas.  The smaller you make the rug the smaller the room feels.  Floor areas outside the rug become peripheral to the heart of the room, taking on a border-zone feel.  An oversized and relatively inexpensive sisal rug handle the problem of small budget meets big, empty space.  When buying a large rug, try to find one that has a flat enough pile to allow for a second, smaller rug to be placed on top.  To set apart a special seating group, this secondary rug can be centered beneath the sofa and coffee table.”

Family Room by Orange County Closet & Home Storage Designers Tara Bussema – Neat Organization and Design

I really like natural fiber rugs.  Those are the sisals and the jutes.  Google the pros and cons of each.  There is a ton of information out there.  Lauren Lies of Pure Style Home does a great job comparing and explaining about natural fiber rugs.  Click here to see her post.

She has first hand knowledge and does pros and cons.
Most of the clients and friends I advise need super budget friendly options.  What worked for me while in Virginia for 6 years was a local carpet store.  This particular one had great deals on area rugs and most importantly, a ton of remnants in the back.  So say you want a 13 x 7 rug.  To buy a standard/common made rug they come in 5×7, 8×10, and 9×12–ish.  But if you choose a remnant–the big rolls of carpet lining the walls of carpet stores–you can tell them how big and they will cut it and bind it for you.  You pay for the cost of the remnant (so don’t buy way bigger than you need) and then the cost of binding–which, depends on the store and area, but in VA was $1.00 a yard.  It has been awhile but it is worth looking into.
Finally a word on furniture placement.  The front legs should be on the rug the back legs off.  UNLESS the furniture is in the center of the room.  If it is a dining table there should be at least 2 feet behind each chair when they are pushed into the table.  It’s not an exact science, though, just move it around and experiment.  Just remember the rug shouldn’t look like an island floating in the middle of the room.
This is an unbiased report.  I am silent.  NONjudging.  Hey, I like a nice rug.  It makes the space cozy albeit laden with e-coli. We have a lot of rugs.  They are just all laden with e-coli.  Y’all come on over and enjoy my house now…

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