Putting an area rug on top of carpet is a great way to protect the carpet and add depth to a space. It's also a good way to drive yourself crazy, as area rugs resting on top of carpet are prone to slipping, sliding and creating tripping hazards. One way to keep your rug in place is to anchor it with furniture. When that's not enough, placing anti-slip mats and sticky tape under the rug will do the trick. You can even use silicone caulk to create your own non-slip rug backing. Whatever holding maneuver you use, securing the rug will help prevent you, your family and your friends from tripping over a crumpled rug.
Depending on the space, it makes sense to purchase an inexpensive area rug. If, for example, you want to put a rug under your dining room table to prevent spills from damaging the carpet, a handmade Oriental rug doesn't make sense. It is of note, however, that higher quality rugs tend to be thicker and heavier than those of lower quality. A heavy rug is much less likely to shift than a light one. If your budget allows, a new rug could solve your problem.
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Although it makes professional designers cringe, many people place their furniture around the perimeter of the room when they decorate. Bringing some of the pieces into the space makes a great design element and can help hold area rugs in place. Any heavy pieces of furniture, including buffets, couches, coffee tables, beds and dressers can serve as an anchor point for an area rug. Allowing some furniture to overlap the rug looks better and serves a purpose. You may still need to use sticky tape or mats under part of the rug, but you'll need less of these materials if you make clever use of your furniture.
Placing a special mat between the area rug and carpet is a highly effective way of keeping the rug in place. It's also a flexible one. If you desire some extra padding, thick mats are available. Thicker pads create a non-slip surface under the rug and add some cushion to hard floors. If you prefer a thinner option, buy a thin pad or use non-slip rubber shelf liner to keep the rug in place. When buying a mat, look for a specialized carpet-to-carpet variety. Made of polyester materials, these mats reduce the risk of damaging the rug or carpet. Rubber mats will stop slipping just as effectively but require periodic replacement because the rubber begins to deteriorate. Rotting rubber becomes sticky and may leave residue behind on the carpet or rug.
If your area rug is an inexpensive one, consider caulking it to keep it in place. Simply run a bead of silicone caulk on the back of the rug, applying caulk along the edges of the rug and adding a few more caulk lines to the middle. Before the caulk dries, flatten the bead with a putty knife to assure good adhesion between the caulk and the rug. When the caulk is dry, put the rug over your carpet. The dried silicon will grip the carpet and keep the rug from moving. This is a simple and inexpensive fix. It is, of course, not recommended that you smear caulk all over a priceless antique rug, but this method works well for other area rugs.
Along with area rugs and the nonskid mats that go under them, most carpet retailers sell double-sided tacky tape. Apply the tape around the perimeter of the rug, about 2 inches from the edge, and then palace a few strips along the center for extra security. The tape will stick to both the carpet and rug to prevent slipping. Sticky tape will hold the rug, but it will also collect dirt, dust and debris, eventually losing its adhesive qualities. You'll need to replace it when it does. Use only tape designed for tacking rugs or that has only a light adhesive. Stronger tapes can leave behind adhesive residue when removed, possibly staining the carpet or the rug. It's best to avoid tape if you have an antique oriental rug or very expensive carpet.