How Do I Use Rugs to Separate Spaces in an Open Floor Plan?

Question

We've just moved into a house with an open floor plan. We love the wide-open spaces, but now that we're getting down to decorating, how do we show distinct areas of our home? (Roger and Helen, Scarsdale, NY)

Answer

When you have an open floor plan, you have ample room in your home without feeling closed in and crowded. At first, the open floor plan is great, but then you realize that there's no separation between the living room, dining room, and kitchen. If you want some separation that doesn't require that you build a permanent wall, here are some suggestions.

Area rugs are great for a quick way to separate one room from another. Place a rug underneath the dining room table. You need to measure the size of your table and chairs before you buy the rug. If you don’t get a rug that is wide enough, the chairs may be half on and half off of the rug and that will cause the rug to move around every time a person moves. Rugs are also great in stacked, open-plan condos when you need to deaden the sound of chairs scraping against the floor, being considerate to your neighbors just below where you live.

Place your dining room furniture in the area close to your dining room table but allow for a walkway around everything. To paint the walls in that area, use a neutral color like white or beige so it will blend in with the colors in the rest of your house. Place wall decor or artwork in order to make the dining room more personalized. The rug, wall colors, and anchoring wall decor or artwork will be a visual way to separate this dining area from the others.

You can also separate one sitting area from another buy placing the sitting furniture on the rug or placing a rug in front of the furniture. For example, you can have a large rectangular area rug with a coffee table centered in the middle of the rug. Place a sofa on one side and place the front legs of the sofa on the rug. Then set two chairs across from the sofa to have a full sitting area that is accented by an area rug.

Do you want to purchase at least one expensive antique or custom-woven rug for your home? Purchase one for your living room area and feel free to mix it up with other rugs that you find at antique stores or purchase new at a lesser cost.

Use one or more rugs in your bedroom as well. If you have a large bedroom, break it down into sections if you use area rugs. Purchase or make a Japanese or other style wall screen with a rug in a corner to make a dressing area. You can place a makeup table on an area rug for your makeup station. Place an area rug on each side of your bed so that you can feel the soft plush rug as soon as your feet touch the floor. Rugs are especially good if you have a hard wood floor so your feet don’t get cold immediately. Did you know that you can use area rugs even on wall-to-wall carpeting?   

Rugs come in many different patterns including floral area rugs so you may want to decorate around the pattern in the rug instead of choosing your area rug last. Many designers start with what's on the floor and coordinate the room from the floor up. No matter how large your room is, you can make it stand out if you use area rugs to help divide the room according to the way you like. You also can change the look of your room every season, once a year, or whenever you like by changing the mood in your rooms through switching to different rugs and retiring the old ones for a season.

Jay JohnsonComment