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Rug Rules of Thumb

There are few items that can add more color, pattern, texture, or warmth to a space than a rug. Rugs are often the layer a room needs to feel complete, and we use them in nearly every space we design. Here are a few rules of thumb we swear by when it comes to decorating with rug.


1. Don't skimp on size

Choosing a rug that is too small for a space is a decorating mistake we see over and over. As a rule of thumb, your rug should be large enough that at least the front legs of your main furniture pieces fit on it. When a rug is too small, it ends up looking like a small postage stamp floating in the middle of the room. If you find yourself debating between two rug sizes, chances are, you should go with the bigger one!

2. Don't be afraid to layer rugs over carpet

Don’t be afraid to layer rugs over carpet. We usually do this when a carpet has a relatively flat weave, and we want to define a seating area or bring in some more color or pattern. A rug (even over carpeting) can help ground a space and add an extra layer of padding and comfort.

3. Use rugs to define separate areas in your home

In open-concept living spaces, rugs are the perfect way to define an area or zone. They can delineate specific functions within a room, like the seating area in a living room or the dining area in a kitchen. By placing a rug under your furniture groupings, you create a visual boundary and a sense of structure in the space.

4. Use rugs to repeat a pattern, color, or texture in your space

Choosing an element in your rug that you find elsewhere in the room brings a subconscious sense of calm and order to a space. In this dining room, we chose a lattice-weave pattern that mimics the lattice shape at the bottom of the wine closet.

And in this living room, the ultra-soft texture of the shaggy rug is repeated in throw pillows and blankets on the sofas, making the different elements feel intentional and connected to one another.

5. Consider your dining table dimensions

Once again, size matters! When it comes to rugs under your dining table, always aim to have both the back and front legs on the rug when a chair is in use. That way, the chair, and your guests won’t wobble. It’s ideal if the rug is large enough that when you pull out the chair, it remains on the rug. That generally means about 18-24” of rug space behind your chairs. Don’t forget to account for any table extensions or leaves on your table!

Bonus Tips:

For the best result, we like our rugs to fill a space, but not completely cover the floor. We like to keep 12-18” between the rug and the wall.

Always use a rug pad with your rugs! Not only does the pad make the rug more comfortable underfoot, but it helps keep the rug in place and can extend the life of the rug.


Let us know if there are other design questions you have or decorating tips you’re interested in. We’re here to help!


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