[ by Catie Parrish, Wayfair.com ]

A well-chosen rug can do wonders for a room. It can add warmth and comfort. It can ground a conversational area. It can inspire the color palette of a space. It can set a mood or a style. However, the first step in selecting the perfect rug is determining the best shape and size for the room.

Consider the shape of your space when choosing the shape of your rug. Before you make a decision, try using masking tape, wrapping paper or even a bed sheet to visualize different sizes of area rugs in your space.

Dining Room
Make sure the rug is at least 2 feet wider than the table on all sides. You should be able to pull out all of the chairs and have the chair legs remain on the rug. When picking a rug shape, take a cue from the shape of your room; for instance, round dining tables in round dining rooms look best over round rugs.


Living Room
Rugs should be big enough so that at least the front legs of all major pieces of furniture in a conversational grouping can be placed on top of the rug. When an area rug is used on a wood or tile floor in place of wall-to-wall carpeting, allow 5 to 18 inches of bare floor around the rug. Most living room groupings feel natural when defined by a square or rectangular rug.

In a bedroom, the rug should be at least large enough so that your feet land on the rug when you’re getting out of bed (about 2 to 3 feet on each side). The rug may (but does not need to) go completely under the bed or nightstands.

Once you’ve settled on the perfect size, shape and style, you should keep in mind a number of maintenance and storage steps to increase the life of your rug. First, check with your rug’s manufacturer for specific cleaning and care guidelines. In the meantime, here are four general tips that make a big difference.


1. Vacuuming
Regular vacuuming of your rug is an essential step to keeping your rug clean and strong. Dirt particles in the rug fibers act as abrasives that can break down the rug over time. This preventive measure also can ease the discomfort of people with allergies.

2. Rotating Your Rug
Rotating your rug every six months will guard against uneven wear from foot traffic and furniture weight.

3. Using Rug Pads
Rug pads are absolutely necessary for every area rug. In addition to preventing rugs from slipping, the right rug pad will extend the life of your rug and protect your floors. Rug pads provide extra cushion to your rug, prevent uneven wear and help dampen sound.

4. Storing a Rug
One challenge that many homeowners face is how to store rugs when they aren’t in use. Many people tuck rugs away in the basement or garage, only to find signs of deterioration that could have been avoided with proper care. It’s best to roll your rug (never fold it) with the carpet pile facing in. Then, wrap it in protective plastic or breathable cloth. Keep your packaged rug in a dark area, but one that’s not overly damp or dry.

Images courtesy of Wayfair.com