Accent Rugs vs. Area Rugs: Learn the Difference & How to Use Them

So, you’re on the hunt for rugs and you come across two types: accent rugs and area rugs. Now, you might be wondering which one is the right choice for you. The decision between accent rugs and area rugs ultimately comes down to personal preference, but knowing the basics of rug placement can help you achieve a stylish look. To make informed choices, let’s dive deeper into the differences and explore some guidelines for selecting the perfect rug for your space.

The Real Meanings of Accent Rugs and Area Rugs

While people often use these terms interchangeably, accent rugs and area rugs are not always the same thing. An accent rug is typically a smaller rug, measuring around 4-by-6 feet or smaller. Its main purpose is to add a design accent, such as color or texture, to a room. On the other hand, an area rug is a larger rug that covers a significant portion of the room, serving either as a functional element or as a design focal point.

However, it’s important to note that an accent rug can also be an area rug, and vice versa. For instance, a hallway rug or runner, which is primarily an accent rug, can also function as an area rug by covering the entire floor space. Similarly, an area rug used to introduce an accent color into a living room transforms into an accent rug as well. This crossover creates a hybrid of both rug types.

Accent Rug
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Common Rug Mistakes to Avoid

To ensure that your rug choices align with the size and purpose of your space, it’s essential to steer clear of common mistakes. Here are some pitfalls to watch out for:

The Runaway Rug

Small accent rugs, measuring 2-by-3 feet or smaller, are best suited for compact areas like bathrooms, kitchens (in front of sinks or stoves), or utility rooms. Placing these rugs within furniture groupings creates a sense of disconnection rather than cohesion.

Small Accent Rugs
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The Lost at Sea Rug

Unlike an area rug, an accent rug won’t effectively define a conversational grouping in a living or family room. Even a larger accent rug, around 4-by-6 feet, will appear overwhelmed by the vast expanse of surrounding flooring if placed in the middle of a furniture arrangement.

Accent Rug in Conversation Area
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The Lonely Heart Rug

Placing an accent rug in the center of a larger room can make it appear isolated and insignificant. Unless the rug adds color or textural contrast to the space, it may seem out of place. When incorporating an accent rug in a spacious area, ensure it serves a purpose and complements the overall design.

Accent Rug in Large Room
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The Proper Use of Accent Rugs and Area Rugs

To ensure your rugs enhance your space and fulfill their intended purposes, it’s important to understand their proper use.

Happy Accent Rugs

Happy accent rugs are small rugs positioned in compact areas to add color or texture. When a small rug harmonizes visually with its surroundings and complements other accent colors in the vicinity, it becomes a valuable accent piece.

Happy Accent Rugs
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Happy Area Rugs

Happy area rugs are large enough to hold their own in a space and properly placed within the room. Hallway or entryway area rugs should occupy at least two-thirds of the space. In living rooms, area rugs should tuck under a portion of the furniture grouping. In bedrooms, an area rug under the bed should extend at least 18 inches beyond the sides and a couple of feet past the foot of the bed.

Happy Area Rugs
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By understanding the distinction between accent rugs and area rugs and following these guidelines, you can confidently select the perfect rugs for your rooms. Remember, the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference, so go ahead and let your creativity guide you in making your space truly unique and inviting.

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