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Area rugs complement the classic look of wood floors

November 12, 2013

With the right size, space and combination of furnishings, an area rug can enhance the rich look of hardwood floors. There are so many contemporary and traditional styles, and some combine the best of both. For instance, the delicate sage green branches of the Jade design within Shaw Floors' Impressions collection would complement modern or antique furniture.

With the right size, space and combination of furnishings, an area rug can enhance the rich look of hardwood floors. There are so many contemporary and traditional styles, and some floors combine the best of both. For instance, the delicate sage green branches of the Jade design within Shaw Floors' Impressions collection would complement modern or antique furniture.

To arrive at the best placement of area rugs, homeowners should follow some general guidelines on sizing to help them arrive at the right proportion of rugs for a room design.

Interior designer Susan Welch Heeney advised arranging the furniture first to decide the best size area rug for a certain section of a large room, or to cover most of a small room. An area rug that's too large for a small seating arrangement can make the space look cramped rather than intimate.

It's best for all of the legs of the furniture to be resting on a room-sized area rug to give a room a unified look, she told DecoratingStudio.com. With a very small rug, all the legs should be off the rug. In fact, Welch's rule of thumb is to always have all legs on or all legs off.

Let the floors show
Generally speaking, leaving an 18-inch border of wood flooring around an area rug looks best.

One exception to that is the placement of a dining room table. It's easier to move chairs when there is at least 24 inches beyond the edge of the table on all sides. That allows the back legs to stay on the rug when someone is sitting in the chair.

Area rugs can be used effectively in a bedroom as long as the size of the bed is in sync with the size of the rug. Heeney recommended that rugs placed under a bed should be large enough to extend beyond its sides -  18 inches for a king or queen bed and at least 12 inches for a full or twin bed.

Maintaining rugs
Rugs, like upholstery, can fade from too much direct sunlight. To prevent sun damage, try to shield direct sun with window treatments that will limit the amount of exposure.

Some rugs can be washed, but many have to be dry cleaned. Better Homes and Gardens magazine advised homeowners to keep the care tags on the rug or filed to remind them of the right cleaning method. While surface dirt can be vacuumed or brushed away, some rugs need special care.