Learn how to choose an area rug perfect for your apartment.

In many instances, an area rug can be the missing ingredient to an apartment’s otherwise perfectly decorated living room or dining room. Rugs can add proverbial and literal warmth to a space, as well as impact its design. If you think an area rug should be your next furnishing purchase but you’re not sure where to start, follow the tips outlined in this guide.

Know your budget

Set a budget for an area rug well in advance of buying one. Don’t skimp here. If having an area rug you can enjoy for several years is important to you, it is important to buy the best rug you can afford. Save for a while if you have to. Rugs aren’t cheap, but it’ll be worth it.

Set size parameters

An area rug that is too large or too small won’t work, even if it’s perfect in every other way. Thankfully, sizing an area rug is easy if you follow a few simple rules. The rug should be at least two feet shorter than the narrowest wall in the room. If there’s a door that swings open into the room where the rug will be, there should be plenty of room for the door to clear the rug. Dining room area rugs should extend at least 18 inches beyond the table in all directions to accommodate chairs.

Shop around

When first considering area rugs, look far and wide. Don’t only browse rugs from retailers whose wares you expect to be able to afford. Look at the nicest, most expensive antique area rugs around. You may find one you love but can’t afford, and that’s alright. Rather than feel devastated that can’t buy that rug, let the rug you love inspire your search. You may find a high-quality rug that is similar in color, design, and texture, but is much more affordable.

Consider existing design

If you’re happy with the design and color scheme of the room you’re shopping for, let that dictate the style of the rug you choose. For rooms with a lot of color, this may mean choosing a neutral-shade area rug that won’t clash with what you’ve already got. On the other hand, a bold rug can make a big impact in a room with relatively soft-spoken decor.

Don’t settle

At the end of the day, it’s important that you love the area rug you choose for your apartment. Don’t rush a purchase you don’t feel very good about, even if it means you live without the area rug you want for your apartment for a month or two. Put time and energy into your search. Consult interior design experts or friends whose design sense you trust, but consider your own intuition as well.

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About Jason Ernst


Jason received degrees in International Studies, Economics, and German Literature from the University of Arizona in 2011, and has worked as a freelance writer ever since. His research and writing interests include interior decoration and design, home entertainment, history, art, architecture, and travel. He is currently a regular contributor to the AMLI Residential lifestyle blog. Circle Jason on Google+