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Choosing the Right Size Area Rug

One of the most common decorating mistakes is choosing an area rug that is too small for the room. When youíre looking at the rug in the store, it looks much larger than it does once itís on your living room floor. Thatís why itís so important to take measurements before you head out shopping for a new rug.

Decorating rules are never written in stone, but generally, youíll do best by sticking to the following guidelines.

Rectangular rugs work best in most spaces. Use a square rug in a small, square room. Round or oval rugs look best in foyers, childrenís rooms, small seating areas or wherever you want a touch of casual whimsy.

When choosing a rug to go underneath your dining table, the rug should be large enough so that diners can pull their chair back from the table and still have all four of the chair legs on the rug. An 8x10 rug is the right size for most tables that seat six.

In the bedroom, decide if you want a rug to go underneath your bed, or merely at the bedís foot. If the rug goes under the bed, it needs to be large enough so that at least 12 to 18 inches of rug shows at the bottom of the bed and on each side. Or use a smaller rug just at the foot of the bed. This rug should be a little bit wider than your bed for best effect, and fill most of the space between the bedís foot and the wall or dresser.

Hallway runners should leave just a few inches of floor exposed on each side. For safety, the runner needs to be wide enough for both of the walkerís feet to easily land on the rug with a normal stride.

In the living room or family room, there are a number of ways you can go.
Cover ugly or stained carpet, worn wood or cracked tile with a room-size rug. The right size leaves 8 to 12 inches of bare floor exposed on all sides of the rug.

Use smaller area rugs to define seating areas. There are three possibilities here:

These rules are good guidelines for choosing the best size area rug, but remember: itís your home and what you love is always best.

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