How to Choose an Area Rug

Hi Neighbors!

What size area rug do I need? I hear this question at least twice a day. It can be difficult to select the perfect rug, but we do have a few tips to make the most out of your space.

My number one rule is to never settle for size because of budget. It is like buying the off brand chips. The bag is full of air and they are already stale. They fit the need, but you keep wishing for that good crunchy Lay's. 

We all know rugs can be pricey, especially after you have just purchased a beautiful hardwood floor. Often when we visit homes we see that people have purchased a few small rugs to save on money. You have to be careful with this concept as it can make your room look chopped up. The point of an area rug is to bring the entire room together. Bigger is usually better.

The first step to selecting a rug is to measure the space you desire covered. This is the ENTIRE seating area with the furniture included. If your budget is tight and your room is small, you can have a smaller rug that floats in front of all the furniture. This look is best achieved if your sofa is backed against the wall. You do not need to waste the rug real estate under the sofa if you cannot see it. Make sure your rug has at least 6 to 10 inches on either side of the sofa. This is crucial. If the width of the rug is the same as the width of the sofa it will look small, creating a bowling alley effect. If your furniture is floating, or you have a large, open room, get a bigger rug to remove the chance of chopping up the room as previously discussed.

Orient the rug to the room. If you have a long room, orient it lengthwise. If you have a wide room, orient it horizontally. If you orient the rug to your sofa, rather than the room, you are making "sections" in the room; piece by piece making it appear smaller. So when in doubt, go with the orientation of the room. 

Often if you have a long and skinny room, you might create two different seating areas and select two rugs that are aligned with those areas. If you pursue this, try to find rugs that are similar in either color or texture so the room stays cohesive. 

When selecting a rug for the front entry hall, make sure you completely clear the door. Leave at least 6 inches of bare floor on either side of the entry hall runner. Dining room rugs should extend at least 18 inches beyond the edge of the table so that the rug accommodates the dining chairs when they are pulled out from the table. In bedrooms, try runners at each side and even the foot of the bed, or place a rug one-third of the way under the bed to achieve the same look. 

Legs on or off the rug? Our best advice is to BE CONSISTENT. If you don't have a massive rug that fits all your furniture, and that is the main idea, make sure that you are at least consistent with how you handle the legs. If your sofa legs are off, the chair legs must be off as well. If you absolutely must choose which legs should be on, then choose the ones that are the least obvious, such as, a low sofa that backs to the wall. You are less likely to see under it and reveal the fact that it is not fully on the rug. 

If you have a rug that is too small but you love it, buy a large sisal that fits the whole seating area and layer your favorite rug on top. Sisal, jutes, seagrass rugs are inexpensive so buying a 9×12 for coverage is more affordable per square foot. 

There are many "rules" when shopping for area rugs, but a rug can make or break your room. Many designers suggest purchasing a rug and then designing the room around that rug. I believe in this to a certain extent. My best advice on decorating a room is to find a single piece you love and decorate around that piece. Many times this ends up being the rug, as it is one of the more expensive décor items in a home.  

Here at the store we have the ability to design a rug specifically for your space. Not only to we carry all of the traditional area rugs, but we can cut and bind any carpet to your exact specifications. This is especially useful when you are designing around another piece of décor and cannot find a simple rug in the correct color. 

Do not be overwhelmed when shopping. At the end of the day, it is your house. If you are happy with the look, you have made a good selection. We are here and happy to help if you want advice. I hope you enjoyed this neighborly conversation. Forward this advice on to a friend if you know someone who might be interested. Next month we will be discussing cleaning procedures for different types of floor covering. Happy New Year! 

 return to main page