How to Choose the Right Area Rug for Your Space

Are you on the hunt for a new area rug? Ready to add comfort underfoot and bid adieu to that cold floor? Consider these tips and recommendations for choosing the right area rug for your space.

Fit Your Lifestyle
Will your area rug be placed in a high-traffic or low-traffic area of the home? If you have children or pets, an easy-care rug with stain-resistant properties is a must. Avoid looped rugs that may snag on your pet’s nails. If you have your heart set on a fluffy, high-pile rug, consider placing it in a low-traffic area or using it to add a luxurious touch in the bedroom.

Practical Concerns
Measure the size of the area ahead of time, and determine furniture placement beforehand, if possible. If the area rug will be placed by a door, note the rug thickness before purchasing. Be sure that the rug is not so thick that it will prevent the door from opening and closing. Consider the appearance of the other items in the room; if window treatments and furnishings have striking patterns, opt for a rug with a subdued pattern or solid color.

Remember a Rug Pad
A good-quality rug pad will provide nonslip protection for your floorcovering while cushioning your step. It will also help your rug to last longer and will make it easier to vacuum. Most rug pads can be cut to size with scissors. Be aware that some rug pads are intended for hard floors or carpeted surfaces only; while others are reversible and can accommodate both types of flooring.

Entryway
This area of the home receives heavy foot traffic, so choose a rug that is durable and easy to clean. For an entryway, select a rug that is slightly wider than the doorway to accommodate more than one person. A low-profile rug is best so that the door can open and close easily. Another option is to place a simple entryway mat close to the door and to position your area rug farther away from the door. Remember a rug pad to keep the rug in place.

Hall
Allow flooring to be visible on all sides of the runner rug for balance. A rule of thumb for runner width is to choose a rug that will leave 4”-5” of flooring visible on each side. For length, determine if the runner will be used as an accent in the center of the hall, or if it will be full-length with just a few inches visible on either side. Just be sure that the runner does not stop halfway in front of a side door.

Living Room
Again, measuring the space and knowing the furniture placement is key. A common approach is to choose a mid-sized rug and to anchor the rug with the front of legs of furnishings positioned on it. You can balance seating by placing coasters under the back legs. Of course, no decorating rules are set in stone, and you may prefer a large rug that will allow all the furniture legs to rest on it. For this “floating” layout, most decorators recommend that you leave 18”-24” of bare floor space around the perimeter; for smaller spaces, 8” around the perimeter will suffice.

Living Room Rug Placement Ideas

Dining Room
Choose a rug that is at least 24” larger than the dining room table on all sides. For example, if the table measures 4’x6’, select a rug that is at least 8’x10’ to allow room for the back legs of the chairs to remain on the rug when the chairs are pulled out.

Dining Room Rug Placement Ideas

Bedroom
An area rug in a bedroom is perfect for keeping bare feet from touching a cold floor. When selecting a patterned rug, keep in mind that the bed will cover most of the rug. Decide if you want all furniture to be on the rug, or if the rug will be placed only under the lower two-thirds of the bed. Leave at least 18” of rug on either side of a Queen- or King-sized bed (and at least 12” for smaller beds). Instead of one large rug, runner rugs can be used at the sides of the bed if you prefer.

Bedroom Rug Placement Ideas

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