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Before You Buy


It goes without saying that we love area rugs at Greater Tennessee Flooring. Our feeling, of course, is that decorating your home should start from the ground up with an area rug. Proper rug choice can bring fresh excitement to your room and can impart comfort and warmth as well as tie together various elements of your architecture, furnishings and accessories. Quality rugs are available in nearly every price range and there are so many shapes, colors, materials and designs available to suit any and all design preferences.

First, visualize the “look” that you want to achieve. For example, your look could be an uncluttered and single-tone room or even one that is rich with color and various textures. Next, evaluate how the room is to be used. For instance, consider using a durable and/or patterned rug for high-traffic areas such as hallways and foyers.

If you are starting with a bare room, first choose a rug and then compliment the rug with paint colors or wallpaper selections. If you plan to incorporate a favorite painting or piece of furniture, pick up key colors from those pieces. There are few “rules” in interior design, but some useful generalizations follow. Light colored rugs tend to make a room look more spacious and deeper colors lend a look of coziness. A rug with a bold overall pattern can be the focal point of a room, with a sofa and chair in solid or subdued patterns. Consider using round, oval, octagonal or other shapes for a lively look.

Elements of an area rug’s design can be further incorporated into the overall design scheme. Patterns can be mixed if they are coordinated by color. For example, if a rug has a floral pattern try adding framed prints, pillows and/or flowers in similar colors.

How Do I Select The Design or Pattern?

DESIGN, STYLE & PATTERN – All area rugs can be divided into three major designs:

All-over, in which motifs are spread throughout the rug.

  • Medallion, where a large centerpiece is the focal point of the design.
  • One-sided, in which the design is woven in one direction.

Additionally, designs can be intricate or simple, solid, or feature borders.

Style can be defined as the way different motifs, colors and patterns give character to a rug. Styles range from floral to casual to contemporary to traditional. They can also reflect a season, or a theme (nautical, birds, water). Roll out your favorite!

Pattern is one of the most helpful elements in narrowing down rug selection, after size and color. We define pattern as the way lines are used to form shapes on a rug. In the rug industry, pattern is divided into three categories: curvilinear, geometric, and pictorial. The first two refer to rugs with conventional motifs that are woven with curving lines (curvilinear) or straight lines (geometric). The third (a much smaller group) refers to area rugs that portray people and/or animals.

What Size and Shape?

SIZE & SHAPE   – Unless you are having a custom area rug made, choosing the right size rug for your room and function may be a compromise based on standard area rug sizes. The most common sizes tend to be 4×6, 6×9, 8×10, 9×12 and 10’x14’. Smaller sizes are often used under a coffee table or in a foyer, for example. Dining rooms and living rooms often can handle larger sizes such as 8’ by 10’ up to 10’ by 14’. Smaller area and “scatter” rugs can be ideal for use in small spaces or at hearthside, bedside or in front of a kitchen sink; perhaps where a splash of color is wanted.

You should know that most rugs are rectangular and are made in all standard sizes. As a general rule, choosing the correct size area rug depends on the dimensions of the room or space you are trying to cover.

Follow these guidelines to determine what size area rug will best suit your needs:

Measure the size of your room.

  • Measure the space you want covered. Now place a piece of paper where each of the corners will fall; adjust the “corners” as needed to make the space larger or smaller and then re-measure the area. Be patient and careful. What works really well is to use some old newspaper to lie in the area you are placing the rug. This way you can fold and shape it very easily then stand back and look at it to get a better visual of how the size of the rug will work in the space. Once you have settled on the size measure the paper. It is best to come into the showroom knowing what the widest and narrowest the rug can be and what the longest and shortest that will work. This way you will have a broad assortment of rugs to pick from.
  • If you want to cover the majority of the room, be sure to leave a 12”-15” border of flooring exposed to set off your area rug.

If you are placing an area rug under your dining room table, select a rug that is large enough so that when seated at the table, the back legs of the chairs are on the rug with enough space to push back and get up from the table. The rule of thumb is that you will want to measure the table and add a minimum of two feet to all sides. For example if your table measures 4’ x 6’ it would look like this: 4’ + 2’ + 2’ = 8’ so you would need a rug at least 8’ wide. For the length it would be 6’ + 2’ + 2’ = 10’. This means you would need a rug to be a minimum of 8’ wide by 10’ long for this size table. If the space will handle it the perfect situation would be that the rug was 2’ 6” bigger all around that the table.

The most common shape of area rugs is rectangular. There are many designs that also are available in round, square, octagon, oval and runners. Many times when a customer needs a shape other than rectangular we make it for them in any shape or dimensions needed. The cost for this many times is the same as ready made rugs. The only downside is that is usually takes ten days to three weeks to complete the rug.

WEAR – Choose a rug that will look and perform well, with the right combination of fiber and density. Wool and synthetic yarns (nylon, polyolefin, acrylic, etc.) are durable, soft and easy to clean. Additionally, the denser the pile, with closer tufts, knots or stitches, the better your rug will wear. Remember to periodically turn your rugs 180° in the room to equalize wear and sun exposure.

Think of non-skid underlay padding as a part of your rug purchase. Not only does it keep your rug in place, it also helps to absorb impacts, protects floors, reduces wear, adds comfort and makes cleaning easier and more effective.

Closely follow the cleaning instructions for your rug to obtain the best wear performance. Do not use a vacuum cleaner beater bar when cleaning fringe or long-fiber rugs. You should also have your area rugs professionally cleaned annually.

Finally, be calculating! Figure the total cost of area rug ownership.

The price on the tag of the rug you’re buying is just one component of your cost. To ensure there are no surprises, and the rug you select fits within your budget, be sure to ask us to calculate the total cost of your project.

Here’s a list of potential additional expenses you may incur:

  • Oriental rug delivery. Delivery of your rug and installation materials (padding) to your home may or may not be included in the price you’re quoted.
  • Financing or other special payment options.
  • Don’t forget to ask us and consult the manufacturer’s warranty and care guide for directions on how frequently your area rug should be cleaned and the cost to clean it.

There’s a lot to know and consider before buying your new area rug but it’s well worth the effort. Area rugs add beauty and style, charm and elegance, personality and pride to any home.

We hope this section adds more knowledge, understanding and practicality to your area rug shopping experience.