Selecting a rug for a given room in your home involves more than simply focusing on specific colors and textures—you’ll want to pay close attention to measurements, too, to ensure that the piece you pick enhances your space and doesn’t detract from it. To help you ensure that the rug you buy fits your space just right, we’ve called in the pros. Read on for tips from designers regarding how to shop for the right sized rug without fail.
Consider Room Size and Major Furniture Items
Whatever you do, do not skimp on rug size! “It's probably every designer’s pet peeve when an area rug is too small for the space,” says Kerri Pilchik of Kerri Pilchik Design.
So, in that case, what is an ideal rug size in the eyes of the pros? Elaine Burns of Pistachio Designs prefers to keep a foot to a foot and a half of space between the edge of an area rug and the wall. “This typically is a good starting place to understand the scale of the rug you’ll want for a particular room,” she says.
Of course, you will want to take major furniture pieces, such as a sofa, dining table, or credenza into account, too. Many designers, including Burns, believe it is best to have furniture legs touch the rug fully for aesthetic purposes as well as practical ones. As designer Rosanna Bassford of Eggshell Home notes, you will want to ensure your dining table and chairs fit fully on the rug “so that your chairs are not catching the edge of the rug every time they are pushed out and pulled in.”
In the case of a sofa or bed, opting to have just the front legs touch an accent rug is also acceptable, Burns says. Bassford offers a quick tip on choosing an area rug based on bed size. If you have a queen mattress, go for an 8 by 10 foot rug, while king sized beds should be paired with 9 by 12 rugs—or larger.
Or Simply Choose to Fill a Space
Why not use an area rug to provide the illusion of wall to wall carpeting? You may wish to do this if your living room floors have seen better days or if you’re aiming to cover up flooring that just isn’t your style—such as linoleum, for example. Either way, Bassford suggests leaving 12 to 18 inches of flooring showing all the way around the room. This way, the end result appears more elevated than the wall-to-wall carpeting that many of us steer clear from, Bassford adds.
Note That Incorporating Multiple Rugs is A-OK
If the idea of including multiple area rugs in a room shocks you, take a second to consider just why this tactic can be beneficial. “In a very large living room, you may want to create multiple distinct areas like a main conversation area and perhaps a secondary conversation area, workspace, or playspace,” Bassford explains. “In this case, use two different rugs to delineate each space.” Of course, you will want to ensure that the rugs you select are the proper scale for their given nooks using the guidelines we’ve highlighted so far.
Layering Rugs is Also an Excellent Approach
Pilchik notes that layering rugs can be a great money saver—and it’s certainly a stylish approach, too! Consider opting for a budget-friendly jute or sisal piece as a base and layering your smaller, custom rug on top so that you can still follow key design rules without breaking the bank. A layered look also contributes to a warm, collected looking home and can add visual interest to a space, too.