Updated: Jan 20
Happy New Year, folks!! We're starting the new year with a topic of utmost importance, how to choose the right rug size for your room. I've included handy images for easy reference and for your pinning pleasure :)
One of the biggest decorating pitfalls is rug size. Because rugs jump in price as you size up, you may be tempted to go for a smaller rug than you ought to for your room's dimensions. But I'm here to urge you to choose the best rug size and material for your room, because (and I don't think I'm overstating this) it will make or break your design.
Suspect? Check out the photos below and let me know what you think.
Are we agreed? Excellent, let's proceed :)
There's a few problems with rugs that are too small:
they appear to shrink the size of your room
they throw off proportions
it gives the impression you ran out of budget
A rug that's the proper size for the room on the other hand:
makes the room appear larger
lends a generous feeling to the room
grounds all other elements you place in the room
is the most comfortable way to live.
Standard Area Rug Sizes
The most readily available sizes for rugs are as follows:
PSA: Unless you live in a studio apartment downtown NYC, don't even think about purchasing anything under a 6x9' for your living room! Truly, the only time and place for a 5x8' or 4x6' is a front entry. A rug this size in a room as large as a living room (even a small living room) will give what we call in the industry, a "flying carpet" effect...where only the coffee table has legs on the rug. Read on for how to avoid this design sin ;)
Rules for Rugs
At least the front legs of your couches and side tables must sit on the rug (see above).
If in the odd case it's not possible to have front legs on the rug, leave a few inches between the end of the rug and couch. Don't let the rug butt up to furniture.
Bonus points if all 4 legs can sit on the rug, this is such a generous look.
A rug should be a minimum of 6" inches from a gas or electric fireplace (depending on whether the fireplace sits on the floor or is raised, how hot it burns, and material of rug), and an arms length from wood-burning fireplaces to prevent flying embers from catching.
A media console or bookshelf shouldn't sit on the rug.
If you own a rug that has sentimental value but is technically too small for the space, simply lay it on top of a larger rug that is the proper size for the room. For example, a vintage Persian looks traveled and interesting over a simple jute.
Leave ~4-12" between rug and wall, and take note of your floor registers.
If you are lucky enough to have floor outlets, don't worry about covering them up, you can purchase flat extension cords which can run underneath the rug.
Types of Rugs
Your budget will greatly impact which fibre of rug to go for, but here's a breakdown of the differences in fibres given by Rug Chick.
BEST = natural fibers (wool, silk, cotton). These are the strongest, best to dye, and best to walk on fibers. They will also be what is used in hand woven rugs, which will tend to be more valuable rugs to own. You will also see wool used in the higher quality machine woven rugs like Karastan.
DECENT = synthetic fibers (nylon, olefin/polypropylene, acrylic, polyester). These are the “fake” rugs that are trying to look like wool but are a poor substitute. You should buy these only if you understand they are cheap product and you need a rug that you consider “disposable” after a few years.
BAD = crummy rug fibers (rayon/viscose, sisal, jute). These are fibers that really are a horrible choice to use as a rug. Rayon and viscose fibers are weak, they yellow, they bleed, and they shed. Sisal and jute you can’t have spills on because they release oils and discolor in a way that is truly tough to correct without using some bleaching agents.
How to choose the right size area rug for your room
The simplest rule of thumb I can create around this, is to go for the biggest rug that will fit in your room.
For example, if your room measures 10' by 14', you'll want to shop 9'x12' rugs. Yes I know the 8x10' is $200+ cheaper, but take my word for it, you will regret not sizing up!
Let's say your room is 13x16', and you have a media cabinet that is 18" deep. In this instance, a 12x15' rug will be too large to accommodate the depth of the media cabinet, and a 10x14" would be best.
Bedrooms & Dining Rooms
Do these rules apply to all rooms? In general they do. However, some additional factors to consider in bedrooms would be if the bed is off-centre, you'll want to get the right size rug to centre on the bed, rather than in the room. Rugs go perpendicular to beds, and can either end just before the nightstands or go under them so that the front feet rest on the rug.
In a dining room, you'll want to ensure that the rug allows for the chairs to be fully pulled back and forth without getting tangled up in the rug. In general terms, this means you want the rug to extend beyond the table on all sides by at least 2 feet.
Can I put a rug over top of wall-to-wall carpet?
Yes you can, and I hope you do! The goal of rugs is the same in any room, despite the flooring, namely to act as the foundation to all furniture in the space, and unify the different elements. It's also an opportunity for colour, texture and/or pattern. I would recommend a rug pad between carpet and rug to keep from slipping, just as I would when laying a rug over hard floor materials (wood, tile etc).
Hopefully these rules work in your room seamlessly and take all guesswork right out! But there are definitely special cases where the rules of thumb aren't enough to go on.
For example, if the focal architecture in the room is off-centred, or you have a complex open-concept plan, or an irregular shaped room. If you fall into one of these categories, I'd highly suggest booking a consultation with us, which can be done virtually or in person. One bad decision pays for the designer, so get the expertise before you start in on your purchasing, it will cost you much less in the long run, as you'll love your expertly curated room longer.
Do you have any questions about choosing a rug? Drop it below!
Until next time,