You’ll often see interior designers say that the first piece of decor you should pick out for your space is an area rug. But that leads to the question — why are area rugs so important?

Besides being the perfect starting point to pull colors, shapes, and patterns from, area rugs also come with a ton of benefits. From safety to comfort to their portability, there are plenty of reasons that make area rugs an essential part of your home decor.

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1. Rugs Protect Your Floor

Whether you have hardwood floors or full carpet, an area rug provides a barrier between damage and your flooring. Heavy furniture, pet claws, toys, and spills can all leave lasting marks on your floor, which is a major concern for homeowners and anyone renting a home. An area rug gives you that extra layer of protection to put your mind at ease.

Because area rugs are most often made of soft, absorbent materials, they easily soak up any damage before it reaches your permanent flooring.

Preserving your floors is one of the best reasons to invest in an area rug or two for your home. You may have to move it occasionally to clean underneath it, but you won’t find any scratches, dents, or stains waiting for you when you roll them up. Your floor will look just as pristine as the day you laid your rug down.

2. Or Cover Up Imperfections In Your Floor

On the other hand, your floor might already be damaged. A stain on the carpet, discolored wood, and cracked tiles are an eyesore. But replacing your entire floor is expensive and time-consuming, so it may not be an option for you. Or maybe you really like your flooring, besides the obvious flaw. That’s where area rugs come in to save the day.

Pick out a rug that matches your room and throw it over the imperfection to hide it from view. No one will be the wiser and you have a beautiful new accessory to go along with your decor at the same time.

While flaws give things character and often tell a story, they aren’t always something you want in the middle of your living room. There are some cases when you can cover them with a piece of furniture but an area rug is always the best choice to cover plenty of surface area and prevent further damage from showing up.

4. Rugs Are Easier to Clean

Carpet cleaning is a big undertaking that usually takes the help of professionals to get the job done properly. Cleaning up stains and debris from wood floors is tricky, requiring a broom, a mop, and a lot of patience. You don’t want to constantly be worrying about how clean your floor looks.

The size and material of area rugs make them so much easier to clean than other kinds of flooring. Most of the time, all you need is your trusty vacuum cleaner or a wet cloth to pick up dirt or clean away stains before they set in.

Weather permitting, it’s always a good idea to hang your area rug up outside and beat the dust out of it. This ensures it stays in perfect condition. But the fact most area rugs are so small means you don’t have to struggle to get the dust out of them like you would with carpets.

5. People With Allergies Benefit From Area Rugs

It used to be advised that people who suffer from allergies and asthma remove carpets and rugs from their homes because they trap allergens. It was thought that this would be harmful because it keeps these allergens in the home rather than dispelling them. But that isn’t the case anymore.

In reality, the fact that area rugs trap allergens is a good thing for anyone with allergies. They keep these irritants out of the air where they can be breathed in, purifying it better than rooms without any rugs or carpeting.

If you struggle with seasonal allergies or asthma, consider adding an area rug to your home to help alleviate your symptoms. Just make sure you take the rug out of your home regularly to clean it and remove all of those allergens. That way you don’t have to worry about them getting back out into your home.

ethnicraft scandinavian area rug


6. A Rug Helps Define Your Space

Open-concept rooms are more and more common in homes. When you have a living room that flows into the dining room and the kitchen, it can feel more like one big room than three separate spaces. It can also be difficult to fill these spaces in a meaningful way.

Area rugs help define your space as separate from another. One large area rug in the living room makes it clear that this is the living room surrounding this rug.

Using an area rug to cut out a section of your space helps ground it and give it purpose. Anyone that walks into your home will know what goes where just from looking. You can even use smaller area rugs to carve a big room into separate sections, such as a sitting area in your bedroom.

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7. Anchor Your Furniture Using an Area Rug

Placing pieces of furniture in a big room where they’re not against the walls makes it feel like everything is floating. They don’t really have an anchor point to keep them in place or to tie them to each other. This can make a space feel disjointed.

An area rug placed in the center of your furniture is the perfect way to anchor everything in a room. Place your sofa, chairs, and tables around the edge of an area rug and watch it all come together in one cohesive design.

Large rugs are right at home tucked under the edges of your living room furniture. If you’re working with a smaller rug, center it under your coffee table as a focal point that brings everything together. Area rugs work just as well in dining rooms and bedrooms to ensure your furniture pieces aren’t just sitting away from one another with no sense of connection.

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8. Add Color and Texture Using Area Rugs

Even in the most minimalist spaces, a little color and texture come in handy to add interest. Whether it’s a pop of accent color, a contrasting texture, or a funky pattern, you have a ready-made focal point for any room right there on the floor.

Area rugs come in endless shapes, colors, and designs. A lofty shag rug is a perfect way to add some softness to a room that is all sharp angles or industrial pieces. A patterned rug can jazz up a simple design. A pop of color adds a little something extra to a neutral color palette.

It’s always a good idea to choose your area rug before you start picking out the rest of your decor. They are a great place to pull inspiration from for the colors and styles you put into your space. Just make sure you choose one you really love!

9. Area Rugs Easily Brighten Up Dark Rooms

Some rooms just don’t have a lot of natural light going for them. They may be completely devoid of windows or be painted a darker color. Dark flooring also pulls a lot of the light out of a room, whether it's hardwood or carpet.

An area rug that features light colors is the perfect way to brighten the place up and inject a little something different into your space. This contrast keeps everything from blending together, especially if your floors, walls, and furniture are relatively dark.

This trick is the perfect answer to corridors that have no windows and dark floors. They tend to be on the darker side and benefit greatly from brightly colored runners. Plus, the addition of a long rug down a hallway keeps footsteps quiet if someone is walking down it while other people are trying to sleep.

10. An Area Rug Is an Extra Layer of Comfort

Hardwood floors aren’t the most comfortable thing to stand on and can start to hurt your feet if you are walking around on them for extended periods of time. If you’re not much of a slipper person, area rugs are a great alternative to bring a little more coziness into your space.

Added comfort is great for cushioning your feet when you walk around your house, but it also feels more inviting than bare wood. It adds that comfy, cozy feeling to your space, making you feel right at home anytime you walk in.

Because area rugs are much softer than wooden floors, they make rooms safer for little ones that might be running around. Any trips and falls are cushioned on an area rug, leading to fewer bumps and bruises than other kinds of flooring. For parents, that extra peace of mind is everything.

contemporary area rugs


11. Rugs Keep Things Warm

On a similar note, tiles and hardwood floors are prone to getting much colder than carpeting, especially during the winter. This can lead to cranking up the heat and your heating bill simultaneously in order to keep your feet from freezing.

Area rugs are a welcome addition to chilly floors. Not only are they super cozy, but they are also incredible at trapping heat and insulating your space to keep it warmer. Use a rug pad underneath to make it even more effective.

Especially cold areas of your home such as basements and hallways are prime real estate for a new area rug. They will keep you from having to turn the heat up so much just to walk around your own house when the temperature starts going down outside.

12. Area Rugs Provide a Quick Makeover to Any Room

Feeling bored with your space? Ready for a change but don’t want to change all of your decors in one go? There are very few pieces you can switch out in a room that change the entire vibe of it that aren’t big, expensive pieces of furniture. So why not change the floor?

Whether you’re switching out your old rug for an updated one or adding an area rug for the first time, it’s amazing what a difference it can make. This quick makeover tip takes any space from feeling plain to completely spruced up.

While you’re at it, you can always experiment with the size and shape of your area rug. Go round instead of a rectangle. Go bigger than before. Get something with a bold print. Or add a brand new pop of color to your room.

13. You Can Layer Area Rugs

This list so far has focused on the idea of picking out one central area rug to put in a space. But that’s not the only way they can be used. Maybe you can’t pick between two different colors of the same pattern. You might have way more space than you can cover with just one area rug.

Layering rugs is another great way to add interest and fun to a room. Whether you overlap the corners of two rugs or place a smaller rug on top of a larger one, there are plenty of ways to combine different rugs into one look.

Thin rugs are especially useful for this technique. Funky-shaped animal print rugs lay well over the top of large rectangular rugs. More rugs just add to the coziness and warmth provided by area rugs in the first place while also giving your space a unique sense of style.

14. Take Your Rugs With You When You Move

If part or all of your decor hinges on the color of your wood flooring or the carpeting in a room, when you’re ready to move on, you can’t take those things with you. Maybe you’ll get lucky and your new place will have something similar or maybe your favorite pieces won’t go with the floor at all, throwing off your entire style.

With a rug incorporated into your decor, you don’t have to worry about getting lucky. Their portability means you can pretty much pick up your floor and take it with you. So no matter what’s waiting for you at your new house, your design sense stays intact.

Depending on how big your rug is, you might need help getting it all packed up. Make sure you turn it upside down, roll it from the short side, and tie it up securely before putting it in the moving truck. And try not to place anything heavy on top of it, to avoid creasing.

15. Area Rugs Work in Every Room of Your Home

One of the best reasons to buy an area rug is the fact they work in every single room of your house. You can put them in the living room, the bedroom, and the dining room. Long, thin area rugs go down your hallways. Small circular area rugs are perfect for reading nooks and sitting areas.

When you invest in an area rug, you will never run out of places to put it. If it doesn’t work in one room, try it in another room. If you want to switch one out, the old one can go to use in the basement or a playroom.

Area rugs are such wonderful design pieces that infuse your space with character, comfort, and style. They tie a room together as one cohesive unit without everything having to look exactly the same. And they protect your floors as well as your feet.

ethnicraft dining table and area rug


So How Do You Pick Out the Perfect Area Rug?

While shopping for an area rug for your home, consider the following things:

  • The size of your space
  • The style of your decor
  • The people in your home
  • How easy it is to clean
  • How much you want to spend

Choosing an area rug is personal to your circumstances. People with pets and children may prefer a low-pile rug that’s stain resistant. Others may prefer something shaggy and comfortable that keeps the room cozy and warm. While one person wants something loud and patterned, someone else might want a single simple color.

Pick out the area rug that speaks to your design sense and personality as well as your needs. Once you roll it out, you will see how much it truly fills up a room.

Shop our curated selection of modern area rugs today including best selling designs by Ethnicraft rugs and Gus Modern rugs.