Interiors advice - a well-chosen rug can set the tone of a room

Tuck rugs under seating

Tuck rugs under seating - Credit: Archant

Rugs can add style to any living space if carefully chosen, says Justine Kirkham

A well-chosen rug can set the tone of a room, create a focal point or tie a scheme together perfectly. But take your time choosing from the many different sizes, designs, colours and materials that are available and follow some simple rules to avoid expensive mistakes. Don’t buy a rug simply because you like it. Think instead about your lifestyle. For example, high pile, light-coloured shaggy rugs are not the best choice for families with young children and pets or in high traffic areas but it’s perfect if the space is your favourite place to sit on the floor to watch TV; you will love a thick pile rug to give you a cosy seat against the hard floor. My favourite is at my bedside – soft underfoot exactly when I need it the most.

A decorative rug adds warmth and helps to create a more inviting space. They are useful in large rooms with hardwood floors where furniture can get lost. Choose a rug that is slightly longer and wider than the furniture and tuck it underneath each piece so that it ties the room together. I always like to see rugs tucked under seating, it gives them a purpose rather than being abandoned in the middle of a room.

A rug in an open plan living area can help define a space such as the dining area. A dining room rug will also protect a hardwood floor and eliminate the harsh sound of chairs scraping across it. If you choose a neutral colour rug, remember to go for a deeper shade than the flooring to provide contrast. Rugs with added bamboo and silk add a subtle sheen and are very popular. Use natural sisal rugs for warmth, especially in conservatory areas and garden rooms to complement Lloyd Loom style furniture.

Show off your style with a rug in the foyer and entrance hall. Use this opportunity to experiment with colour. Buy an interesting rug - the largest that you can afford for that particular space. Beware: small rugs in hallways and large living spaces don’t work well.

Justine Kirkham is the head interior designer at James Brindley, Harrogate

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