Home Decorating and Staging
Insider Secrets to a Beautiful Home

Area Rugs

Area Rugs

Stagers and decorators love area rugs. They're like jewelry for the floor. They can:

  • Pull together a seating arrangement.
  • Create a theme.
  • Define a color scheme.
  • Direct attention away from outdated furniture.
  • Help sell a home.

A Rug Can Detract from Outdated Furniture

The challenge of staging a home with outdated furniture frequently comes up when grown children have to sell an elderly parent's property.

Sometimes it makes sense to get rid of the old furniture and rent staging furniture to mimic the "Pottery Barn" look that younger buyers like. But that can be expensive and cost is always a consideration.

If you're uncertain which way to go, a good realtor should be able to advise you on what you can hope to get for the property and what age group is buying. If you decide to work with the furniture in the home, an area rug can help update the look.

Living Room Before

Living Room After

Staging Details:

  • Everything was removed except the sofa, chair and coffee table.
  • The carpet was a light beige so we just cleaned it.
  • Pink walls were painted Sherwin Williams Kilim Beige, a neutral wall color.
  •  A new 8'x 10' rug in green, rust and muted red worked with the furniture so we used it to define our color scheme. Never ignore outdated pieces, minimize them.
  • Modern, graphic artwork distracts from the old fashioned sofa and chair.
  • Coffee table display is another nice distraction.
  • New silk pillows pick up the shimmer in the art and add sparkle.
  • A tall silk tree softens a corner and emphasizes the vaulted ceiling.

A Rug Defines a Theme for a Colorado Cabin

Cabin Before

Cabin After

Decorating Details:

  • This little cabin in the Colorado Rockies underwent a major transformation (Colorado Cabin Remodel).
  • More windows to enjoy the views.
  • New hardwood floors.
  • New walls were painted Sherwin Williams Nomadic Dessert, a tan that can stand up to the bright Colorado sunshine.
  • The furniture was old, but sturdy and comfortable, like alot of cabin furniture.
  • A new 5'x8' rug defines the sitting area, creates a theme, and diffuses the outdated colors in the plaid love seat.
  • A chunky dark wood coffee table looks more at home than the formal round one.
  • New pillows continue the Native American theme and pull the look together.
  • If you're craving the beauty of Colorado, this Red Feather Lakes cabin is a vacation rental at VRBO.

Basic Area Rug Guidelines

  1. Your furniture arrangement will give you clues as to the right size and shape rug you need.
  2. A 5'x8' rug is usually sufficient for most seating arrangements and your furniture will generally look best surrounding the rug.
  3. An 8'x10' or larger rug will be heavier and harder to work with, but will look richer. Your furniture will look best sitting on it.
  4. If your rug has lots of different colors, repeat those colors in artwork, pillows, and accessories.
  5. If your rug has a strong pattern, mixing fabric patterns can help you get the mix right.
  6. Look at the shape created by your sofa, love seat and chairs. Turn your rug so that it fits that shape. The sofa or love seat is usually the largest piece so that's where you want the "long" side of the rug.
  7. When using a 5'x8', place the feet of your largest piece of furniture one or two inches onto the edge of the rug to hold it in place and visually "ground" it.

Image West Elm

Rugs can receive a lot of traffic and sometimes accidental spills. Stain Removal Tips is a good resource on how to safely remove most stains and keep your area rugs looking beautiful.

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Alex Hinst is the author of Home Decorating and Staging and owner of Alex Hinst Designs, located in Denver's Historic Highlands.

Alex Hinst Designs has hundreds of success stories in both private and investor home renovations and is dedicated to helping you create your perfect home.