Area Rugs

Your room is finished, or so you thought. Something seems to be missing. If your room looks well decorated but that last touch is waiting, chances are the room could use an area rug.

Area Rugs: The Basics

Area rugs are of four basic types:

  • Dhurrie
  • The bordered rug
  • The inlaid
  • Oriental.

The Dhurrie, a thick flat-woven cotton rug made in India, is the least expensive. It comes in a variety of color combinations, with pastels being the most popular. Dhurries fit in well with most any decor. The bordered rug is simply a rug of any size or shape that starts with a base color used in the middle. Strips of border are added to the edges. Borders can be one strip in a coordinating color or they can be several strips in two or three colors. Uses of these are limited only by your imagination. Inlaid rugs can be any style your mind can conjure up. An authentic Oriental rug is and always has been a symbol of wealth. They're a great investment, but do your homework before you purchase.

Choosing an Area Rug

Buy the best rug you can afford. Look for good quality natural materials such as wool and silk. Sisal, jute and grass rugs often cost less, but are difficult to clean and don't last as long. Use the cost of the other furniture in the room as a guideline for how much to spend.

In the living room, for example, the rug should cost as much as the sofa, or slightly more. Set your price limit before you shop then add 10 percent for flexibility. Choose a rug two feet shorter than the smallest wall in the room. Hall rugs should have at least six inches of floor showing on all sides. Dining room rugs should extend at least 18 inches beyond the edge of the table. In large rooms, rugs should fit the configuration of the room and furniture.

Caring for an Area Rug

Since 60% of all area rugs sold today go on top of wall-to-wall carpeting, be sure to use padding specially designed for carpet-to-carpet contact. Keep potted plants off rugs. Vacuum area rugs regularly, in the direction of the pile. Make sure not to go across the nap. Use a spray to help with cleaning and have a professional cleaning done outside the home every five to seven years. Rotate your area rug 180 degrees every year or two. This helps even out the effects of sunlight and traffic. When spills occur, absorb as much as possible with a towel. Blot the area with water or club soda and lift the rug up in that area to allow air circulation to dry it naturally.


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