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Do I Need An Area Rug?

patterned area rug in front of a fire place with two matching sofasArea rugs can really bring an entire look together and create cohesion in your space. You know that an area rug is a nice thing to have, sure, but … do you really need it?

You might even be looking at your space thinking: “You know what? It looks just fine without a rug!” And you may be right, but if you have that nagging feeling that your room is incomplete, perhaps an area rug is exactly what you need.

At McElheran’s Furniture + Design, we offer a wide selection of area rugs to fit any space. In fact, we have an entire rug centre! Should you feel the need to browse (and even take a sample home to try it out), that rug centre is all yours, but if you don’t want one, hey, that’s fine, too.  

Perhaps at this point, you just want to know what an area rug actually does for your space. Does it just look nice, or will it serve some sort of critical function that you should know about?

In this article, one of our Design Guides (AKA area rug guru), Shelley, will answer that burning question of “do I need an area rug?” and the benefits of having one. We’ll even discuss the benefits of not having an area rug – because you might be leaning in that direction anyway - and there’s nothing wrong with that!

And if your space already has wall-to-wall carpet, that’s a whole different ball game, isn’t it? We’ll chat about whether you need an area rug in that kind of room, too!

Do I actually need an area rug?

Not exactly, no.

You can certainly survive without an area rug, but from a design standpoint, an area rug can do a lot for your space. It’s at least worth looking into and weighing your options, anyway.

The benefits of an area rug

In addition to being a beautiful piece that can really pull an entire room together aesthetically, an area rug serves many practical functions, too.

area rug under sectional placed in front of an entertainment unit

Defines a space

Particularly if your home has an open layout, an area rug can help to distinguish different zones. An area rug gives your room an anchor; something to position your furniture around. It allows you to create your own space to suit your needs, instead of relying on the architecture of the room.

Provides warmth

Area rugs add warmth – literally and metaphorically! If your home is filled with tile or non-carpeted flooring, a rug can protect your feet from the chilly floors. Visually, it can also take your space from feeling cold and vacant to cozy and inviting.

Noise reduction

Area rugs help absorb sound in your home, so it’s not as loud. Actually, all of your soft furnishings (sofas and other seating) help to reduce echo and noise in your home.

Also, walking on an area rug is much quieter than on a hard, uncovered floor.

Reduces impact

Just like an area rug reduces the sound of footsteps, it can also lessen the impact a hard surface has on your body. Walking around on a hard surface all day can be tough on your feet and back, and an area rug can lighten the load on your joints.

Gives a starting point for space planning

Area rugs can be the perfect starting point if you’re re-furnishing and decorating an entire room. Shelley loves to start with an appropriately sized area rug and then space plan around it. Even if the rug is removed from the final plan, it’s a good way to get the ball rolling to determine the layout of a room.

Introduces more design

If you’re looking for more ways to express your personal style in your space, an area rug gives you another avenue for just that. Add more interest, pattern, colour, and texture with an area rug.

You can think of an area rug more like a piece of art, as opposed to just a mat to lay your furniture on top of.

The benefits of not having an area rug

living room with sofa, two chairs, three-tiered coffee table, two accent tables and no area rug

We’ve had clients in the past forgo an area rug. Everyone’s entitled to that, and there are certainly benefits to going without an area rug. It’s really about the look you’re going for with the room and how you want it to feel when you’re in it.

Saves money

Leaving an area rug out of your space saves you money because, well, you’re not buying another piece for your home. And if you eventually want an area rug, but it just doesn’t seem to be in the cards right now, you can always wait!

Lower maintenance

Area rugs are actually not too labour-intensive to take care of, but they do require some upkeep. And when it comes to spills, it’s generally easier to quickly wipe something off a non-carpeted floor than an area rug.

Area rugs do tend to collect dust and trap dander, too. Some pet owners like to skip the area rug to prevent pet hair from building up.

Related Article: Area Rug Care Tips: How to Look After the Rugs in Your Home

Less of a tripping hazard

With small children or seniors, it’s important to make your living space as safe and easy to navigate as possible. If the pile (thickness) of your area rug is quite high, it may be too cumbersome and almost more of a hazard for someone’s mobility.

That’s not to say that area rugs are dangerous – far from it, in fact! But, depending on who’s using your space, opting out of an area rug may be a safer option.

Allows your flooring to shine

If you have an intricately tiled area or want to show off the details of your flooring, you might want to avoid covering things up with an area rug. Sometimes the original construction and architecture of your home are all you need to create a space you love.

Less restrictive

Really, a key feature of an area rug is that it distinguishes a space, but perhaps you don’t need that. You may find that an area rug takes away from the flow of your room. Particularly if it’s ill-fitting, forcing an area rug into your space may end up restricting your design.

Can I layer an area rug over carpet?

Contrary to popular belief, you can definitely put an area rug over a carpeted area. Especially if your carpet is pretty neutral and leaves a lot to be desired from a design standpoint. Layering on an area rug is a great way to add an artistic element and introduce more texture and colour into your space.

And again, area rugs instantly create zones in your home. So, if you’re in need of something to distinguish one area from another – a rug is a great way to go. Yes, even if the room is already carpeted.

At McElheran’s, we’ve actually done this for quite a few clients, and it can make an amazing difference!

What size of area rug do I need?

If you’re feeling like yes, an area rug is necessary, just keep in mind that size plays a major role in whether it will work in your space or not. Check out “What Size Should My Area Rug Be In My Living Room?” to make sure you get it right – the first time!

We’ve mentioned a few times here that an area rug can really help in the overall layout and plan of a space – but it’s not a requirement, right? So, if you’d still like to make a space plan, but don’t think you need an area rug, we can help with that during an in-home consultation! Here’s how to prepare for one, so you get the most out of your appointment.

And if you’re in Edmonton, you can always drop by the showroom. Our Design Guides will be happy to direct you to our rug centre. And if you see something you think you like, you can actually take samples home with you at no obligation (just bring them back when you’re done, please!) 

download button for an area rug buying and maintenance guide