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Tips for Using Area Rugs on Hardwood Floors

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Tips for Using Area Rugs on Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are a beautiful feature of any home, displaying an air of natural elegance. They come in various species and colors, ranging from familiar and affordable to exotic and expensive. Despite their natural beauty, some hardwood floors leave a room feeling bare or uncomfortable. Is it poor practice to cover them with area rugs?

Hardwood floor owners often use area rugs to bring a room to life. The combinations are endless — get creative to find the perfect pairing for your living spaces. The hardwood floor experts at 50Floor are here to help you determine the best area rugs to use when decorating rooms with hardwood flooring.

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6 Design Tips for Decorating With Area Rugs on Hardwood Floors

Every room in your house is different, and each area rug and hardwood floor combination will serve a different purpose. Here are some tips to help you choose the right area rug for your room:

1. Clean the Area Before Laying Down the Rug

People often use area rugs on their hardwood floors to cover stains, scratches or other imperfections. If this is the case for you, you must remember to clean the area that you’re covering before laying down the carpet. Trapped dirt and oil under the rug can further damage and stain the hardwood flooring beneath. If you move the carpet later, you’ll discover the scratches and discoloration left behind.

You should sweep, mop and dry the area thoroughly before laying down your area rug. This will ensure that the hardwood is free of any substance that could cause damage. Take this precaution to invest in the longevity and beauty of your hardwood floors.

2. Use Rugs that Enhance a Room’s Function

Use Rugs that Enhance a Room's Function

Consider the room’s function when choosing a rug. Is the room a heavy traffic area? Will children play in the room? What type of furniture is in the room? Ask yourself these and similar questions to determine the right area rug for a particular room.

Use a runner carpet in your high-traffic hallways to protect the hardwood floors from damage. Consider a thick, shaggy rug in your living room to add a layer of defense against scuffs and scratches from couches, chairs and tables. In your home office, you may opt for a thin area rug so your office chair can still roll around with ease. Each area rug in your home should coincide with the room’s purpose.

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3. Use a Non-Slip Rug Pad

When you add an area rug to a room, you run the risk of the rug moving on the hardwood’s smooth surface. This could damage the hardwood and result in people tripping and injuring themselves. You can solve this issue with a non-slip rug pad.

These thin, slightly sticky layers go beneath your area rugs to keep them in place. They protect your hardwood floor from damage as well as your family and guests from an accidental fall. Make sure your pads are a combination of felt and rubber, as these will be gentler on your floors than padding consisting entirely of rubber.

4. Choose the Right Sized Rug

Your area rugs can bring attention to certain parts of the room. They can also give the impression that a room is bigger than it actually is. Choosing the right sized area rug is crucial in setting the tone for the room.

If you want to protect your floors, choose an area rug large enough to fit every piece of furniture atop it. If you want to make a section of the room stand out or visually divide an open layout, choose a smaller rug that sets the area apart from the rest of the space. Using a large rug in a small room can help make the room feel bigger.

5. Leave the Permiter Bare

Hardwood flooring is an attractive part of your home, so you should leave some of it exposed to keep its beauty visible. Leave several inches of the hardwood uncovered around the perimeter of the area rug to allow for new aesthetic possibilities.

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Leaving an equal distance exposed on each side draws people’s attention to the center of the room. The perimeter of bare hardwood also adds texture and variety to the room. You’ll impress your guests with the beautiful contrast between the hardwood and the rug. Even though the area rug might cover a majority of the floor, leaving some hardwood exposed could actually enhance its elegance and appeal.

6. Consider Various Color Combinations

The color scheme of your room is a powerful force, affecting how you feel upon entering. When deciding a room’s color scheme, consider your area rug as well. Will it contrast with the color of your hardwood floor or blend in? Consider how the color combination of your area rug and hardwood floor might change your perception of the furniture. What kind of lighting is in the room? The next section will take a closer look at ways to pair area rugs with hardwood flooring.

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What Are the Best Rugs for Light and Dark Hardwood Floors?

The color of your hardwood floors sets the tone for the entire room. Darker woods add an element of intrigue, while lighter woods can make a room feel open and bright. Warm tones can make you feel comfortable and cozy. Adding a carpet to the equation might seem like it complicates things, but you can actually use it to your advantage to get the exact vibe you’re looking for in a room.

Here, we will take a look at the best area rugs for hardwood floors based on color combinations.

Rugs for Light Wood Floors

Use contrasting tones if you want to make your rug stand out. That means choosing a dark color for your area rug to go against the light color of your hardwood floors. Sometimes, light hardwood can feel too cheeky. Adding a dark area rug fosters an element of depth and maturity to the room. Other times a direct contrast feels too jarring, and a similar color ties everything together.

Try experimenting with some of the following popular colors to use with light hardwood floors:

  • Mossy or forest green
  • Pale orange
  • Burgundy or maroon
  • Brown
  • Red

Rugs for Dark Wood Floors

If you’re wondering what color rug to use for dark wood floors, try using a light rug for contrast. Since dark wood floors can make an area feel closed in or stuffy, a lighter shaded area rug can provide some much-needed relief. Lighter rugs usually demand more cleaning and upkeep, but it’s worth it to breathe new life into a dark room.

Here are some other popular colors that pair well with dark hardwood floors:

  • Gray
  • Beige
  • Pastel yellow
  • Light blue
  • Red accents on white

If you want your area rug to go unnoticed, use a similar color to your hardwood floor. This is a good technique to keep the attention on another element of the room. Or, if you want to get experimental, try elaborate designs and ornate color combinations on your area rugs. This can have quite an effect on the feel of your room.

50Floor Can Answer Your Hardwood Floor Questions

With over four decades of experience, 50Floor is here to answer any of your flooring-related questions. We understand that protecting your hardwood is one of your top priorities in choosing an area rug, but that choice can be difficult. We at 50Floor want to make those decisions easier for you.

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Unlike the competition, we will come to you with flooring products so you can see and touch different options in the light of your own home. Contact us online and schedule an appointment today to experience the 50Floor difference.

50Floor Can Answer Your Hardwood Floor Questions

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