The last thing you want to do is make guests and family members nervous or uncomfortable while dining in your home -- and they may be if you choose an inappropriate rug for the dining room. In addition to selecting a rug that is large enough to accommodate the dining table and all the chairs when people are seated, look for features that allow chairs to slide easily and won't leave guests worrying about inevitable spills.
Keep in mind that chairs will be dragged across the rug -- sometimes with bodies in them. The dining room rug should be made of durable fibers. Synthetics such as acrylic, olefin and polypropylene are good choices. Wool is a natural fiber that is extremely durable and resists stains. Avoid grass and plant fibers, such as jute, that may not withstand heavy use. Silk is unsuitable for under a dining table because it is fragile, and it stains and fades easily.
Flat weaves are ideal for a dining room rug and are available in synthetics, wool and other fibers. They are easy to wipe and vacuum to remove dirt, food particles and spills. Choose a short pile if considering a cut pile rug. Remember that chair legs must be able to move easily across or through the pile and that spills can settle more easily into deep pile. Avoid open loop construction and shag style rugs for the dining room.
Patterns woven or printed on the rug help disguise dirt and spills. Select a pattern that coordinates with the style of the dining furniture and the color scheme of the room. Stylish contemporary, traditional, country and Asian patterns are available to choose from. Patterns with curved shapes such as circles, scrolls, flowers and leaves are ideal because they camouflage spills more easily. Patterns with many small and colorful design elements in them are easier to keep clean-looking than patterns with only a few large areas of color.
Work with your color scheme to choose colors that are a combination of neutrals and medium to dark colors. Accidents will happen, and pale colors will expose stains more readily than darker ones. A rug containing shades of red, brown or taupe is a good choice where red wine, coffee, tea or dark soft drinks will be served. A dark background and border will help hide soiling, especially around the edges. Avoid rugs with a white fringe, or ask the rug dealer to have it removed for a fee.
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