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An elegantly colorful Oriental rug – often called a Persian rug because rugs woven in Iran (Persia) were for many years considered the benchmark against which all such rugs were compared – can be the heart and soul of any room.

With infinite colors and patterns available, it may be just the thing you need to make a dining room pop, make a living room cozy or add warmth and style to a stairway. With affordable rugs produced today in Turkey, Pakistan and other nations as well as Iran, it is more than ever a sensible choice.

The cost of an Oriental a rug is primarily determined by the tightness and regularity of the weave, the quality of the wool and the fastness of the dyes used in creating it, so it’s important to buy from a merchant you trust who has a long history in the business. But the truth is, whatever your budget, you can probably find one that’s right for you based on color, size and design, and whatever its pedigree, it may well outlive almost anything else in the room.

But with so many designs and colors choose from, it’s important to take your time shopping. Take pictures or samples of the colors and fabrics in the room you’re shopping for and bring them with you when you browse.

You should also draw a sketch of your room with the furnishings placed to scale. That’s especially important if you’re shopping for a dining room, because the rug should be big enough so that the chairs don’t skid off of it when pushed back from the table.

For stair runners, which are typically 30 inches wide, the number of risers and treads will determine how much rug is needed.

Ask if the dealer offers cleaning or restoration services or any other after-purchase service. If you ever feel pressured to buy as you shop, move on to a different dealer – and know that most reputable shops will let you take a rug home to try it for a few days with no obligation to buy.

The rug you choose will make a bold statement. Be sure it says what you want it to say.