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How to choose the right rug for your home By Deann Hammer, Broadway Design

Carpets are the foundation of our home. With summer in full swing, many of us are shoe-free, and not only do carpets visually impact the appearance of our home, but foot feel and durability is of great importance as well.

Carpets should be taken seriously and purchased for longevity, and many are considered fine art. With the popularity of hardwood over the last decade, area rugs have taken center stage—and are here to stay. Carpets provide an opportunity to add pops of color and create a design theme that is unique to you. If you are interested in decorating your home to the next level, a quality rug is a great first step toward a room transformation.

When selecting wall-to-wall carpet, you want to look at the fiber content. Nylon or wool is still the best choice. There are many other options, but olefin, and other new-to-market fibers, easily crush and soil, and are not made to last. I personally prefer a cut and loop for wall to wall. Some fibers are looped like a Berber, mixed with cut fibers, giving the carpet a nice visual appeal. I like low pile wall-to-wall carpets in multicolor so that it gives the look of texture and hides foot traffic. The cut fibers in a cut and loop also prevent the carpet from “running.” If a yarn gets loose in a vacuum, it will not pull through the whole run like a Berber will.

Large, patterned carpets are fun in an office, bonus room or master bedroom to add some character to a space. I also like to use patterns on stair runners for interest. There are staggering differences in the quality of area rugs. One of the largest mistakes people make when purchasing an area rug is that if they have a busy household, they think a less-expensive rug will be a better choice, as it can be tossed when it wears out, or easily cleaned. This is not the case! A high-quality wool rug will be much easier to clean and will save you money in the long run, as it will last for many, many years.

The best quality wool rugs will have longer fibers that will not shed and will maintain their pile height (not flatten with foot traffic). An average cost for a “better” rug will range between $1,500 to $5,000 for an 8x10-foot rug. They can top the charts at over $10,000, and if it is vintage, a rug can be $10,000 to $20,000 for estate sized (larger than 8x10 feet). Retail rugs sold online (like Pottery Barn), that sell for around $800 or less, are typically made with short fibers and shed like crazy—steer clear from those! When purchasing, try to run your fingers across them to see if they shed. Shedding carpets are awful. They make a mess of your home and really bother those with allergies.

I love silk rugs. They are ultra luxurious and can last lifetimes. The colors are more vivid, but they are very expensive. I paid $7,500 for a 4x6-foot rug more than a decade ago. But I love it! It is truly a work of art and looks exactly the same as the day I purchased it. Consider color. An area rug is a great opportunity to add life to a room. Handmade rugs are the best, as they are not stiff, have natural dyes that are rich and luxurious, and have a nice “flop,” meaning they bend and move and are not stiff. When you run your hand over a high-quality handmade wool rug, it should feel almost like silk.

Machine-made rugs are here to stay as well if your budget does not allow for a real handmade wool or silk rug. These are often made from recycled soda bottles and have a flatter feel to them. The current trend is more muted colors and traditional “burned out” or vintage-looking styles. An average cost for a polypropylene rug is around $400 to $600 for an 8x10-foot rug. Make sure to buy a premium pad to place beneath your rug as well. I use a felt pad with a rubber back that stops the carpet from sliding on the floor, while adding that extra cushy feel under foot. These pads cost between $150 to $300 for an 8x10 and will extend the life of your rug, as they allow the carpet to lift up off of the floor and maintain its pile height.

Deann Hammer is the owner of Broadway Design, a boutique interior design firm in Gig Harbor. She and her team craft spaces that are tailored to each client's personality and lifestyle, while mindful of their budget, creating a perfect harmony between aesthetics and function.

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