Written by Merri Cvetan
You just moved into your new home. You’ve purchased the perfect furniture and accessories. You even found the perfect area rug to add to your hardwood floors, but you’re totally stumped on which size to buy.
There are so many questions: Should the furniture be placed on or off the rug? Does the rug go underneath or next to the bed? How big should a dining room rug really be? It can seem overwhelming, but here are seven simple tips to help you choose wisely. After all, a good rug is an investment, and you don’t want to make any costly mistakes.
Rule #1: Always Go Big
Rule #2: Keep Your Furniture on Your Rug
An area rug should anchor your seating arrangement, so place rugs underneath sofas and chairs. Ideally, your rug should fit entirely under your sofa and side chairs. If that’s not possible, make sure at least the front feet of your furniture are on the rug, even if it’s only by a matter of inches. In order to look balanced, rugs should also extend at least 6 inches beyond the arms of the sofa.
Rule #3: Try Layering
Consider layering your area rug over wall-to-wall carpeting. Most people seem to think that this is a decorating “don’t,” but nothing could be further from the truth. An area rug over carpeting adds texture and color to a room. In this case, the area rug can be a little smaller than usual – just make sure it’s placed right up to the edge of the sofa/chairs. And make sure your area rug and carpeting are compatible: a too-thin area rug over plush carpeting will never lay flat and may slide around.
Don’t be afraid of pattern, color and texture! An area rug can be the focal point of the room. If your furniture upholstery is neutral, choose a colorful or patterned rug. It doesn’t have to match perfectly, but it should coordinate with the other colors and fabric in the room.
Rule #5: Your Rug Should Be Bigger than Your Bed
Think big when choosing a rug for your bedroom. Your area rug should be big enough to extend two or three feet beyond the edge of the bed. After all, you want to step onto a cozy, warm rug when you get up in the morning!
Rule #6: Your Dining Chairs Must Fit Completely
Chairs should sit perfectly and completely on an area rug in your dining room—that means all four legs on the rug even when they’re pushed away from the table. Never have the front legs of the dining chair on the rug and the back ones off. Not only does it look funny, but it’s dangerous, as your chairs are unbalanced and more prone to tipping over. You can easily estimate the size rug you’ll need by adding 24 to 36 inches to each side of your table. If your table has extension leaves that you use often, choose a rug size to accommodate the table with the leaves in. In terms of shape, a rectangular table needs a rectangular rug. A round table can support either a round or square rug.
Rule #7: Think Outside Standard Sizing
Area rugs tend to come in standard sizes, usually including:
- 3 x 5 feet
- 5 x 8 feet
- 8 x 10 feet
- 9 x 12 feet
If you need an odd size rug, you can always have one custom-made. It might sound expensive, but it may be more affordable than you think. Simply purchase regular wall-to-wall carpeting, have a carpet installer cut it to your desired size, and finish the edges with binding or serging to get a custom rug without the custom price tag.
Now you can avoid the stress of buying a brand new rug only to find it’s the wrong size. Just follow these rules to make sure your new area rug fits perfectly in your home, so you can enjoy your beautiful, cozy new space.