Mar 24, 2022

Do It Better: The ABCs of Rugs: Accents, Benefits, Care

By Joyce Venezia Suss

Hardwood, laminate and tile are common flooring choices among homeowners and interior designers, but many people still have a soft spot for rugs. With a wide range of colors, shapes and sizes, rugs are multi-tasking home accessories that are practical and decorative.


With an incredible selection of artistic designs and shapes, rugs can add dramatic flair to any space. Even porches and patios can be decorated with outdoor rugs. Whatever your décor style – modern, retro, minimalist, rustic and more – rugs can enhance with color, pattern and texture.

Renters with plain white walls can use rugs to add color to the space. Bold or dramatic rugs are good companions for neutral upholstered furniture. Area rugs also break up a vast expanse of bare floor, adding visual interest to a room and defining different areas, especially in open concept spaces. 

The size of the rug depends on how much furniture it will anchor. In seating areas with a couch, the rug should be wide enough to fit under the front legs. If the rug is not that large, center it under the coffee table. In a dining area, a rug should be roughly four feet longer and wider than the table, so chairs will not hang over the edge of the rug when diners push them out.

Rooms with dark floors – or hallways without windows – can be brightened with a light color rug or runner.

If you get tired of a design or want seasonal colors, rugs are easy to switch out. Many home décor stores have options in a wide range of prices, and rugs are easy to store or pack if you move.


Rugs also have several practical purposes. They protect wood floors from scratching and wear in high-traffic locations. Area rugs are sometimes even placed over wall-to-wall carpeting to protect from soil, spills and foot traffic.

During cold months, it’s nice to walk barefoot on a soft rug, especially in a basement, or in a room above an unheated basement. Children – and many adults – like to sit or even lie on the floor, and a rug provides comfort. Toddlers learning to walk are cushioned when they fall.

Rugs near entrances capture dirt, mud and seasonal pollen carried in by people and pets. Rugs also hide imperfections like cracked tiles or scratched wood floors.

If you rent an apartment, some buildings require area rugs to mute noise for tenants who live below. Rugs also absorb echoing sounds in large rooms, especially if a pad is placed underneath.

Some think rugs are bad for allergies, but others believe rugs are healthier because they capture airborne particles that can be removed by vacuuming.


Over time, direct sunlight can cause rug colors to fade. To prevent an uneven look, rotate area rugs several times a year.

Vacuums with a HEPA filter are best for removing dust, pet dander and tracked-in irritants from rugs. Vacuum at least once a week, and more often for an active family.

Spills should be treated as soon as possible before they set. Dab the stain with a cloth to soak up as much liquid as possible, and use professional cleaning solutions if necessary. Animal stains are best treated with enzyme cleaning products.