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Whether you want to cover an old floor or add new life to a room’s design, decorative area rugs can be an affordable and inspiring element. The hardest decision is choosing from the vast number of options.

Machine-made
Often one of the more affordable choices, machine-made rugs are available in a virtually never-ending number of choices, from designs and color to pattern and texture.

Handmade
Popular for their one-of-a-kind detail and the history woven into them, handmade rugs can add a great deal of character. When buying a handmade rug, the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) suggests considering the rug’s overall condition, which can be classified as:

  • Fine: A rug in excellent shape with no stains, tears or holes and no previous repair work.
  • Average: A rug that may have undergone or may require some minor repair.
  • Worn: A rug that may have discoloration, fading, insect or foundation damage.

Matter of age
If you are considering a Persian, Oriental or other antique handmade rug, only time will tell how well it will hold up in your household. According to the WFCA, rugs fall into three timeline categories.

  • Antique: Over 60 years old.
  • Semi-antique: Some of the best interior designs feature new and interesting combinations of colors that either contrast or complement a room’s color scheme.
  • Contemporary: Less than 25 years old.

Creative colors
Rugs can serve as the foundation for a room’s overall design, so color can be one of the most important factors to consider. However, you don’t have to select a rug that is within your room’s palette of colors. Experts with the WFCA say say some of the best interior designs feature new and interesting combinations of colors that either contrast or complement a room’s color scheme.

Cost considerations
Your rug isn’t the only price tag to consider when creating your floor-covering budget. For example, do you want to purchase padding to go under your area rug? Will you need to pay for delivery? Or, if financing, what will putting your purchase on a payment plan really add up to?

While picking the perfect rug can mean calculating a number of considerations and costs, it will be a purchase that can provide a big design payoff that is well worth the footwork.

Size and Shape

Area rugs are made in different sizes and shapes. The most common sizes are: 2 by 3 feet, 4 by 6 feet, 5 by 8 feet, 6 by 9 feet and 8 by 10 feet. The typical shapes are rectangle, circle, square, oval or octagon.

Measurements Matter

As a general rule, choosing the correct size area rug depends on the dimensions of the room or space you are trying to cover. Follow these guidelines to determine what size rug will best suit your needs:

  • Measure the size of your room.
  • Measure the space you want convered.
  • Place a piece of paper where each of the corners will fall; adjust the "corners" as needed to make the space larger or smaller and then re-measure the area.  Be patient and careful.
  • If you want to cover the majority of the room, be sure to leave a 12-to-15-inch border of flooring exposed to offset your area rug.

Dining Note

If you are placing an area rug under your dining room table, select a rug that is large enough so that when seated at the table, the back legs of the chairs are on the rug with enough space to push back and get up from the table.

 — World Floor Covering Association, www.wfca.org

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