Picking the right rug for a particular room is a subtle art. Size, shape, style, color and even the weave – the feel – of a rug plays a role in its success in, ah, really tying the room together.

(And, in case you were wondering, the above image is of an actual rug that you can buy – if you dare.)

Choosing a rug before anything else is much easier than finding a rug to fit a furnished room, but it still requires thought because a rug can set the tone. If you try to pair a contemporary-styled rug with traditional furniture, for example, the conflict in design may cause someone’s head to explode.

So, in the interest of avoiding a medical emergency we offer these tips to help you find the perfect rug.

Size

The best size for a rug is tied to the size and purpose of the room. A dining room rug, for example, should extend beyond the size of the table far enough to allow the chairs to remain on it even when pulled away – about 24 inches.

The size of a living room rug, on the other hand, will be determined by 1) the size of the room, 2) the size and/or preferred placement of the furniture and 3) the intent of focus. If the rug is to rest underneath the furniture it should still stop at least 12 inches from every wall; however, if it won’t be placed under the furniture the ideal size will bring it to the feet of the main pieces.

Shape

The best shape is often determined by the space and the furniture that sits atop a rug. An oval dining table, for instance, may look more complete with an oval rug underneath it. This is not a rule, though, and focus should also be considered. A round rug in an open space can draw more attention to itself than a rectangular rug, for example, because people more often expect a rectangular rug.

Style

Simply put, style is very important. Clashing styles can be very dynamic when they are purposeful and well-considered – but if they aren’t it can result in a mind-melting mess.

Sometimes this can be as easy as eyeballing it; other times it takes a little more effort. Rugs are often (and should always be) categorized according to style by vendors – traditional, contemporary, Persian, transitional, etc. – and may be paired with furniture or design themes of like style.

Color / Pattern

The best rule of thumb when it comes to color is to have a plan if the color is going to be something other than a shade (black, white, gray, etc.) or something neutral like beige or tan. Coordinating vibrant rug colors with other décor pieces like art, throws, statuary and light fixtures can create a very well-organized and sharp look for a room.

Patterned rugs usually have a dominant color and that color should be your first focus. Once you’re settled that it’s the right overall color, then consider the pattern. Does it match themes in the room? Is it too crazy? Distracting? Does it make you dizzy when you look down? If so, it’s the wrong rug.

Weave / Material

Rugs are made with many different materials and they all have their benefits and drawbacks. Some popular materials include wool, cotton, polyester, acrylic, silk and natural grassy fibers like jute, sisal and bamboo.

Synthetic materials like polypropylene and DuraCord have the benefit of being very strong and stain-resistant, but these crush more easily under heavy pressure – like big pieces of furniture. Wool is also durable in addition to being very soft, but its colors fade faster and it’s prone to early shedding.

ATGStores.com has tens of thousands of rugs in every size, shape and color you can imagine. Some are wild and wooly while others are calm and cozy, and there may even be a few (hundred) that are crazy enough to cause a cranial collapse if put in the wrong hands.