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Decorating with Area Rugs by Barbara Jennings

One thing you can count on never going out of fashion is your home area rug. They have been in vogue forever. In the past one would go buy an area rug to cover a vinyl floor, now we do it more for decorative treatments. Whatever your reason, a good decorative rug can create real drama in a room, anchor a seating arrangement and even act as the focal point of the room.

The least expensive is the Dhurrie rug. It is a thick, flat-woven cotton rug made in India. Coming with a variety of color combinations, the Dhurrie rug's designs are generally geometric, including animals, flowers and people. They are woven into the pattern in a kind of chiseled-looking fashion.

Prices on these types of rugs average between $140-$1000 depending on the size of the rug and it's quality.

One of my favorites is the border rug. It's a rug of any size or shape that egins with a base color for the field (middle area), then with strips of a different color going all around the perimeter just like a mat on a work of art. The border colors can be coordinating colors, blended or in high contrast.

The border rug is very handy because it can do all of the decorative and utilitarian things you want from an area rug, without adding a busy pattern to the room. Border rugs are great under a cocktail table, under a dining table, in your entry or even under an entire seating arrangement in the living room.

Prices on border rugs will depend on the quality of the carpet used, the shape and size and the number of borders it has. Border rugs are easy to design yourself and have made in a custom order.

Then there is the inlaid rug. A good carpet designer can virtually create just about anything you can think up. Think up your own design and have one made. It will really be unique. Prices here will depend on the quality of the carpet selected and the complexity of the design you create, but an inlaid rug can be enjoyed for years to come by your entire family.

Oriental rugs have always been a symbol of wealth and continue to be held in the highest regard. They can also be quite expensive. Oriental rugs have been known to increase in value, not decrease.  Since there are many varieties, a careful study should be taken before you purchase one.

Most oriental rugs are handmade though you'll see machine made ones as well. The most valuable are the hand woven rugs, particularly if they are woven by children. The smaller hands of a child can weave more intricate patterns and finer details.

All of the decorations in an oriental rug are meaningful, often being symbols for good health, wealth, prosperity, peace and so forth. Some silk oriental rugs are woven with real gold threads. Though less expensive, wool rugs are also a good investment, but not if you have allergies.

You can use your area rugs over any other floor covering: marble, wood, tile and even wall-to-wall carpeting. If you're in the process of laying down tile or another kind of hard flooring, consider having the rug inset so that it will lie flush to the rest of the floor. This will prevent the possibility of tripping over any of the edges or corners.

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Decorating with Area Rugs
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(2004-05 Copyright Barbara Jennings)

Barbara Jennings
is the West Coast Pioneer in Redesign, author of 7 decorating books, a published artist, corporate art consultant, and furniture arrangement consultant. For training in professional furniture and accessory arrangement, or to start your own redesign or art consulting business, please visit: