Simple Rules To Finding The Perfect Rug

Posted In Knowledge - 02/26/2017

Adding to the beauty of rugs is that they offer both form and function.  Practical for warmth, softness underfoot and sound absorption; they also enhance your home décor, giving a room a polished and finished look. Choosing the right area rug isn’t as scary as it might first seem if you know a few key tips for styling your room.


Depending on the room you are working with, there are different strategies for determining the size of rug you’ll need.

For Your Living Room, Family Room, or Great Room:

For any room with sitting or conversation area that includes chairs, sofas and coffee tables; you’ll want your rug to frame the conversation space.  The sofa and chairs should both sit on the area rug.  Depending on the size of the room, you can either have just the front legs on the rug or have the rug extend to include the back legs as well.  While some do not like the “island look” that is created when the rug extends beyond the back legs of the seating furniture this sizing is commonly used in bigger rooms where sofa and chairs are placed well away from walls.

Usually a small area rug that just sits under the coffee table and not including the seating pieces will not match the scale of the space and can end up looking incomplete or awkward.

To look purposeful, you want to leave some space between the edge of the rug and the wall, typically leave 1 – 1 ½ feet.  An exception to this would be if you have a “home office” space in part of your room that you are defining with a rug.  In this case you would want a rug that fits under both the desk and the pulled out chair.  This would still look polished if it comes within inches of the wall.

Take a tape measure and carefully measure the dimensions of the space.  You can even mark it off with painters tape to give you a visual idea of how it will look.

For Your Dining Room:

Measure the length and width of your table and add about 4 feet to each dimension.  This will give you two feet on each side of the table, enough to comfortably fit your dining chairs even when pulled out. The typical area rug to go under a dining room table would be at least 8 to 9 feet long.

For Your Bedroom

In the bedroom, you won’t need a rug to go under the entire bed. Instead here are a few different techniques that work well.  First, a rug that goes about ⅔ of the way under the bed. It should continue for a few feet on the foot and both sides of the bed.  This will automatically be perfect scale for your room. A second option would be two narrow runners placed on either side of the bed.  The key in the bedroom is to align your rugs so that they are underfoot when you get out of bed.

However, if money is an issue or in already carpeted bedrooms, a third option is a narrow runner rug that just runs perpendicular to the foot of the bed.  This gives the room a pop of color or pattern with a minimum of expense.


Your home’s entryway is a great place for a circular rug.  Since it typically won’t have any furniture placed on it the entire rug design will be visible.  A medallion design can work well here.   You’ll want to stick with a woven or low pile for two reasons. You don’t want the door to get stuck on a think rug, plus since it is in a high traffic zone, you want something durable.  If you have a large entryway space with a chandelier, the rug should be centered below the light fixture. 

In the Hallway

The hallway is the perfect place for a runner.  Though hallways can often offer a neutral palate with little potential of clashing, you’ll need to be cognizant of what you can see through each doorway.  To keep your house looking cohesive, choose colors and patterns that bridge the rooms rather than something in a completely different style. If you have a hallway table, console table or bench it should be completely off the rug

Style, Color, Design

When choosing a design don’t forget to consider where furniture will sit on the rug.  In the living room the coffee table will cover a good portion of the center.  You’ll want to look for a rug featuring an all over pattern, not a center focused medallion – that is better suited for the entryway.

If you are lucky enough to be starting from scratch with your room, many designers recommend choosing a rug first and then keying off of the colors and patterns and style of the rug in the selection of the rest of the room.

However if you are adding a rug to a room of existing furniture, then you will want to think about balance. In a room with bright colors and busy patterns, a subtle pattern or solid rug will work well.  If the key pieces of furniture in your room are fairly solid or muted, the rug can be the work of art that brings the room to life.

Material and Make

In determining which type of rug is right for you, consider first how it will be used.  Is it a heavy traffic location, will kids and pets frequently use the space, will people be sitting on it, will you have shoes on or off?  All these factors can help you determine what type of rug will best suit your needs.

If it will be in a spot with lots of traffic, kids and pets, woven or low pile last longer.   If it is in the bedroom, with low traffic and you are looking for luxurious softness and warmth for your bare feet, plush or shag could be your choice.

Then consider which type of rug looks and feels best to you? Go to the store look at different options, even slip off your shoes to get a feel for it.  Do you want the warmth of a deep pile or shag?  Does the sisal that catches your eye will provide the feel you like?

Types of rugs can be divided into two categories:

Woven Rugs

Dhurries and kilims (tapestry) are flat weave rugs woven from wool and cotton and are often reversible.  Known for bold patterns and bright colors, they are very flat rugs and considered both durable and easy to clean.

Natural woven rugs are woven from the fibers of jute, sisal, hemp or seagrass.  They hold up to heavy traffic, tend to be very affordable and easy to clean.  Natural woven rugs are softer than expected underfoot, especially when paired with a carpet pad, but they don’t provide the warm feeling of other rug types.  Typically are available in neutral colors, they give a room a relaxed and welcoming beachy or provincial cottage yet neat and tidy feel.

Tufted rugs

Also known as pile rugs, are created from cotton or synthetics being looped through a mesh backing.  These rugs are not reversible, but are available in a wide range of depths, patterns, and colors.  While not a durable as woven rugs, short pile rugs will last longer than long pile or shag rugs.  Shag rug wouldn’t be ideal for a high traffic family room with kids and pets, but would provide a soft, warm place for your feet in the bedroom.

After understanding the plusses and minuses of each, narrow it down to the kinds of rugs that match your lifestyle.  Then it really comes down to personal preference.  Will it provide you with the form and function that you desire?  If yes, then go for it!

And as a final note, don’t forget the rug pad – not only will it prevent the rug from slipping and provide extra padding, it can prolong the life of your area rug while protecting the flooring underneath as well.