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Need a good starting point for decorating a space, or the perfect finishing touch in a room? Consider an area rug. Sure, it will keep your tootsies toasting on a cold winter’s night, but it can do so much more.

Shop around first and familiarize yourself with sizes, materials, quality and details.

Here are ways to use an area rug:

1 Define or ground a furnishing grouping. It can anchor furniture, visually divide spaces or reinforce a focal point.

2. Bring color, texture, pattern and warmth into a space.

3. Define spaces in a larger room – a perfect design element for open-concept spaces.

4. Layering. Let’s say you have a sisal rug that covers an entire room, but you want to define a seating area. Layer a smaller rug on top to define that particular space. Carpet tape can be used to secure it into place.

How to determine size:

If you want to cover the entire floor, measure the room, leaving about 2 feet of space round the perimeter (between the rug and wall) so some floor shows.

To define a particular space, measure the conversation grouping or dining room table and chairs and select a rug that is the closest size up. Designers prefer furniture legs to be all on or all off the rug, but this may be a matter of personal preference. Just don’t go too small in rug size because it will be visually distracting.

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