How to choose a rug

In the final part of this series, Jo Messenger takes a look at the latest designs to add the perfect finishing touch to your rooms

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From flat-woven and worn antique rugs to luxurious deep-pile and sheepskin styles, the options are endless. Choose wisely, and a rug will add the perfect finishing touch to a space, but get it wrong, and your room will look awkward.

Many people buy rugs to protect a floor, like solid wood, room heavy furniture that might cause damage. If this is the case go for a rug that is hard wearing and thick. Alternatively, if you have gone for a real stone floor, or ceramic and porcelain tiles, a thick rug could be exactly what you need. If you have invested in a carpet in a relatively high traffic room, then it might be sensible to get a small rug to place near bottlenecks, like doors or corridors. This will stop the carpet from wearing out from the foot fall.

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Geometric patterns are a popular design for rugs this season and work particularly well with neutral walls and contemporary furniture. This Rose design is made from chenille cotton and costs £465 for W170xL240cm at Calligaris

What size rug should you buy?

There is conflicting advice regarding this, and there are no hard and fast rules. The most common mistake when buying a rug is to choose one that is too small for the space, which can appear uninviting. As a guide, if your rug is for a living room, there are various options: choose a big one, where all the furniture sits on it easily; just have the front legs of your sofa on top of it; or place it in front of the sofa, but close enough so that you can rest your feet on it.

A square or round rug works the best in a square room and a rectangular one in a rectangular space. For bedrooms, choose a large design to go under the bed, ensuring there’s enough of it on show around the edge to walk on, or buy individual runners to go on either side. The general advice for dining rooms is to choose a rug that is in proportion to the table, making sure it’s big enough to pull chairs out to sit on without the back legs coming off it.


Choose a luxurious deep-pile rug to contrast with a solid-wood floor. This Plush design in Sand is made from polyester and has a 5cm-thick pile for exceptional density. It is available in four sizes and costs from £99 for the smallest W70xL140cm size, up to £279 for the largest W150xL200cm option, from Housing Units

How to choose a rug?

Think about whether you want a statement or neutral rug to blend in seamlessly with your scheme. Do you want to define a space or unify it? Look at how much pattern is already in the room. If you have decorative wallpaper and soft furnishings, you might want to choose a single-colour design, whereas a patterned rug can really bring a neutral room to life. Try introducing a vertically striped rug to make a room feel longer, or create a widening effect with horizontal stripes.

If you want a plain rug, consider a textured design for a rich, layered style. Often, people choose a rug to try to pull a look together in a room – but think about buying a rug first and then designing the rest of your scheme around it. Geometrics are a key trend this season, as are big, bold contemporary designs, but if you are looking for something a little more understated, then go for a neutral style that won’t date quickly.


Bold and neutral, this Designers Guild Jindai Graphite statement botanical rug (above) features large sprays of Chinese brushwork illustrations. Deep-piled, the tufted W160xL260cm design is made from 100 per cent viscose and costs £1,145 from Houseology