Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
Changing an area rug often feels like all that’s needed to feel like you’ve completely redone a room. An area rug can really bring a room together and change the overall style of the decor but are they always necessary?
Not every living room needs to have an area rug. Using an area rug is a great finishing touch to make a living room feel like the decorating process is finished. Sometimes, an area rug in your living area decor might clash with your furnishings, or your living room might already be carpeted.
In this article, I’ll be going over the main factors you should consider if you’re debating whether or not your living room needs an area rug. So let’s get started.
Consider the Flooring In Your Living Room
One of the first things you should consider when deciding if you need an area rug is the type of flooring you have in your living room. If you use interior design magazines and photos for your decorating inspiration, you might notice that area rugs are often used on hardwood floors.
But what about carpeted living rooms? If your living room has a carpet, an area rug may not look the best.
However, you can still make this decor piece work, depending on the sort of carpet you have.
An area rug can work if your carpet has short, flat, and dense fibers. But they might look strange or unnatural on a longer fibered carpet like a shag.
If you have a living room with a patterned carpet, you may want to avoid using an area rug in your furnishing because even a plain rug can start to make the space look cluttered.
The Size Of Your Living Room Is a Large Factor
The rule of thumb when it comes to area rugs is to choose a big enough rug that fits under all the main pieces of furniture you have in the space.
In a living room, that means most likely either centering it so that it’s under any seating areas and coffee tables or getting one long enough to sit under all the furniture in the room in a balanced way.
A rug should help make a room look finished.
However, if it’s too small or if you can’t find one to fit the size or shape of your living area, it can have the opposite effect. Before buying an area rug, consider the shape of your living room and measure the size of the space.
If you have a living room that’s not equally sized around all four walls, you might find it challenging to find an area rug that suits the room properly. When you have a particularly large living room, you’ll likely need to purchase a larger carpet, which might be less readily available.
Area Rugs Need Special Maintenance
Like carpets, area rugs need special maintenance compared to hardwood or tiled floors.
While you may like the appearance of area rugs, you should consider whether you have the time and patience to add maintaining one into your home-care routine. You may need to vacuum your rug or shake dust and debris outside regularly.
You might even have to use carpet cleaner and scrub it clean to maintain its color and eliminate any dirt build-up. That’s all just for regular day-to-day maintenance.
If you or your family regularly eat in the living room or do other messy projects, then your rug might be at risk for more messes than you might be in store for with just a smooth floor. While spilling juice on a wooden floor isn’t fun, at least you don’t have to worry about stains as much.
It’s up to you to decide if you’re willing to deal with this sort of cleaning regimen.
If your desire to have an area rug in your living room is stronger than the annoyance of having another thing to clean, then go for it. However, if you’re constantly stressed about your area rug getting messy or stained, you might want to forgo having one in a room you use a lot, like your living room.
One more thing to remember is that, if your area rug is in a high-traffic area, it will need a lot more maintenance than if it were in an area that’s barely used.
Consider Your Preferences
If you’re wondering if every living room needs an area rug or if you find yourself less excited about adding one to your room’s decor, then you might want to think about if you actually want one at all.
You might have lived your entire life used to seeing area rugs used in living rooms, so you might have started to feel like having one is an unofficial rule. Just because you see area rugs used in other people’s living room furnishings doesn’t mean you have to buy one for your home.
Whether you haven’t purchased a rug yet, or you’re not sure if you want to keep the one you have, try to look at your living room, with all the furnishings, with just a bare floor. If you like how your living room looks without an area rug, feel free to skip having one.
But if the room looks unfinished to you, then look at rug options you can find.
Your living room is likely one of the most trafficked areas in your home. It’s where you’ll likely host guests and where you’ll probably go to relax and unwind.
There are, however, multiple reasons why an area rug might not be necessary for you.
Your living room’s shape, size, and flooring are prime factors to consider when you are considering adding a rug to your living space, as well as factoring in having to maintain it.
Ultimately, your taste is the most important thing for using an area rug in your living room.
- The Spruce: 8 Area Rug Dos and Don’ts
- The Spruce: Area Rug Rules of Thumb
- Martha Stewart: How to Choose the Right Rug for Your Living Area Based on Your Couch Size
- Architectural Digest: Designers Debate Rugs vs. Bare Floors
- Showbiz Cheatsheet: The No. 1 Design Mistake Everyone Makes in Their Living Room
- The Home Depot: Types of Carpet
- The Spruce: Tips for Using Area Rugs Over Carpet
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