4 Tips a Home Stager Swears By When It Comes to Choosing an Area Rug

published Jun 1, 2022
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An area rug can serve as an approachable starting point to elevating a space or staging a home, according to Jess Harrington, the owner of JessFinessed Home Staging & Design. The purpose of an area rug, she explains, is to outline a space, establish cohesiveness, and above all, anchor a room.

When selecting an area rug while home staging, Harrington and her team cycle through a few key considerations. Here are her four tips for picking the perfect rug for your own space.

Consider the size of the rug first. 

A critical first step in choosing an area rug is finding the correct measurements. Harrington says this is determined by the size of the room, as well as the placement and scale of the furniture. 

She says the right-sized area rug can ground furniture and create separate zones. A rug is especially helpful in large, expansive rooms where it’s difficult for buyers to envision how they would live in the home and arrange the space.

“A rug that is too big can make a space feel cramped, and a rug that is too small can leave a room feeling cold and incomplete,” Harrington says. “The right-sized rug can make all the difference in terms of impact, so it’s worth the extra investment.” 

Then narrow down your color and/or pattern.

The JessFinessed team embraces pattern and color when staging a home because it provides great visual interest and depth in listing photos. 

“We are super color confident,” Harrington says. “Our rug collection includes everything from vintage Turkish rugs to screen-printed oriental ‘lookalike’ rugs.” 

Harrington explains that color and pattern selections are all about creating balance in the space. If the team uses a bold geometric rug, they will go solid-colored with throw pillows and bedding. 

She says the rug should correspond with the walls, floors, and upholstered accessories. This design principle creates an overall look that is “not too neutral and monotonous.”

She adds that sometimes they layer rugs. For example, the team has have several natural fiber jute rugs in room-sized dimensions that can be layered with less expensive rugs. This method allows for fresh and different looks across projects. 

Credit: Carina Romano

Remember that quality makes a difference.

While staging, Harrington says she considers the quality of the rug, which makes a difference in the overall effect on the space — even if it is just laying on the floor. 

“Quality and durable furnishing elevate a space, which is always our goal,” she says. 

However, Harrington advises avoiding wool and shag rugs, which can be challenging to maintain. “Both can shed and be challenging to clean after busy open houses, especially in winter months where snow boots inevitably meet rugs from time to time,” she says.

Know when to splurge and when to surf the sale section.

One downside to buying area rugs is that they can be expensive. Harrington says the price tends to escalate significantly between 5’ by 7’ rugs and 8’ by 10’ rugs, which can fetch up to 50 percent more. “The larger the rug, the higher the price,” she says. 

Harrington says a good time to splurge on a rug is when you feel confident that the item completes the desired look of your home in a timeless way for you. 

“If you’re a serial redecorator or have small children, it may not be the best time to splurge,” she says. 

For those looking for a more affordable route, Harrington recommends purchasing a neutral, woven rug in a material like sisal or adding other quality finishing and materials in the room.