An area rug is an investment. It doesn’t have to be a large financial investment so much as a space and style investment! A rug is a decision that will hopefully check some of the boxes that rugs can add to a space - they can tie together a room, feel good underfoot, bring warmth and texture, add some pattern and color, and complement a design direction!
Much like the art industry in the past decade, rug offerings have exploded at the entry level or “value” price points. From traditional to transitional to modern, there is something for everyone. Read on to arrive at what is best for your space, with sizing, materials, and design to be considered! We also share some of our favorites!
Instead of measuring the dimensions of a room and then finding a rug slightly smaller, we feel the easiest way to arrive at an acceptable size is to understand not the wall measurements, but the furniture layout.
A small room may feel dwarfed by a rug that fills too much floor space, and a large room may call for different, complementary rugs to define different zones. Consider the center of the furniture layout, and measure out from there.
A living space will likely have a cocktail table or ottoman at its center, and we place chairs and sofas at an 18” distance from the table or ottoman perimeter. The rug should follow, and be large enough to allow the front legs of a sofa and/or chair to rest comfortably on the rug. It does not have to extend beyond the back of the sofa or chairs but should definitely lie between the front and back of the legs. Beware of furnishing front legs barely making it on to the rug - that makes it appear like its holding on for dear life and will make the space appear smaller.
This photo depicts a floorpan and how the rug size relates to furniture placement for a living space.
A Dining room rug should have a low pile (fiber height) to allow for chairs to move freely, crumbs to be vacuumed easily, and - in contradiction to a living space - the furniture should be fully ON the rug, and when chairs are pushed out to leave the table, remain on the rug otherwise the chair legs and rug edge could get caught up.
In this graphic, you can see how floorpan for this generous rug size allows for the furnishings to be fully on the rug at all times:
For a bedroom, there is more flexibility. The rug does not have to be under the bed and nightstands; instead you can have the rug extend beyond the base of the bed but have some leeway as to where the rug starts. If you have carpet or love the look and feel of wood floors, a smaller rug at the base can just add a little touch of style!
This graphic is a recent client bedroom with area rug placement. Note the legs of the nightstands are not sitting on the rug.
For an Entry, a vintage rug that allows front or hallway/closet doors to open without touching the rug is important. This space is a first impression for so many guests and should not be overlooked - it simultaneously adds texture and interest.
A vintage rug can also be a good choice for an odd-sized room as they do not come in standard sizing and dimensions vary greatly. Alternatively, a jute or natural fiber rug can cover a larger amount of square footage and allow an irregular sized rug to sit on top and still “work” in more traditional dimensions of a space.
Need kid-friendly materials that can hold its own? Try PET Yarn or Indoor/Outdoor rugs! Looking for plush organic materials to last a long time? Wool would be perfect! Looking for a relaxed yet elegant style? Layer a generous jute or sisal rug with a smaller, patterned vintage choice!
Lifestyle, home inhabitants, and amount of traffic in a room are all considerations to make when choosing a rug material.
A higher traffic area, or one with young kids or pets, may need an indoor/outdoor rug or something made of polyester to keep costs down and offer some resilience to the ins and outs of a busy family.
Surprisingly, a vintage runner or rug is a decent choice for a high traffic area as well! These rugs are generally very forgiving in their varied and muted patterns, and the faded or “washed out” quality is part of what adds to their timeless beauty and uniqueness. Re-think areas in your home - whether it’s a hall or mudroom - to bring in a dose of style from the floor up! Powder Rooms, too!
Wool is a sound choice for a living space or bedroom, but since it is all natural and usually hand-woven, it comes with a heftier price tag. It will hold up very well and should be cleaned professionally over the years.
For rooms that are more sheltered such as a primary bedroom, a viscose blend provides a very refined look with a subtle sheen. Viscose is a man-made fiber emulating silk and can be paired with cotton and/or wool for increased durability. Note that viscose in general is a higher maintenance product and does not fare well when water or liquid is spilled on it, so be cognizant of the fiber content when purchasing a rug with viscose in it!