How to Choose a Rug to Make the Perfect Room

Rugs are a great way to spruce up the style of any room in your house. Looking for design inspiration and décor direction? Check out these helpful guidelines on how to pick your rug and arrange your furniture.


1. Check Rug Area Size

To figure out what size rug will look best, measure the area you’d like to cover. For living rooms, measure the floor space that frames your furniture and creates a conversation area. Don’t skimp on size. If your rug is too small, your room will look smaller and not well put together. You don’t want a carpet that “floats” in the room. On the flip side, you don’t want a rug that’s way too big and butts right up against the baseboards. Make sure some of the flooring shows and the rug complements the color and texture of the floor. Ensuring that you have the correct area rug size is critical to putting together a room.


If your decor is modern, consider a square or oval rug rather than rectangular. Your overall goal is to create a comfortable cohesive space.


2. Choose Materials

Once you know the dimensions of the rug you need, think about materials. How much traffic and use does the room get? Rug area is crucial when deciding which rug material to choose. When in doubt choose something durable. Natural rugs that are woven from plants like jute are resistant to wear and tear and perfect for places with lots of foot traffic. Wool and cotton materials are durable and can be used just about anywhere. New wool rugs will shed initially, but the shedding will lessen with vacuuming within 3 to 6 months. Keep this in mind if you have white furniture and a vibrant colorful rug. You might be in for a little more vacuuming than you planned for. If you can afford it, hand-knotted rugs, although more expensive, are worth it because they can last 10 to 20 years or longer. A good machine-made one can still last 20 years if it’s well cared for, but quality does count here. The less expensive the rug, the shorter the life.


3. Consider Foot Traffic

Consider where the rug is going. In high-traffic areas like the front entryway or hallways, the most durable rug is natural wool which lasts much longer than synthetic or cotton. Wool doesn’t fade and resists dirt and stains naturally so you can’t go wrong. Generally speaking, spending more on a high-quality rug is worth its weight in gold as it lasts so much longer, retains its shape, and doesn’t fade. If you’re just putting a rug under a coffee table, or if you just need a spot of color next to the bed, you can go less expensive. On the other hand, you’ll need a reasonably durable rug under your dining room table. Chair legs moving back and forth can damage an inexpensive weave rather quickly.   


4. Determine Rug Colors

Make the rug the center of attention and use it to pull the design of the room together but make sure you choose your colors wisely. If you’re decorating your room from scratch and have fallen in love with a patterned or colorful rug, you have more leeway and can choose the rug first. In that case, it’s easier to pick the runner first and then match the furniture to it.


If you already have your furniture and a lot of color in your room, selecting a neutral or a single shade is a safe way to go.


Add accessories that complement after that. Remember that the area rug is one of the largest things in the space so make sure it goes well with your flooring too.


5. Pick a Rug Texture

Often overlooked, richly textured rugs make the room feel layered and well planned out. If you do decide to choose a thick and heavily textured rug, think about who and what will be walking over it. Make sure it’s not a hazard for pets or older guests. Consider a beautifully textured rug a piece of artwork and decorate around it. Heavy rug textures don’t go well in the dining room or rooms with lots of traffic. Lower nap with close woven fibers works better with moving chairs and feet.


Once you’ve chosen your rug, order a rug pad to go under it. It keeps your rug in place, extends its life and makes it even softer underfoot.


Easy Tips for Rug Placement

Although rugs are great in any room, we’ll focus on helping you with the placement of rugs for the main rooms of your house: living room, dining room, bedroom.


Living Room Rug Placement

Start with the size of your seating area. This may or may not be your entire room. Select a rug as large as possible within that area. You’ll want the furniture on the rug, but if that’s not possible make sure that at least the front legs of the chairs and sofas are on the rug. Keep in mind that when you’re sitting, you want the comfy rug under your feet - not the cold floor. 

Quite often the entire room is taken up by the seating area so keep orientation in mind. Rectangular rugs go well in rectangular rooms. For square rooms, either square or round looks good. 

If you’re placing a rug under the coffee table, make sure it’s big enough so that all four legs are on it.

Standard living room rug sizes: 5 ft x 8 ft,  6 ft x 9 ft,  8 ft x 10 ft,  9 ft x 12 ft 


Dining Room Rug Placement

To get the dimensions for a dining room rug, measure the width and length of your table then add two feet on each side. Most dining tables require a rug that is at least 8 feet wide.


If you wonder how to choose a rug that will work well with your seating, just know you’ll want to be able to pull all the chairs back and still have them sitting on top of the rug. If you can’t do that, ensure at least the front two legs are still on the rug. 


As to shapes, octagon and round rugs look great under dining or kitchen tables with the same or similar shapes. And don’t forget to consider durability. If you have a young family, you’ll want an easy to clean rug.


Standard dining room rug sizes: 6 ft x 9 ft, 8 ft x 10 ft, 9 ft x 12 ft, 8 ft round


Bedroom Rug Placement

For a bedroom layout where the head of the bed is up against the wall, choose a rug that extends from front of the bedside table to the bottom of the bed.


If you’d rather not have a rug under your bed, think about placing a runner at each side of the bed. This way when you get up in the morning your feet aren’t hitting the cold floor. A good rule of thumb is to keep an equal amount of floor space around a rug. That gives the room balance.


If your family has allergies, vacuum the rugs at least once a week, and more often if you have pets. It should become part of your regular home cleaning checklist to ensure a happy and healthy home.


Standard bedroom rug sizes: 5 ft x 3 ft, 5 ft x 9 ft, 6 ft x 9 ft, 8 ft x 10 ft


We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our tips on how to choose a rug for your home. For more tips, visit Pulte Design.



Contributed to Your Home blog by Carol Youmans

Looking for more tips, ideas or inspiration? Return Home here.

Published 6.16.19

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