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How many inches away from the wall should an area rug be on each side? And how do you keep less rigid Persians and the like from tripping you up - i.e. flat on the floor?

I am the queen of dimension control - I'm not sure why, but I have the ability to detect whenever something isn't in perfect balance. Rug-wise, a large sisal-type carpet should sit about a foot from the wall, revealing, say, five narrow strips of wood; beyond that, a smaller carpet to define a more intimate space can be layered over it. (In France, precious Persians were historically laid atop larger wool carpets, which would hold the Persians in place, preventing them from becoming "flying carpets.") If you aren't, however, doing the layering thing, you need to lay thin rugs atop a non-slip underpad (or reduce your alcohol intake). Beware, too, of carpets that curl up at the edges. In any case, you should always rotate your carpets after cleaning so that you spread the wear and tear. On the flip side, carpets that have visible signs of aging can also be appealing.

Follow architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace, president of Taylor Hannah Architect Inc., on Twitter: @ddtaylordd. Have a design dilemma? E-mail

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