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There is no easier way to re-decorate any room in your home than by placing (or replacing) the area rug on the floor. It's a quick, simple and relatively inexpensive way to make a desired change. Certainly much easier than painting, wallpapering or hanging new window treatments - and incredibly less expensive than buying new furniture, light fixtures or artwork.
If you're lucky enough to have wood floors in the room you want to energize, all the better. Area rugs and wood floors were made for each other. But even if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, a new area rug can overcome a lot of deficiencies in the way the carpet affects the ambiance of the room.
Don't limit yourself to placing one large area rug in the center of the room. While this is a great way to warm up a large area, it can also make the room seem somewhat ordinary. Instead, consider creating focal points - places within the room that draw attention. A rug with some boldly contrasting colors to the room's main scheme can work wonders. Smaller rugs placed strategically near or underneath furniture can break the room's space into more inviting units. And remember - as easy as it is to pull up and replace area rugs - consider seasonal changes to the room to make it unique and inviting all year round.
OK. You've decided you want to decorate with area rugs. Of course your best source for ideas is going to be a website like Rugs Direct. But what should you consider as you start shopping?
First, determine the main purpose of the rug. Are you going to take our recommendation and use it to define a focal point in the room? Does the room need to be brightened? Softened? Warmed up? Or is the main goal to protect your valuable hardwood floors?
Is one rug going to do what you want to do, or should you consider several smaller ones? If there a place for a long runner? How would a round or octagonal rug look in this room?
Is this room particularly noisy? Are you hoping the rug will cut down on the sound of footsteps or other annoying echos in the room?
How much sunlight does the room get? You need to consider the material - or fibers - used to create the rug. Although wool is by far the most popular fabric for area rugs, a synthetic such as polypropylene (olifin) or acrylic can be more durable, more resistant to stains and easier to clean.
How much traffic does the room get? Again, wool is popular because it is durable and soft. But it is not a good idea to get it wet. There are many other more suitable fabrics for that situation, so you need to consider whether muddy, wet feet are going to come into contact with your rug.
Lastly, don't cheap-out and think you can get away with not putting a rug pad underneath your rug. This is critical on hardwood floors, but important for rug-on-carpet applications as well. Apart from the safety issue of not wanting your rug to slide underfoot, a pad will make the rug lie flat, extend its life tremendously and make it much easier to regularly vacuum.
Most importantly, with all the thousands and thousands of rug styles, colors, shapes and materials available, don't get overwhelmed! Decorating with an area rug can - and should - be fun. Look at photos in magazines and imagine what would translate well to your space. Then visit an online store with enhanced search capabilities to help you quickly narrow down the possibilities to the ones that appeal to you. Again, we recommend the Rugs Directory at Rugs Direct.