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posted: 7/15/2014 5:30 AM

Make your room pop with the right area rug

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  • Living room furniture can be placed either on or off an area rug.

    Living room furniture can be placed either on or off an area rug.

By Joseph Pubillones

There is hardly a room that doesn't need an area rug. It is that item that puts a finishing touch on any room. Rugs can turn a room that seems not quite finished into a space that has that WOW factor. Selecting a rug involves making some design decisions from the onset. It's almost like selecting a work of art. You should be looking for quality, style, pattern and colors. Don't be afraid to choose a rug. Get on board and take a magic ride.

Quality rugs will last a long time, so choose carefully and look for craftsmanship over a machine-produced area rug. The most important fact is that you should love your rug. A quality rug can outlive your wall color, decorative pillows, drapes, sofa and even your house -- and even you -- so don't get all crazy with matching colors. Don't get me wrong -- your carpet should complement your decor, but it needn't be an exact color match. As a matter of fact, subtle variations in color and patterns between rugs in a room are good, as they lend your rooms an added layer of interest and sophistication.

Before heading out to purchase a rug, be clear in your mind about the intentions of the rug. Is it intended to make a bold statement, or do you prefer something discreet and demure?

The size of a rug can make a room seem bigger or smaller depending on its dimensions. A large rug can unify several seating areas. Conversely, several smaller rugs can break a large room into a smaller and more human scale. My advice is to always buy the largest area rug that your current location will allow; however, that doesn't mean your rug needs to go from wall to wall. Rugs can go from 6 inches from the walls all around the room to 24 inches from the wall to allow a sideboard or other small piece of furniture to sit fully off the rug.

I often get asked which rooms should have rugs. The answer is that almost any room can use a rug.

In a dining room, for example, the central portion of a rug will be covered by the table, and therefore a center medallion type rug will not be visible. In addition, dining room rugs require at least 30 inches from the edge of the table all around to accommodate chairs being pulled out.

Bedrooms also face a challenge. Most of the rug will be covered by the bed, and so only very little of the design is left visible. An alternate to the one-rug concept is to use two smaller area rugs on either side of the bed.

The main concern with living rooms and family rooms is whether you place the furniture on or off the rug. Either way is correct. A small rug with the furniture off it is OK, but it might give the impression that you are skimping out on a larger carpet because of budget. I always prefer larger rugs that are underneath the furniture. Rugs do not need to be placed centered in the room. They can be placed off-center to one side and yet underneath a furniture grouping.

• Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Fla.


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