How to Choose and Place a Rug

Rugs are an affordable way to instantly change the look and feel of a room.

That means they are worth their weight in gold for anybody who is tired of their interior theme but doesn’t have the money to redecorate/ renovate/ move to Brazil.

In the wake of the arrival of a host of handwoven kilims, we thought we’d put together a guide on how to get the most out of any rug you add to your home. 

And the more we thought about it, we felt we could distil most of our knowledge into one sentence:

Keep Your Legs Inside

This sounds cryptic but it isn’t. Long story short, good rug selection and placement relies heavily on being able to place the legs of the relevant furniture within the confines of the rug.

Get your head around this concept and you’ll make smart buying choices.

A Living Room Exampleliving room rug placement

Let’s work through a living area example. To make it relevant to the majority of our readership, let’s also say that the furniture is lined along the walls.

If you add a rug that is too small to accommodate at least the front legs of any sofas or armchairs that you may have, one thing is going to happen: your room is going to look smaller than it did before.

However, if you can place the front legs of said furniture on the rug, you will anchor the pieces, create a conversation area and engender a very deliberate look (fig. a).

You couldn’t really ask for much more than that.

If you’ve got the space, you can even take this a step further by placing the entirety of all relevant furniture (sofas, armchairs, coffee tables, display tables) within the confines of the rug (fig.b).

This unifies your room and creates an impactful look; layout your furniture symmetrically and you will create a formal feel.

The only thing to remember with this approach is to leave around 20cm between the edge of the rug and the wall.

If you are on the tightest of budgets, apply the same principle but just to your coffee table.

However, in this instance, you might be better off identifying a feature piece in your set up and placing a rug underneath that.

This will draw attention in the right direction so you can create a more memorable theme.

Just be sure that the entirety of your feature piece fits on the rug. Angle it if you need to just don’t have any overspill.

Dining Room Placement

dining room rug placement

In dining areas, you want, whenever possible, to place the rug centrally under the table (fig. c).

You also want to be able to comfortably fit all chairs inside the perimeter of the rug.

Always remember to leave some exposed floor/ carpet between the edge of the rug and the wall.

Fail to do so and it’ll look off balance.

Bedroom Placement

Bedroom rug placement 1

The bedroom is a slightly, but not entirely, different proposition.

If you have the space, go right ahead and place the bed on the centre of the rug (fig. d).

Just make sure there is enough rug to create something of a walkway down either side of the bed.

However, you can also achieve excellent results by placing just the foot of the bed on the rug (fig. e).

When heading down this route, ensure that the rug is large enough to come up to where your pillows usually sit.

bedroom rug placement 2

If you are on a budget, run a smaller rug at right angles under the middle of the bed so that you create a landing area on either side (fig. f).

This means you step down onto something comfortable every morning but it also maintains symmetry, which is important for a bedroom as it introduces a feeling of calm and order.

If your budget is tighter still, run two smaller rugs down either side of the bed. Just try to ensure that they start at the base of the pillow line and run to the foot of the bed (fig. g).

Rug colour and pattern

Rug Colour and Pattern

If you are starting a room from scratch, it is advisable to begin with a rug you love and use it to inform your colour palette.

After all, it will be easier to find cushions to match a rug than the other way around.

Shop for accessories that contain one of the accent colours from the rug and you’ll create a strong look.

If you’re adding to an existing theme, try to do the same in reverse.

Just remember that you don’t want too many competing elements.

If, for example, you have a number of design themes in your upholstery, opt for a plain rug; if you have a minimalist theme, look for a rug with a geometric pattern as this will add visual interest to your room.

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