Decorating with Area Rugs

by Nikki Willhite


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Area rugs are great for frugal decorators. They are extremely versatile, and serve many purposes. They can start off in the living room, move to the family room or bedroom, and eventually end up in the garage or an indoor/outdoor room.

Unlike wall-to-wall carpet, which is best kept in a neutral color; area rugs can bring colorful designs and patterns into your room without overwhelming it. Also, unlike wall-to-wall carpeting, once you buy them, they are yours to keep, as you can take them with you when and if you move.

You are lucky if you have wooden floors under your carpeting. It may take some work to refinish them, but they last forever. They do not collect pollutants, like carpeting, and are much easier on people with allergies. New houses are so well insulated, that you need all the help you can get keeping your home fresh.

If you do have wall-to-wall carpeting, you can still use area rugs. You can lay them on high traffic areas to protect the carpet, or use them to tie a seating area together. You can also just use them for display, even on the walls.

Some people will tell you not to lay one carpet on top of another. However, I know from personal experience that if I put down a carpet runner in a high traffic area, when I remove it I can fluff up and restore the carpet. If I don't, the carpet will be ground down to a pulp and there is no fixing it.

We have runners in all our hallways. We also have them in front of the sofas, which is an area that seems to take a lot of abuse. If we can preserve the carpet longer, we save money.

The only thing I am concerned about is safety. If we are moving furniture, or carrying heavy things around, I take them up. You also need to be sure they have a non-slip surface on the bottom so that you are less likely to trip over them.

There is tremendous variety both in the types of area rugs available and in the prices. Designs and fabric of area rugs range from inexpensive woven straw mats to luxurious, costly oriental rugs.

Quality rugs are easy to maintain. We bought an off-white Berber rug over 10 years ago at a discount store. We have yet to see any dirt on it. Contrary to what common sense tells you, off-white is one of the best colors for hiding dirt! We also have a small oriental wool rug that we purchased at Costco. It looks luxurious, and has yet to show any signs of wear.

Braided rugs add wonderful country charm. However, generally they are not of the same quality. They do become dirty and require more care.

As far as decorating, if you need texture in your room, think about a Berber carpet. To read more about texture, see: www.allthingsfrugal.com/texture.htm

If your room seems very square and angular, consider an oval rug to soften it. Add interest to your room by choosing from the many designs and styles, such as contemporary, floral, geometric, etc. Using area rugs with color and texture lessen the need for other accessories in a room.

Most area rugs are used to group furniture arrangements. For instance, in a living room, the area rug would most likely be placed in front of the sofa and under the coffee table. The chairs and tables would be grouped around it. You may be able to create an interesting effect by placing it under your furniture at an angle.

If you can't find what you want, think about having one made to your specifications. One very durable solution is to find a beautiful commercial carpet that you like, and have it bound to your dimensions. If you want to cover your whole room, leave about a foot between the wall and carpet, and be sure and turn it once a year. It will last for years.

Take advantage of area rugs if possible. Wall-to-wall wears out, and eventually your house becomes patched with different carpeting as you replace worn out carpet in different areas. Use area rugs to save money and beautify your home.


Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at FrugalHappyFamilies.com - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money! Article first published at www.allthingsfrugal.com

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