Larger area rugs are growing in necessity due to the popularity of open floor plans, but every room, regardless of style or layout, can benefit from a properly placed piece. Area rugs define space, improve flow, and provide starting points for both scheme and theme. Armed with these basic pointers, you can easily choose the right size and type to anchor your dining room, living space, bedroom, playroom, entryway, and more.
Tip #1: Pay Attention to Size
Dimensions are key to optimal rug results. A rug that’s too big for the room has the same visual effect as an over-sized sweater, drowning the wearer in fabric, while a rug that’s too small for the space makes a room look gawky or off-scale, much like short pants on a tall guy.
Although an 8-by-10 or larger rug can accommodate many settings, it’s important to remember that any rug should sit roughly six to 24 inches from surrounding walls. This keeps it from dominating or diminishing the space; the bigger the room, the farther from the wall the rug should sit. That being said, layering rugs can bypass this rule.
Tip #2: Let the Room Dictate the Rug
Rather than trying place a rug wherever it will fit, let the space guide placement.
• In a large or open-concept living room, a rug’s perimeter takes the place of walls, tracing the living area. Group your seating arrangement completely within the boundaries of a large rug for coziness.
• In very large living or family rooms, try creating two seating areas on matching or coordinating rugs.
• For a small living room with seating against the walls, stand just the front feet of the couch and chairs on the rug. Note that in any conversation nook, the rug can sit off-center to the couch in order to complement the room’s orientation—wide or narrow.
• The bedroom rug typically sits perpendicular to the bed under its lower two-thirds, leaving the floor bare at the head for bedside tables.
• A dining room rug should be large enough for all chairs remain on it when they’re pulled out for use. The ideal dining-room rug shape is one that complements the table—a rectangular or oval rug for a long table, and a round or square one for a round or square table. Alternatively, create drama by basing a large rug’s shape on the room’s shape, regardless of table type.
Tip #3: Use Complementary Tones and Match Texture to Function
An attractive rug can be a room’s centerpiece, with its neutral hue or bold pattern setting cues for furniture, accessories, form, and theme. For consistency, use assorted rugs in similar hues as color links from room to room.
Choose the rug’s texture and durability based on the space it occupies. For example, a child’s bedroom rug should have a thick, soft pile for playtime and romping. Entryway and rec-room rugs need to withstand muddy shoes or bustling feet, making a hard-wearing, washable indoor/outdoor rug a smart contender.
By paying attention to context—space, size and function—it’s easy to find and place a rug and create a room you adore.
-Roth + Allen