Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (TNS)

When it comes to decorating your home, furniture is always top of mind. Paint colors and decor ideas, like gallery walls, are a close second. But one thing that can transform your whole space is a rug.

“Rugs really help anchor a space and group things together,” said Becky Grinwald, an interior designer at Peabody’s Interiors in Brown Deer, Wis. With open-concept layouts so popular now, she said, it’s hard to create individual spaces if you have one large great room that includes your living room, dining room and kitchen.

“Rugs add a sense of coziness, texture and warmth. It makes your space more inviting,” Grinwald says. This is especially relevant given how popular hardwood floors have become.

Other reasons to buy a rug? They protect your flooring, cover any imperfections in your flooring and help muffle sound.

As for where to put rugs, you can say the floor is the limit.

Although living rooms and bedrooms are a given, rugs can work beautifully in dining rooms to anchor a table and chairs. Circular rugs are perfect for a foyer or entryway. Even kitchens can benefit from a bit of rug magic.

“Wood cabinets with wood floors is too much,” said Jessica Forston, owner of Fringe Interior Design in Whitefish Bay, Wis. “A runner is great for a kitchen because it breaks up the materials. Something like an indoor/outdoor rug is perfect because it holds up well in a high-traffic area, and it’s easy to clean.”

Although a rug on hardwood flooring is a match made in designer heaven, you should also think about rugs for your carpeted rooms. Layering a rug over carpeting can be visually interesting if the textures are done right, explains Forston.

The important thing to remember is to maintain contrast. You want the rug to feel and look different from your carpet – which can be achieved easily because there are so many materials to choose from.


When you’re redecorating a space from scratch, buying a rug first is smart because you can build off the colors into every aspect of the room. But if you’re inspired by a piece of art, for example, that informs the rest of your room, buying a rug last can tie all your existing colors together.

As for color trends, rugs are following suit with paint colors – it’s all about gray, said Teri Hayden-Kalis, an accessories buyer at Steinhafels.

When choosing a rug, one of the biggest mistakes people make is picking the wrong size. Often, people pick rugs that are too small for their space.

“If the rug isn’t connecting any of the pieces (of furniture), it’s probably the wrong size,” Grinwald said. “For example, a 5-foot, 8-inch rug in a 12-by-14-foot room will look disconnected because it doesn’t touch anything. Scale is very important.”

Although all your furniture doesn’t need to sit completely on a rug, it’s helpful if the furniture is at least partially sitting on it.

Although it’s less common, your rug also can be too large for your room. A good rule is that you should at least see a 12- to 18-inch border of flooring around the room.


What determines the price of a rug is the material. The most standard is wool, which can either be Indian wool (which is shorter, dryer and less expensive) or New Zealand wool (which is longer, softer and more expensive).

Something like a machine-made polyester or nylon rug is great for busy families because you can spot-clean it easily. It’s also cheaper at $200 to $1,500 for an 8-by-10-foot rug.

Another option is an indoor/outdoor rug, otherwise known as a polypropylene rug. This is a great option for kitchens or indoor patios; it will run anywhere from $200 to $1,200.

Other popular varieties are hand-knotted, hand-tufted and hand-hooked rugs. Hand-knotted is created when a person takes a piece of fiber or yarn and knots every single piece, providing tons of detailing. These rugs can last many years and they take a long time to make.

A hand-tufted rug is made without tying individual knots (they’re made with a tool called a tufting gun). It takes a fraction of time to make this vs. a hand-knotted rug, which makes tufting a much cheaper option.

A hand-hooked rug has a sprayed acrylic backing, and the maker will hook each piece of fiber in the backing.

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