Area rugs warm bare floors, enhance décor

“Our lives are not totally random. We make commitments, we cause things to happen.” Wendy Wasserstein (1950-2006), American playwright, “The Messiah,” Bachelor Girls

Q: I recently moved into a home with tile floors and I am at a loss at how to deal with the proper handling of rugs. My boyfriend thinks we should show off the tile. I do not like the look or the echo. We have several large spaces and tables that I think would look better with rugs underneath. Chair legs scratch, and it would be nice to have a soft/warm place for toes under the coffee table.

Do people mix colors and shapes? I don’t want it to get too busy and I am really afraid to purchase rugs and bring them home because I have no idea how they’ll look in place or combination with the other rugs. How do I start?

I am excited to have a new home, but this is stressful. I want it to look right but these floors are unlike any I’ve dealt with before. Thanks for any suggestions.

A: I agree with you; tile or hardwood floors are beautiful and practical but you must have area rugs to make them more usable and comfortable.

While you want to show off your floors, rugs finish the room, make the floors more “homey” and add much-needed warmth. Whether summer or winter, tile floors can be cold and hard on your feet and legs.

Using an area rug accomplishes many things. In addition to adding warmth, the texture and color of an area rug will enhance your overall décor. Having a bare floor, regardless of how beautiful it may be, is just not very inviting. By choosing colors that complement furnishings, wall color and fabrics in the room, the rug will tie the entire scheme together and make the room much more cohesive.

Hearing shoes clomp around on bare floors is not a pleasant sound and rugs will soften that sound, while protecting your floors. Rugs also are great dirt catchers when placed in entryways. This prevents dirt from being tracked throughout your home.

Rugs also are very versatile. It’s lovely to have a wool or silk rug in the winter and switch it out for sisal or coir in the summer. Using rugs gives you a lot of versatility in your space and may provide almost any mood you wish.

Area rugs also ground your space and pull seating and dining areas together. Placing an area rug within the sofa/chair configuration will add the finishing touch and make it a true conversation area.

If you are starting from scratch with your furniture, you might start with a large area rug for your largest room and use that as your inspiration for the rest of the room.

Different patterns, textures and colors can certainly be used in the same room. There should be something to tie them together, probably a color that can be found in each rug.

Different areas of the home require different shapes. A seating area or a dining table would most likely look best with a square or rectangle rug. An oval rug would soften the area a little more.

Hallways or kitchens make ideal places for runners. These usually range from 2 feet to 3 feet wide and 5 feet to 8 feet long.

Bare floors can present safety considerations as well. Placing area rugs with rug pads on hardwood or tile floors can reduce the chance of slipping on the bare floor.

And did I mention that area rugs are very versatile. They can be moved from room to room as the mood strikes you, which give you more decorating options.

Enjoy your new tile floors, but for a multitude of reasons, buy area rugs for your space. You will not regret that investment.

Carolyn Muse Grant is the founding president of the Architectural & Decorative Arts Society, as well as an interior design consultant/stylist specializing in home staging. Her Inside Spaces column appears weekly in the Home section of the Review-Journal. Send questions to

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