Designer Tip :: Area Rug Placement

Rugs serve a myriad of purposes in a room -- they add warmth and texture, delineate different zones, ground furniture groupings and provide contrast to flooring.  Rugs really are the foundation of any room and shouldn’t be considered an isolated item.  Choosing the right size rug is super important -- a too-small rug can make your room look smaller!

Definitely don’t leave selecting an area rug until the end of the design process -- you could end up spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to find the right rug to match the furnishings and accessories, and maybe not ever find the “perfect” rug at all and end up settling {boo.}  A beautiful rug is a great investment and I often will start to create a palette for the room based on the colors I find in them.  The colors don’t have to be exact matches -- shades of the colors you find in the rug work beautifully.

via centsational girl

via centsational girl

Rugs can define areas within a room or be the whole field of the room, it’s all a matter of preference.  If you want the rug to cover the whole room, a good rule of thumb is to have 12”-15” of flooring exposed around the edges to frame your rug.  If you are using a rug to ground a seating area, make sure that at least the front legs of your larger upholstered pieces are sitting on the rug.  Also, make sure that the rug is wider than the sitting area or it will feel smushed.

design :: thom filicia. Seen in elle decor.

design :: thom filicia. Seen in elle decor.

If you are placing an area rug in a dining room, the rug should be large enough that your guests can push their chairs away from the table without the legs of the chair going off the edge of the rug.

photo :: dan piassick

photo :: dan piassick

When it comes to area rugs in the bedroom, your rug should extend at least 18” on either side and at the front of the bed so your tootsies touch the rug and not the cold hard floor in the morning.  You can also place a smaller rug at the foot of the bed, but make sure it is wider than the bed or else the room will feel unbalanced.

via amber interior design

via amber interior design

If you have your heart set on a particular rug that may be too small for the space you’d like to place it in {or the price of the correct size rug is out of your budget} try layering.  Choose a solid color rug {sisal or jute work really well in this situation} in the appropriate size and layer the smaller rug on top.  You can also layer area rugs over carpet too -- the area rug still serves the purpose of grounding a furniture grouping and adds contrast and texture to the space.

Another piece of advice :: always keep the room’s function and traffic patterns in mind when selecting a rug.  Think easy-to-clean materials in kitchens and high-traffic areas -- you don’t want to put a beautiful silk rug in an area that sees a lot of muddy feet, for example.

These rules aren't hard and fast, there are always exceptions!  In the end it's all about creating a room that you love and want to spend time in, right?

Apartment Therapy put together a great post full of sources for inexpensive area rugs - you can read it here.