Selecting the Best Area Rug - Part 1 of 2

September 15, 2019

Here's why:

  1. The rug is the foundation of a well-designed room, and like building a house, if the foundation is not sound, everything you put on top/around it will be a weak representation of what you had envisioned.
  2. A small rug can make the entire room seem smaller.  That seems counter-intuitive, but it’s a fact.  While you don’t want the rug to touch the wall molding (because why not have wall-to-wall carpeting then) you definitely want it to define a space.
  3. A rug ties a room together.  It makes the room look cohesive, and gives you and your guests a lot of information about how the space will be used. It can be a fabulous focal point.
  4. A quality rug is an investment.  When you find out that the rug is going to cost $10,000, then it’s natural to “downsize” because a 6’x9’ rug is far less expensive than a 10’x12’ rug you were just drooling over.  That’s because 54 sq. ft. compared to 120 sq. ft.- 45% of space that will be covered by the larger rug, and probably cost at least double.

We’ll discuss size and shape in this offering, and talk about textile composition, types, weaves, in the second part of this entry to be published on Sept. 29.

                                          Photo Credit: Furniture Teams

Room shape

Measure your room.  If you have an open concept home, then stop your tape measure at the end of one “room,” and before the other. (e.g: at the end of the living room and start of the dining room.)  There are typically architectural clues in a space.  This will help you determine what size of rug you will need.

If you have a long and narrow room, then you’ll probably want to divide the room into two areas, and therefore possibly have 2 different rugs.

                                            Photo credit: Architecture Beast

Rules of Thumb

  1. Your rug should be 12-24” from the wall.  That means if your room is 16’x12’ then you’ll ideally want a rug that’s 12-14’ long and 8-10’ wide.
  2. Ideally all the feet on your main pieces of furniture should sit on the rug.  Yes, that means you’ll need a larger rug.  If you absolutely can not afford a rug this large, then be certain that at least the front legs/feet of your furniture are sitting on the rug.

  1. You may wish to create two different areas if you room is bigger than the measurements above, with two different functions within the room.
  2. A rectangular room will generally look best with a rectangular rug.  A square room (which is uncommon) looks best with a round or square rug.

Rug sizes

Standard rugs mostly come in rectangular shapes: as small as 2’ x 3’ and as large as 11’ x 14’ and sometimes even larger.  Common sizes include:

  • 3’ x5’
  • 5’x 7/8’
  • 6’×9’
  • 8’×10’
  • 9’×12’, and
  • 11/12’×14’

They can be rectangular, square, round, runners, and custom size rugs.

Traffic Patterns

Carefully consider where the doorways, entrances, and exits for your room are.  That will help you know how to place a rug, as well as how to place furniture.

Living Room Rug Placement

To reiterate the comment in the previous paragraphs, you’ll want all the legs/feet of your main furniture to sit on the rug. The selection should be not closer than 12”, and no further than 24” from each wall.  If you are starting over with all new furniture, then you can choose to make the rug the focal point of the room by selecting a colorful statement piece, pulling the hues together to compliment all the room’s colors.  If you are working with some pieces that you are keeping, then you will need to keep those colors in mind when you make your selection.

                                                  Photo credit: Busy Boo

Dining Room Rug Placement

In general, if the table is round, then a round rug can often create a great feeling of cohesiveness.  If your table is rectangular, then a rectangular rug will work well. If your table is oval, the same principle is true, but you may need to consider rectangular rug, because there are fewer of these shapes on the market.

Center your dining table over the rug.  Make certain that you have at least 30” (and preferably 36”) beyond the edge of the table on all sides, so that dinner guests can push their chairs away from the table and not fall off the edge of the rug.

                                                   Photo credit: DK Decor

Bedroom Rug Placement

A rug can create a wonderful cozy feeling in a bedroom.  Make sure that the first thing your feet hit when getting out of bed is that comfy feeling of the rug.  Because the bed will cover much of rug, select an all-over pattern for this rug, rather than one with a border and center medallion (that won’t even show.)

                                    Photo credit: Wonderful Engineering

Office Rug Placement

Make certain that the entire desk and chair fit easily onto the rug, providing enough room to push the chair back to stand or walk away from the chair.









Hallways and Entrances

A rug for your entry or hallway should be as wide as the door and provide enough space for a door to swing open at one end, and end 12-24” from the other end. If you plan to place any furniture in a hallway, it should sit firmly on the floor, and not on the rug that’s covering it.

In conclusion

Our next entry, to be published on Sun., Sept. 29 will talk more about rugs- specifically about textile composition, types, weaves, and rug pads.

Need help selecting this important investment in your home’s decor?  Contact us through this website, and we can help you establish an allocation that works with your budget, as well as share resources that are reputable and have amazingly beautiful options.  Together we can find the perfect choice that will create just the beauty and function for which you are looking!

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