The right area rug can really tie a room together but an ill-fitting rug can throw off your perfectly planned design. How to choose an area rug is more than just finding the right colour and pattern; size matters and it differs from room to room. Whether you’re looking for the right rug for your living room, dining room, bedroom, or anywhere else, we’ve got some easy tips to follow to ensure your room has the best area rug for your space.

Before you start decorating:

A key design tip is to start with the area rug first and design the room around that. This way you know what kind of furniture to purchase so that it all fits together like a cohesive room. Picking out your rug first will also help you when choosing paint, curtains, art and other room decor. Of course, if your room is fully assembled and all you’re missing is the rug, this design rule can be broken.

living room area rug

Image courtesy of Nest Studio

Living Room

Most people have an area rug in their living room. While the size of the rug is dictated by the size of the room, here are some easy tips to keep in mind when shopping for the perfect area rug for your space.

1. Tiny rugs make a room look small.

If you have a choice between a rug that is a bit on the small side versus slightly larger than you intended, go for the bigger one. Having a too-small rug in a big room will make the room look smaller and your furniture will look awkward and cluttered around a small rug.

2. Front couch legs should be on the rug.

Ideally, your living room rug will fit so that the first legs of your couch or chairs are on top of it. If you go bigger than this, make sure the rug fits the space. You don’t want a rug so large it’s folded up behind the couch, trying to squeeze into a tiny space. You can use painters tape on the floor to visually see how a rug will look in the space before you buy it.

3. Layer rugs for a designer feel.

If you have a smaller rug that you love and want to use, make sure it is big enough so that a coffee table can fit on it comfortably (not so small that the coffee table is the ONLY thing that fits on it; there should be room around it). It will look best if the rug is as long as or a little longer than the couch. You could also try layering a larger, neutral rug under it to help bring the space together.

dining room rug

Image courtesy of The Weekly

Dining Room

If your dining room is looking a little boring, the right area rug can add some much-needed personality. Just make sure you find a rug that can handle the wear and tear of a high traffic and often messy room.

1. Table and rug shapes should match.

Find a rug that fits the shape of your table. If you have a rectangle table, use a rectangle rug; a round table should have a round rug, and so on. A round rug under a square table will look like it’s not meant to be there and will make the space feel off. This simple tip will make the room look right.

2. All chair legs on the rug.

Similar to the living room, if your area rug is too small for the space, it’s going to look awkward and you should skip putting your tiny rug there. Instead, make sure the rug is big enough so that when pushing your chair away from the table to get up, the chair is still on the rug. Doing this will also protect your floor from the constant moving of the chairs.

3. Hide spills with a patterned rug.

Realize that any rug you place in a dining room is going to get food on it. Because of this, it’s best to get a rug with a pattern or in a darker colour. They won’t show stains and you won’t have to worry every time you serve red wine with dinner. Try using an indoor/outdoor rug as it’s designed to be more durable. If you have a cheap rug that looks nice, this is the place to put it. You shouldn’t be too attached to the rug that goes under the table where you eat.

bedroom area rug

Image courtesy of Chris Loves Julia

Bedroom

Who wouldn’t love waking up in the morning and stepping onto a plush rug? As long as the rug fits the space, an area rug in the bedroom is a great way to make your room feel a little bit more luxurious.

1. The two-foot rule.

Make sure that when placing the rug, it is long enough to reach the back of the head of the bed and also sticks out at least a foot from the end of the bed. If your rug is not large enough to reach both the head and foot of the bed, place the top of the rug to hit just before your night tables. In general, you want there to be two feet of rug around the perimeter of the bed (excluding the head). Having a too small rug in the bedroom will make the space and your bed look smaller than they are.

2. Abstract patterns and neutrals.

When choosing a rug for your bedroom, consider the pattern on it. If there’s a focal point in the center, it will literally be lost under the bed. Instead, opt for an all-over or abstract pattern so that the placement doesn’t affect the look of the rug. Neutral rugs are a great option as bedrooms are usually full of patterned sheets, covers and curtains. A solid coloured or textured rug will fit into any space.

3. Rugs as space dividers.

If your bedroom is also a multipurpose room and will have a vanity section or a home office, use multiple rugs to break up and define the spaces. Much like in your dining room, make sure the rug is large enough so that the desk and chair can both comfortably fit on the rug. Having a too small rug will make it seem like it’s not meant to be there and throw off the flow of the room.

bedroom rug

Image courtesy of The House of Wood

Area rugs are great to tie a space together, or help separate and define spaces as their own. When choosing your next area rug, keep these tips in mind and you should have no design faux pas. If you’re looking for expert help, check out HomeStars for Carpet & Rug Retailers in your area. Now that you know what you’re looking for, we’re sure you’ll find the perfect rug for your home.

Posted by Jessica Greaves