The One Home Design Mistake That's Making Your House Dangerous

Those rugs may look great, but if you're installing them wrong, a trip to the ER could be in your future.

There are many things you do around your home on a regular basis to keep it safe: you double-check the stove before you head out the door, you replace the batteries in your smoke detectors, and you make sure your doors are locked before you head to bed. However, there's one dangerous home design mistake you might be making that will not only diminish your home's aesthetic appeal, but could make it a more perilous place in the long run: not properly measuring and securing your rugs.

"If an area rug is not fitted correctly or [doesn't have] the necessary skid-proof backing, it can become a hazardous event waiting to happen," says interior designer Javier Fernandez of Transitional Designs.

So, just how dangerous can something as seemingly innocuous as a throw rug be?

According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Injury & Violence Research, approximately 37,991 adults age 65 and older are treated in U.S. emergency rooms each year for rug- and carpet-related falls. In a preliminary study presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2017 annual meeting, out of 544 patients treated for hip fractures at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, more had been injured on rugs than on ice or snow.

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Fortunately, keeping yourself safe without ditching those floor coverings is relatively simple. "When you select an area rug, make sure that it fits the space well without lifting at the corners and that your rug either has a non-skid backing or that you secure the rug to prevent any possible accidents," says Fernandez.

stair runner on staircase

It's not just your living spaces that are made safer with some well-secured textiles, however. "I always recommend a stair runner, especially for families with small children," says interior designer Betsy Wentz of Betsy Wentz Interior Design. "Not only do they insulate and soften sound, runners help avoid slipping on the stairs." A 2015 study in the Archives of Disease in Childhood confirms that carpeted stairs are associated with fewer stair-related falls in children under five years. Looking for more ways to make your home safer? Check out these 23 Scary Signs Your Home Is a Fire Risk.


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