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How to Choose the Right Area Rug

Area rugs can do a lot of great things for a space, but you shouldn't make the choice lightly. Here are tips for choosing the right area rugs for your home.Area rugs can do wonders for a space. They are great for defining areas, adding a punch of interest with color or pattern, warming up a harsh floor, or simply making a space feel cozier and more dynamic.

Choosing an area rug, though, can be a little tricky. There are a lot of factors to consider to ensure you make the right choice. If you simply go out and grab the first one you think is pretty, you could run into a lot of problems such as it not fitting the space right, clashing with your decor, and not being durable enough for your lifestyle.

To make the process simpler, we’ve put together a list of tips for choosing an area rug. Keep these things in mind when you start shopping and you’ll have a much better chance of going home with an area rug that suits your space and needs perfectly.

5 Things to Consider When Choosing an Area Rug

Size of the Space

The most important aspect of choosing an area rug is getting one that fits the size of the space. An ill-fitted rug – whether it’s too big or too small – will look “off” no matter how beautiful it is. In a living room, make sure the rug is large enough to fit under the front legs of the furniture unless the furniture floats in the middle of the room in which case it should be large enough to fit under all four legs of each piece. In a dining room, it should extend past the chairs by at least 2 feet. In a bedroom, it should extend ⅔ past the edge of the bed. In a hallway or entryway, a good rule of thumb is for the rug to be about the width of the door.


Another important thing to consider is how durable you will need the rug to be. Is the rug going to be in a high-traffic area? Will there be a lot of dirt or pet hair being tracked through it? If so, you’ll want to use a material that can handle heavy foot traffic and won’t fray easily. A white shag carpet, for example, would not be a good choice for a family room where kids and pets will be frequently playing. Choose a low-pile rug for areas with lots of activity, including an entryway, so it will be much easier to keep clean.


Think about why you want to get an area rug for a particular room. Is it to define a space? Add a pop of color or pattern? Make the floor softer? Give the room a natural touch? In a bedroom, for example, you’re probably looking for something soft and warm beneath your feet, so you’ll want to focus on area rugs that offer cushion and a touch of luxury. If you want to bring a natural vibe, then a natural fiber rug could be exactly what you are looking for.


The area rug you choose should complement the style of the space and work in harmony with the rest of the decor. It can be easy to get caught up in the beauty of a specific area rug, but if it clashes with the rest of the decor then that beauty will be completely lost in the space. If you want to go with a boldly patterned area rug, for example, then it’s best not to mix it with furniture that is covered in lots of eye-catching patterns or else they will fight with each other. Similarly, make sure the style of the area rug works well with the style in the space. A very ornate rug, for example, is likely to clash in a very relaxing, modern space.


Area rugs can become expensive very quickly if you look at certain materials and patterns. Set a reasonable budget ahead of time, taking into consideration things like how quickly you may need to replace it depending on how much traffic it gets, whether you’ll be moving soon and may not be able to fit it into the new space, and generally what amount you are comfortable investing in a rug.

If you’d like some help picking out an area rug, check out our virtual decorating service!

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