There’s good reason area rugs should carpet a room. They’re practical, providing cushion, comfort and warmth over a concrete, tile or wood floor. But they also provide artistic value to a room’s design. Considered artwork for the floor, which acts as the frame, size does matter — and it’s often a big concern for the homeowner unsure of how to create that well-balanced space.

So designers say start with the area rug first. From its design, you can choose colors to paint your walls and find throw pillows and paintings to complete the decor. Just make sure to follow this rule of thumb: The area rug should be a minimum of six inches and no more than two feet away from the wall. When you take into consideration the different uses, shapes and design preferences, however, other factors weigh in as well.

Imagine you are leading guests on a tour of your home. As you walk from one room to the next do you see a consistent design aesthetic or do some rooms jump out because they have not yet been updated? If after this tour you decide to freshen the neglected rooms, where would you start? Many decorators start with the rug as it makes it easier to find complementary fabrics, paint colors and accessories. However, choosing a rug raises such questions as- how well matched do rugs in adjoining rooms have to be? Should you even try to match area rugs in adjoining rooms or should they all be different? Are there rules for how to coordinate different area rugs? how do you put oriental rugs in adjoining rooms? how to pick complementing designer rugs for one room? and how to have area rugs in adjoining living and dining rooms?

You can use two matching carpets for the living and dining areas of an open plan room and then add variety be picking different colors for the upholstery in the two spaces such as yellow and gold for the living area and red and gold for the dining area.

A key rule for choosing rugs for adjoining rooms or for an open plan room is to choose rugs that have complimentary patterns and have one or two colors in common. The key to picking complementing rugs for one room is to pick rugs that have at least one color in common. Area rugs in adjoining living and dining rooms can be linked by one color and have very different designs.

First, study what is in the home already. If you are looking for a dining room rug, look and see what the room opposite has and what’s going on in the hallway and in the foyer and then look at what’s going on in the room opposite that. If there is a very strong rug in, say the living room, which is opposite the dining room, then work with those colors and choose a rug that has a complementary design. Pick a rug for the dining room that does not compete with the living room rug.

Every star needs a supporting actor and the same is true for rugs. A good supporting rug enhances the beauty of the statement rug by giving it context, but does not compete with it for attention. Look for supporting rugs that carry through some of the colors of the statement rug.

Avoid the temptation of matching the of the rugs too perfectly. When colors are matched too closely, the room will lack energy. Interior designers call this “matchy, matchy” decorating because these rooms lack energy and excitement. Rooms are more interesting when their colors are related, but not the same. Juxtaposing rugs with different shades of the same color, or rugs that have one color in common will create a more sophisticated look.


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