Lets start by looking at how to choose the correct size. In most cases, at least the front legs of sofas and chairs in a seating arrangement should sit on the rug, thereby connecting the various furniture pieces together whilst creating a sense of decent proportion. Some say that the rug should be large enough in order for all the legs of the relevant furniture to be placed on the rug. I do not believe this should be cast in stone. If you are able obtain a large enough rug, I would rather suggest that you use a combination of the two, therefore some front legs on and some all the legs on the rug. This will add some variation and interest.
If you wish to place a rug under your bed, a minimum of 50cm should extend beyond the sides and bottom end of the bed, preferably more. Less would make the rug look insignificant compared to the size of the bed. Looking at standard rug sizes and a queen size bed (152cm wide), I would suggest a rug of should be at least 200 x 290cm, placing the bed as shown below. If the rug is too small, rather place it at the bottom of the bed.
For a dining room it is easiest to move dining chairs if the rug extends at least 60cm on all the sides of the table. This will allow the back legs of the chairs to be on the rug, even when being used. If possible, always rather go for bigger than smaller. For a round table with a diameter of 110cm I would suggest a standard size rug of 240 x 300 cm (square and round rugs are not commonly available). For a rectangular table of 110cm x 180cm, a rug of 240cm x 340cm would be required. Furniture should be placed as shown below:
For entry halls and hallways, the rug should cover the majority of the walking area. For safety purposes, I always suggest a nonslip under layer where an area rug is used over any hard surfaces, such as tiles, wooden floor, vinyl etc.
Once you have decided the size of the rug, first of all consider your budget. Always buy the best quality you can afford, even if that means going without the rug for a while until you have saved up enough to by what you want. Lets look at a few rug options available on our market.
Natural fibers are considered to be environmentally friendly, renewable and use fewer chemicals in production, therefore good options. But the composition of a rug determines its price tag.
Wool is a popular choice for various reasons. It wears well and looks better over time when it has gained some character. It is naturally flame retardant and moist resistant. Wool rugs are easy to clean when it comes to normal every day dust and grime. It is however sensitive to chemicals and a stain (e.g. red wine spill) will not be easily removed without damaging the rug. Wool rugs are also expensive.
Jute and sisal are made from natural plant fibers and are less expensive than wool. They are coarse, not soft like most other rugs. Jute is softer than sisal, but much less durable than sisal. They are unfortunately prone to staining and very difficult to clean, most stains will stick. They are also prone to shedding over time.
Synthetic (man-made) rugs make up a big portion of the rug market. Synthetic fibers are popular for various reasons, including cost, strength and durability, and stain resistance.
Nylon is probably the most well known of the synthetic fibers. Nylon is strong with high resiliency to recover after being flattened or compacted, therefore being generally very durable. Of the synthetic types, nylon is generally more expensive than the others, and less stain resistant.
Polyester is very versatile and due to technological advancements in production, it has become more durable than it has been in the past, making it a very popular choice. One of its biggest advantages is its built-in stain resistance. In addition polyester rugs are often made of recycled materials, therefore making them more environmentally friendly than some of its counterparts.
Olefin is well-liked as it is similar in appearance to wool. It is typically considered to be less durable than most other synthetic fibers, but extremely stain resistant, and so is suitable for areas prone to spills. It is also very fade-resistant.
When selecting a rug, also consider the foot traffic the rug will get. For high traffic areas such as hallways, family rooms, kitchen and entrance halls, select rugs that are durable, stain-resistant and easy to clean. For those rooms that receive medium traffic or furniture scuffing, such as the dining room and home study opt for durability and easy maintenance. For bedrooms, formal living rooms and guest rooms which all receive low foot traffic, go for luxury by selecting a rug that is plush and soft under your bare feet, lighter in colour as they are also less prone to spills. Here your can spend a bit more as these rugs get the least wear and tear.
No fiber is completely perfect, but if proper care is taken when selecting the rug you should be able to meet most of your requirements.