Interiors: Add a new area rug to spruce up the place

Rosemary Sadez Friedmann

Ah, those New Year's resolutions! So far, I'm sure many have failed, but we keep trying, don't we? Perhaps one resolution that can succeed is upgrading your living quarters a bit. Sprucing up home decor is always in vogue, and this lull between holidays is a good time to do a little uplifting for the home. Let's explore one possibility.

It actually is easy to bypass expensive home-decor updating and still achieve a new, fresh, comfortable look. A small change or addition such as an area rug or two could be the answer. And for the do-it-yourselfer, this is a great decorating idea.

Since the buying market has so many choices it might be wise to prepare before going shopping. There are several things you can ask yourself to get you pointed in the right direction.

Color is important. If you are adding to an existing decorated room, stay with the color scheme already present. You should choose one color, your favorite, to play up in the rug. In this way you have not only added some perk to the room, you've also spruced up the color scheme with your favorite hue. If you are starting fresh, create a color scheme with at least three colors that best fit your personal palette, then build from there. If you have colors that you are using in the room, take swatches with you so you can choose the colors correctly rather than relying on memory.

Then there is the choice of fiber. Area rugs are made from a variety of fibers but the best and most durable fibers are wool, sisal and bamboo. They are all resilient, easy to maintain and have a long life. To make that long life even longer, consider putting a slip pad under the rug. The pad not only helps keep the rug in place, but also gives a little cushion under the rug.

Size is always something that poses a question. Do you want a small rug just under the cocktail table in the living room? Do you want the rug to fit up to the sofa and extend just beyond the cocktail table? Do you want the rug to fill a good amount of the room and have the sofa sit on the rug, with the rug being like a well-matted picture frame and the furniture being the picture or artwork itself?

If the rug is going under the dining table, be sure to allow for a big enough rug so the chairs sit on the rug even when pulled out and in use.

If you aren't positive what size you want, create a template out of newspapers and place that template on the floor where the rug will actually go. Visual is always good for making a decision.

Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of "Mystery of Color." For design inquiries, write to Rosemary at