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Make the Best of What’s Underfoot - Criteria and Caring for Area Rugs

Area rugs offer many practical benefits, from providing cushion underfoot to warmth to protecting floors from scuffs and scratches to separating cold, hard surfaces from tender bare feet. Area rugs also offer aesthetic value by framing a space and adding color and interest. Of the considerations when purchasing an area rug, two in particular stand out: criteria for selection and caring for the carpet.


Select the Right Rug

According to HGTV, designers suggest building your décor from the floor up, beginning with the rug. Most people already have a color palette and style into which they must fit the new rug.

When it comes to area rugs, size matters. Begin with accurate measurement. Color and texture automatically draw the eye, so the rug will frame the area in which it sits. Experts disagree on whether furniture should sit on the rug. Because it serves as a focal point, a rug large enough for furniture to straddle ties the pieces together visually as a cohesive unit. In rooms dominated by a single large piece of furniture, such as a bedroom, rugs add coziness when placed alongside furniture or partially under furniture to tie the room together.

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When matching rugs to existing décor, Lowe’s further suggests following “the 60-30-10 rule. About 60% of the room is your dominant color, such as the walls or the largest piece of furniture. 30% is a secondary color — this is where your rug color choice comes in. And 10% is an accent color, like vases and lamps.”

Also consider patterns. Just as one normally wouldn’t mix plaids, paisleys, and stripes together in the same outfit, the dictates of good taste also apply to a room’s décor. Boldly patterned wallpaper and/or upholstery and drapes in a room call for solid or subtle designs in the carpet, with the opposite also being true.

Finally, evaluate the foot traffic in the area where the rug will be placed and the materials from which the rug is made. High-traffic areas demand rugs that will withstand heavy use, resist stains, and hide dirt. Rugs exposed to lots of natural light should resist fading. Different fibers vary with regard to fade resistance, stain resistance, durability, and ease of care.

Care for Your Carpet

Dirt and grime accelerate deterioration of rugs. Proper maintenance of area rugs involves weekly vacuuming and occasional deep cleaning. Do not run the vacuum cleaner over a rug’s fringe; the rollers will damage it. Brush the pile in the direction of the rug’s nap to loosen and remove pet hair. Rotate area rugs every four to six months for even wear and exposure to sunlight. Vigorously shake small rugs outside to remove dirt and grime.

Fur, sheepskin, leather, hair-on hide, handmade, antique, woven, and braided area rugs often require special attention to keep them clean and looking their best. Room for Improvements offers a quick guide for the proper care of those specialty rugs.

Many small woven and braided rugs are washable. If so, deep cleaning is easy. Place the rug in a zippered pillowcase or mesh laundry bag, wash in cool water, rinse thoroughly, and tumble dry on low heat. Large rugs can be sponged clean with a commercial carpet cleaning solution, followed by rinsing and then vacuuming when dry. Delicate wool and oriental rugs, sheepskin, and hair-on hide rugs should be professionally cleaned. Traditional home cleaning methods for fur and hide rugs involves talcum powder which has been labeled a carcinogen.

The Kaya Collection


Zawadee invites you to shop the {{cta('6bd5d5d2-1bc0-4dbe-be8b-946cea453748')}}, which offers rugs that combine style, color, texture, and ease of care with the beauty and quality of natural fabrics. Handmade and sturdy, the rugs can be washed—smaller rugs are machine washable. Made from recycled textiles and handwoven in Johannesburg, South Africa, each unique rug adds designer quality at affordable prices.