How To Choose, Style And Care For Rugs & Mats

How To Choose, Style And Care For Rugs & Mats

Rugs can add texture, warmth and colour to your space and can be utilised in almost every room of the home. Rugs are easier to lay down and clean than a full layer of carpet and can go from the centrepiece of a room to a supporting role depending on your other living accessories.

Not sure if you want or need a rug (or two) for your home? Read on to discover which kinds of rugs and mats are right for you!

What Are The Best Rug Materials?

Rugs can be made from natural or synthetic materials, with each one having its own positive and negative qualities. Things like durability, softness and easiness of cleaning can all depend on the type of material, with large variances occurring between both categories.

Synthetic materials are commonly used for rugs, and these include polyester rugs, acrylic rugs and polypropylene rugs. Synthetic mats are usually durable and strong, easy to clean and come in a range of colours. Natural rugs you'll see include wool rugs, seagrass rugs, cotton rugs, sisal rugs and jute rugs. Natural rugs and mats can be a little trickier to care for, but feel wonderful underfoot and look incredible.

What Are The Best Rug Shapes?

Rug shape can be a tricky one, as it can be influenced by your furniture, the shape of the room and even the shape of any windows on the walls.

Round rugs go wonderfully underneath round dining tables and in circular rooms. But they can also be used to make smaller rooms seem large - the fact they don't extend to the corners of the space can make the floor space seem bigger than it is, making round living room rugs a smart choice for smaller lounge rooms.

Round rugs also invoke a less formal feel than square or rectangular rugs and are great for making rooms feel cosy, which is why you often see them used as kids' bedroom rugs and in nurseries.

If you want a really unusual and dynamic look, multiple round rugs layered in a single room can work wonders. Layer colour gradients or contrasting hues on your round rugs for maximum effect!

Rectangular rugs bring clean lines and a sense of formality to any room, and most of the time, bigger is better. Have your rug underneath your whole dining set, living area or bed if you can. If possible, try to keep at least 50 cm from the edge of your room to the edge of your rug, as living room rugs that extend all the way to the walls can make your room feel cramped. Smaller rectangular office rugs can go under side tables or desks. On the other hand, long rectangular rugs called runners can go down a hallway or at the foot/side of your bed. Ensure that any bedroom rugs you have are positioned or pinned so you won't trip over them in the dark.

How To Pick And Style The Best Rugs Per Room

While rugs and mats in the home have a functional purpose (i.e. keeping feet warm and connecting areas across the household), they're also an affordable way to introduce personality and originality into your home. Think of them as artwork for your floor.

Before you introduce a new rug or mat into a space:

  1. Measure the room and the spaces where you want to place your rug.
  2. Sketch a floor plan of your room on paper, marking out your furniture.
  3. Use your plan to experiment with putting your rug or mat in different spots until you settle on a favourite position.

Once you've completed this process, you can roll out your rugs and mats with confidence.

The type of rug or mat you use will depend on the base material of your floor. Do you have wooden floorboards, floor tiles or carpet? Rugs and mats can look great on all floor types but you'll need to match the floor with its covering to ensure it feels appropriate. For example, thicker rugs usually won't feel right on thick carpets but they can make a wooden or tiled floor cosier.

If you have a lot of space to work with, why not go big and invest in a designer rug? If you're in a smaller house or apartment, go for a modestly sized rug that introduces loads of character and charm.

Living room rugs

The living room is the space where you spend most of your leisure time at home, where you'll be watching TV, playing with your dog or just walking through it to get to other areas. Living room rugs will make any footwork in this area a little softer on your feet, plus they can protect your floor from any spills or damage - a rug is much easier to clean or replace than your floor!

Living room rugs can also be powerful decorating tools, so if you want a new centrepiece for your living room or just want to compliment another piece of furniture or art, some rugs for the lounge room can be just what you need.

Because of the high amount of foot traffic they receive, living room rugs should be made of durable materials like polypropylene or wool. Synthetic and wool rugs can withstand plenty of traffic, although they should be rotated every now and then to ensure they are worn evenly. Stylish rugs made of natural materials, like seagrass or jute rugs, are also appropriate for the living room as they look stunning and are hardy enough to withstand all sorts of wear and tear. Avoid fluffy rugs and shaggy rugs, as they will become compressed, matted and dirty.

Your living room rug should usually fit the size of the seating area. For example, when you're sitting on your sofa or favourite chair, you should feel your rug underfoot. If you are worried about your living room rugs shifting, try tucking the edge underneath your sofa or an armchair to help keep them in place.

If your room is painted neutrally, you can make a patterned or boldly coloured rug the focal point and design feature of the room. If the room colour scheme is already very strong, adding a simpler colour or a textured rug makes for a stylish touch that doesn't clash.

In a large, open-plan living space, you can use rugs for the lounge room to create separate zones. This is an interior decoration technique used by professionals to make a room more functional and draw your focus to certain areas.

While your rug can be a strong feature of your living room, make sure it doesn't overwhelm the space. Your choice of pattern and style should connect with your overall design scheme, balancing with any other fabrics, textures, colours and lighting elements.

Bedroom rugs

There are several great reasons for having one or two bedroom rugs, and there are options to suit small, medium and large bedrooms. We have plenty of bedroom rug ideas you can try!

If the floor of your bedroom is floorboard or stone, you will know the pain of cold toes in the morning. There's nothing worse than putting your feet, all toasty from a comfy night in bed, onto a freezing cold floor as you miss your slippers! You can avoid this pain with a soft bedroom rug, either running along the side of your bed or resting underneath the bed and poking out the sides.

Bedroom rugs can also be used for decoration. If you find your bedroom is looking a little plain, a colourful bedroom rug might be just the thing to liven it up!

In the bedroom, you can safely use rugs that normally wouldn't survive in a high-traffic area like the lounge room. Plush, fluffy rugs and high-pile shaggy rugs are comfortable choices that are well suited as bedroom rugs, as they won't be subject to the amount of foot traffic that could damage them. But other soft rugs, like wool rugs, can also be used effectively in the bedroom if you prefer. Avoid rough, thin rugs like sisal and jute rugs, as they won't hold any warmth and won't be pleasant to step onto in the morning. However, these types of rugs are great when used as kids' bedroom rugs, as kids playing on the floor will find them comfy to sit on, and parents will find them easy to clean!

One of the most important bedroom rug ideas is to remember to always leave space between your rug and the walls, and make sure your wardrobe doors don't bump into the rug when they open fully.

Dining room rugs

The dining room is usually a space you want to showcase for the family or for special guests. Like the living room, it's a room where a signature rug is a great investment. Your rug will usually sit under the dining room table, which means the shape of the table will dictate whether the rug is rectangular or circular.

Most experts recommend at least 60 centimetres of rug extending outside from the table and chairs. Go for a shorter pile rug and wearable material so it's easier to remove the crumbs or stains that often accompany a great night in.

If your furnishings and table are wooden or darker in colour, go for a lighter rug. If your table is glass and the decor is lighter, go for a pattern that will stand out. Use your rug as a starting point for the rest of your room design, if you can, or at the very least, try to think about your floor coverings in conjunction with your curtains and blinds.

Because there is a good chance some food will fall on it, make sure your dining room rugs are made from a material that is easy to clean and won't catch on the legs of your dining chairs. This rules out shaggy rugs and fluffy rugs, as they can be tricky to even spot clean, and the fluff will be worn down by the legs of your dining table and chairs. Sisal rugs, wool rugs and flat cotton rugs are all easy to spot clean, while synthetic rugs can be fully washed when you need to.

Bathroom mats

Your bath mat will be exposed to water each day, so make sure you select one that absorbs water and dries easily. Mats and rugs made specifically for the bathroom are your best bet.

You'll want to consider safety precautions like non-slip rubber backing or suction cups, especially if you have vulnerable people in the home. You can also invest in antibacterial rugs and mats to give you additional protection against moisture build-up and mould.

While there's no doubt your bathroom rug or mat needs to be practical, don't overlook your bathroom for style opportunities. There are many creative and colourful bathroom rugs or mats that can help dress up your bathroom or add a distinctive flourish to an overall theme. Many bathroom towel sets will come with a bath mat that matches your body towels, hand towel and face washer for a cohesive look.

Rounder rugs are better suited to smaller bathrooms, while larger areas can accommodate several rugs or mats near the toilet, bathtub or shower.

Kitchen mats

While the kitchen isn't the most common place for a rug, you may like to utilise a kitchen mat in a similar way to a bath mat. That is, a non-slip, absorbent mat in front of your sink to absorb any errant splashes from when you wash your dishes. You will probably need to wash your kitchen mat weekly, due to food stains as well.

Avoid fluffy, chunky carpets in the kitchen, as they are hard to clean and easy to trip over when carrying pots and pans!

Hallway runners

Your hallway or foyer gets a lot of traffic compared to other rooms in your home, so you'll need to choose a durable rug to withstand all those feet. Lighter-coloured rugs can help make your space look wider and longer by drawing the eye forward, whereas darker colours or patterns are less likely to show wear & tear from constant outdoor to indoor transitions.

Jute rugs and sisal rugs offer a sturdy and stylish option for foyers, while a classic woollen carpet runner sets a plush, cosy mood for visitors or those returning home after a long day at work.

Your hallway rug should complement your architecture and decor. If you have a period or older home with formal features, a more traditional design is the way to go. If the architectural features of your hallway are modern, you can make a striking statement with a brightly coloured motif. You should fit your hallway rug so you have an even amount of space around the edges, exposing some floor.

Clean & Care For Rugs

Other rug and mat accessories

We also have useful rug and mat accessories for your home, including:

  • Door mats: Keep dirt from entering your home with the right door mat. Make sure to have a doormat at your back door too, especially if you have an earthy backyard.
  • Door stops: Keep open doors in place and contain draughts from the outside with the right door stop or draught excluder.
  • Floor accessories: Keep your rugs and mats in place with any of our handy rug grippers, pads or underlays. They can all be cut to size to fit your rugs and will prevent any slips or curled edges.

How To Clean And Care For Rugs

Rugs are subject to all sorts of wear and tear, so it's important to take good care of them. Foot traffic, scrapes from furniture and drink stains all plague rugs and mats in homes, so make sure you are cleaning them in a way that won't damage the colour or texture of your rug.

Here are our top tips on how to clean rugs:

  • Dirt: Get the vacuum out, stat! If someone walks across your rug with dirty shoes or a pet has a bit too much fun in your backyard before coming inside, you need to get rid of the dirt as soon as possible. Once it gets stamped into the fibres of your rug, it becomes a lot harder to remove, so vacuum up the dirt while it is still loose. If the worst happens and you have a dirty smudge on your carpet, try wetting and blotting the stain from the outside in, so as not to spread the stain. If it is more stubborn, use a mixture of vinegar and warm water before you blot.
  • Wine: The big bad. Never leave a red wine stain until the day after your celebration, as a dried stain is much harder to clean. Blot up as much of the wine as you can with a paper towel, then pour a little cool water into the stain. This will loosen the red wine and allow you to lift more by blotting. When you can't lift any more of the stain, make a mixture of baking soda and water, in a ratio of 3:1. Apply the paste onto the stain and wait for it to dry before vacuuming up. If that doesn't work, you can try a professional carpet-cleaning mixture.
  • Coffee: Whether it be a full-blown spill or just a ring, you don't want the brown stain of coffee lingering on your rug. First, blot as much liquid as you can from the carpet. Once you aren't lifting anymore, add some cold water (much like with wine) and continue to dab. If there is still coffee left and you don't have carpet cleaning mixture on hand, you can make some with two cups of warm water, one teaspoon of white vinegar and one tablespoon of liquid dish soap. Apply with a clean cloth and dab away. Continue adding small amounts of cold water to the stain until you have blotted it all away.

There are two major things you need to remember when trying to clean your rug. One - never scrub! Vigorously scrubbing a stain will just mash the stain into the fibres of the rug. Two - if all else fails, call in the professionals.

And don't forget to check the label on your rug. Some rug materials, like cotton, are suitable for tossing in your washing machine.

If you are worried about rips or dents in your rug, consider the material. Soft, fluffy carpets like shag will become matted and dented if they are under furniture or in areas of high traffic, so save them for bedrooms. Carpets made of sisal and polypropylene are much more resistant to damage.

Common Rug Mistakes To Avoid

When choosing and styling your new rug, keep an eye out for these common mistakes.

  • Placing a rug that is too small under a dining table can be dangerous. If you slide your chair back and it catches on the edge of your rug, people can trip and fall - not something you want in an area with food and furniture! It can also cause scratches on your floor if the chairs are pushed back onto the same piece of the bare floor every time. Make sure your rug extends well past the back of a tucked-in chair at your dining table.
  • Hiding your rug under heaps of furniture is sad - show off your beautiful rug with pride! It's okay to have the back of a lounge chair or the top half of your bed off the carpet - that way you can extend it out and your lovely carpet will be on full display. These pieces of furniture won't be moving, so you won't be damaging the exposed floor.

Choosing the wrong material for the room can lead to the rug being damaged. Avoid thick, woollen rugs in areas with high humidity like a bathroom or kitchen, otherwise they can become mouldy and off-colour. Thin, soft rugs made of silk are wonderful for the bedroom but will be easily damaged in high-traffic areas like the living room. Natural materials like jute rugs are hardy but can feel rough underfoot, so shouldn't be used in places where you'll have bare feet.

Discover Stylish Rugs And Mats For Every Room At Spotlight

Now that you know all about which rugs and mats are best for your home, it's time to choose the perfect ones for your home. Shop at Spotlight and you can enjoy a huge range of rugs and mats at great prices, for every area of your house!

Make sure to browse the full range of rugs, mats and accessories online, where you can safely pay and have your order home delivered. Otherwise, pop by your nearest Spotlight store and our friendly team will help you choose the right rugs and mats for your home.




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