Choosing the Right Size Area Rug

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 you’re looking at the rug in the store, it looks much larger than it does once it’s on your living room floor. That’s why it’s so important to take measurements before you head out shopping for a new rug.


Decorating rules are never written in stone, but generally, you’ll 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, children’s 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 bed’s 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 bed’s 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 walker’s 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:

  • The rug is large enough so that the entire couch, coffee table and one or two chairs fit on top of it. This looks especially good if your seating area floats in the middle of the room. You’re going to need a large rug to accomplish this, but it gives the room a wonderfully cozy, pulled-together feeling.

  • The entire coffee table is on the rug, but just the front legs of the couch and chairs. This works best if your couch is backed against the wall, and the chairs are fairly large. With smaller chairs, it will look best if the entire chair sits on the rug.

  • The rug is in between the couch and the chairs, with none of their legs on top of it. This suits a very small room, or a casual, side seating area. In a big room, however, it will look too small, and leave your seating area disjointed.


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



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