A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

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With Singapore’s hot tropical climate, decorating with rugs can seem superfluous. But rugs aren’t just for keeping warm. They lend a layered look and can make a space look complete, all while giving a sense of cosiness and comfort. If you are thinking of getting rugs for your home, this guide tells you what to get and where to place them.


A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

Design: I-Chapter

When buying rugs, think about the purpose for them. Do you want them to be merely decorative or do you need them to be functional? Do you want to use them as a focal point for a room or do you want to use it as cushioning? The former warrants an eye-catching piece that complements (or contrasts!) with your décor while in the case of the latter, a high-pile rug provides extra comfort.

A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

Design: Happe Design Atelier

If you are looking to anchor down a space in an open-concept layout, consider getting a larger area rug. Walkways can be enlivened with runners, while a dead corner can be jazzed up with a round rug. Rugs are also great for protection—whether you are protecting precious hardwood flooring from your pup’s nails or you want to cushion your child’s falls.


A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

Design: Lemonfridge Studio

Maintenance is a huge factor when choosing rugs. If you are looking for a low-maintenance rug, go with flat-weave or low-pile types that have fewer crevices for hiding dirt and dust and are easier to vacuum.

These are suitable for high-use areas of the home, in foyers (you don’t want a shag rug to get caught underneath your doorframe) and in children’s rooms. Maintenance for them usually involves a weekly vacuum and a dry clean once every year or depending on how dirty they get.

A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

Design: DistinctIdentity

To increase the life of your rugs, get rug pads for them. They minimise rug movement—which is also a bonus for safety—and act as a cushion to reduce the chaffing between the underside of your rug and the floor. Also avoid placing your rugs in areas with direct sunlight, as the UV rays can cause your rugs to fade over time.


A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

Design: Key Concept

Natural fibre rugs (e.g. sisal, jute and hemp): Great for those suffering from allergies. Highly durable, although can feel a bit coarse.

Cotton: Affordable and a soft feel, but they aren’t as durable. Might need to be replaced every few years, depending on usage.

Wool: Soft and great cushioning. But can feel too warm in a space without air-conditioning. They can turn mouldy in high humidity areas.

Synthetic: Affordable, highly durable and easy to maintain. Great for all areas of the home.

Silk: Luxurious and very expensive. Difficult to maintain and should only be used as a decorative rug.


Living room

A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

Design: Juz Interior

In larger living rooms and in open-plan layouts, you can get away with an area rug big enough to fit all your furniture in. This will anchor your space nicely and create a sense of cosiness without overwhelming it.

A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

In a smaller living room and if your sofa is against a wall, have the two front legs of your sofa and armchairs sitting on the rug. This won’t work with a high-pile rug as it will make the seats too wobbly. While you want your rug to be long enough that it runs parallel to the length of your sofa, you don’t want it to run all the way to the wall. Give it some visual breathing room to avoid your space feeling too small.

A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

Alternatively, focus your rug in the centre of the living room, and have it run just under the coffee table. Ensure your rug isn’t so small that it creates a huge gap from the rug to the end of your sofa or TV console. Keep to a maximum gap of about 15 – 20 cm.

A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

Dining room

A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

Design: Home Philosophy

If you are using a rug to anchor your dining area, make sure it is large enough to fit your entire dining set and then some. You should be able to push back your dining chairs from the table without getting caught at the sides of the rug. As a rule of thumb, have the sides of the rug extend about 60 cm from the sides of the table.

A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs


A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

Design: Fuse Concept

Greet your morning with a soft underfoot by having a rug that extends out approximately 60 cm on all three sides of the bed and large enough to go under the lower two-thirds of the bed.

A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

In smaller bedrooms, runners that run the full length of the bed are a good option. Or go with a single runner at the foot of your bed and have it run longer than the width of your bed.

A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

Nightstands should sit completely on the rug or avoid them from touching the rug altogether.


A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

Design: 19EightyThree and Bowerman Interior

Circle rugs are great for defining circular furniture such as circle dining tables. Just make sure they are large enough so you can push back your chairs comfortably. Also consider slipping a circular rug under an armchair to turn a dead corner into a cosy nook.

A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

Design: akiHAUS

In addition to bedrooms, runners are great for walkways, galley kitchens and walk-in wardrobes. They can also be used as a transition rug between two spaces such as between a dining area and a living room.

A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

Design: The Merry Men Interiors

In small spaces, play up the visual interest with unconventionally shaped rugs such as animal hides. Because of their sculptural quality, you won’t need to get a rug that fits all the furniture within.

Where to buy?

A Guide to Buying and Decorating with Rugs

Image courtesy of LivingDNA

Here are some of our favourite places to shop for rugs:

Living DNA
Find them for: Their range of handmade rugs, which are sourced mainly from India and Turkey. Besides rug customisation services, they also carry a substantial collection of machine-washable rugs.

Find them for: One-of-a-kind vintage and patchwork rugs from Turkey. There is also a decent selection of natural fibre rugs.

Bungalow 55
Find them for: Their mix of modern and natural style rugs, with a good collection of outdoor ones. They allow you to take home a rug to try it in your space before purchasing. Delivery is free if you buy the rug in the end!

Find them for: Adorable rugs and door mats suited for nurseries, kids’ rooms or the big child in you.

Find them for: Rugs made from synthetic material or handwoven rugs made from cotton. The rugs feature a minimalist, no-frills design in the brand’s iconic neutral shades.


This article was originally posted on Renonation.sg, Singapore’s leading renovation and interior design site.

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