Area Rug Tips and Ideas – Living and Family Rooms
When it comes to decorating with area rugs some people might follow what we call ‘rules’ and I say ‘rules shmules’ – rules are highly overrated, just like unpainted wood and moderation.
However, there are some generic guidelines and tips you can use to help you choose the best size and style of area rug for your room. And while there are many ideas for every room in your home, this post will apply to spaces like living rooms and family rooms.
And you might be thinking, ‘but I just need to know what size I need!’ but the thing is, once you know HOW you want to place it, take the tips below and your tape measure and that will show you what size you need!
Area Rug Guidelines and General Rules
Area Rug Tip #1
2 pieces should sit the same distance on the rug
Whether you want your rug slightly under your furniture or ALL the way, the concept should apply to at least 2 of your main pieces of furniture (the odd arrangement can accommodate otherwise, but just assume that yours doesn’t, capiche?)
Sometimes you can’t quite get it even, and that’s okay, just do the best you can as the more even the better!
Area Rug Tip #2
Area Rug on carpet
If you’re going to put an area rug over your carpet, you’ll want to find one that is thicker than the carpet you are putting it on (doesn’t have to be drastically so, but at least a bit). While some of the thin, tapestry style rugs are gorgeous, they won’t lie flat on a carpet and will get bumpy and lumpy when you put furniture on them.
Area Rug Tip #3
Don’t go too small
If your rug won’t fit at least a bit under 2 pieces, then you may as well lick a postage stamp, slap ‘er down and call it a day.
I think the above photo proves my point nicely…
And THIS is the exception…
This bad boy makes me SO happy. It’s irregular shape and show-stopping look make it a perfect statement rug without needing to be full-size.
Area Rug Tip #4
The long side of the rug should follow the longest piece of furniture
Now, sometimes this doesn’t work, but in the ideal world, you would have your longest piece of furniture line up with the long side of the rug. If you can’t make that happen (due to other room issues), at least make sure there is 6″ of rug showing on either side of your longest piece (as suggested in the next tip), otherwise, the rug is just too small!
Area Rug Tip #5
The Rug MUST extend at least 6″ or more beyond the arms of your main piece of furniture
Really, this should be more of a rule than a guideline. If your area rug lines up with the arms of your couch, it will look completely reedonkulous. This point follows what I was saying in Guideline #4.
For things to stay proportional and sane you need your rug to be at least 6″ beyond the arms on either side…at least.
Area Rug Tip #6
I have to say, I haven’t met a living room that has looked good with a rug that is smaller than 8×10. 7×9/5×8 – this size if more of an accent for a smaller sitting area. If you have a living room that is MAYBE EVEN on the small size, I would do an 8×10 rug. With the thought that the rug could be approx 24″ away from at least 2 walls, even a 10×12 room would suit an 8×10 rug!
Area Rug Tip #7
Consider your room
Your area rug can dictate the rest of your space with its colour, texture and pattern.
While your rug might look good ‘for now’, try not to choose a rug that might limit your future choices if you like to switch things up now and then.
Area Rug Tip #10
Don’t be afraid to put an area rug on wood flooring
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had clients say to me, ‘…but I don’t want to cover up my beautiful wood floor!’ While I appreciate the sentiment behind this (wait, not really), you aren’t necessarily doing your floor any justice by leaving it bare. Quite often rugs help to define a wood floor, especially when there are other wood pieces in a space such as tables, entertainment centers, walls. They also add acoustic value and texture.
I love the above living room but feel like the sectional and ottoman float without an area rug to anchor them.
It’s kind of like a framed picture. As a bare canvas it’s certainly beautiful, but once framed it really shines.
Rug Rule and Ideas
- If you have a focal point like a fireplace or TV stand, try to have your rug centered on this.
- In the ideal world you’ll want your rug centered on 2 things (ie couch and fireplace), however, at the very minimum it should be centered on 1 of them.
- The length of your area rug should be centered on your longest piece of furniture. If you have a couch with a loveseat beside it, you’ll want the area rug centered on the couch at the very least.
- Your rug choice might be determined by your age. I’ve been to many homes where I’ve said,’Well, what about a shag rug?’ and they say, ‘been there, done that honey – lived in it for 20 years!’ So, I take that as a no?
- Try not to butt your rug right up to the front of something (ie: couch or fireplace). If it can’t fit under it, it should sit a minimum of 4″ in front of it.