Area rugs can be a dramatic improvement to your living space—they add personality, beauty, and texture to any room of a home, whether that's a living room, bedroom, or home office. Choosing an area rug can be an intimidating task, as you have to account for the space you need as well as evaluate your current furniture in that room. Ultimately, an area rug can take a space from bare and empty-looking to warm and cozy.

It's important to consider the type of room your area rug will live in your home. Living rooms are a popular place to put an area rug as homeowners spend a lot of time in their living rooms relaxing, entertaining, and walking through. Choosing a rug should include some serious thought about the purpose of that room and the cleanliness level you maintain there. If you have small children or track a lot of dirt into your living room, a shag or lightly-colored area rug may not be the best choice.

Also, is your flooring beneath the area rug a cream or ivory tile, or wood laminate? Considering your base is an important step of choosing an area rug that truly complements the space. A light rug against light tile, or a brown rug against wooden flooring can defeat the purpose of an area rug—which is to highlight and add drama and balance to a room.

Designers recommend you choose an area rug prior to other furniture in the room, as it lays a foundation for the rest of the room and the homeowner or renter can choose accents and paint colors around the area rug. However, it's also completely okay to reverse that order. Just know that starting with a clean slate can make the choice of a rug a little easier.

The quality of your rug is important—the more well-made and durable the rug, the longer it will last. Wool rugs become softer and develop a great texture over time. If you suspect your rug will experience a lot of spills, consider choosing stain-resistant materials or dark colors.

One rule to live by is to choose a rug that is two feet shorter than the smallest wall of the room you plan to put the rug in. This ensures your rug isn't too big and won't swallow the room. Do you like taking design risks? Is your style edgy and modern? Consider a circular rug or one with interesting, unusual features.

An area rug can add so much warmth to a space, making your home look lived in and stylish. Considering your furniture, accents, style of rug and rug size are all key factors in your decision. No matter what you choose, an area rug is an exciting addition to your home decor.

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