How to Choose the Right Area Rug

Finding the perfect area rug might not be as easy as it should be! There are many things to consider, such as size, type, style and color. I’m going to walk through how to pick the right area rug for your space!


An area rug can serve many purposes:
· Reduce the echo in large rooms.
· Create warmth from cold floors (hardwood, tile, etc.).
· Define more than one area in one room
· “Anchor” furniture to the space, for example when the furniture is not placed against the wall.
· An inexpensive way to add color and texture to the room.
· It can serve as the inspiration for the décor theme of the room.
Selecting an area rug is one of the first elements I consider when designing a space for a client.  It can help determine the look and feel of the room.


The area rug should be to scale of the room. When a large rug is in a small room, it makes the room appears smaller. Like a small rug in a large room makes it seem bigger.
For family rooms and living rooms, measure the length of your couch to find the length of the rug. For example, my sectional couch is 9 1/2' long, so the length of my rug is 10’. I don’t have any end tables, but if I did, the area rug would need to be longer so they would fit.
For dining rooms, area rugs should be at least 2’ wider than each side of the table. This makes it easier to pull/push the chairs, without catching on the ends of the area rug. My table is a 3.5' round table, so my rug is an 8’ round rug. This leaves a little more than 2' on all sides for the chairs.
In bedrooms, take the width of the bed and add at least 4’ (2’ for each side) to get the length of the rug. Here is an easy Guide to follow (these are the minimum sizes, you could go bigger, if you want):


Once you know the size you need, it's time to decide on a type. This depends on the function of the room and your lifestyle.

Outdoor Rugs

These are a flatwoven rug, that can withstand weather, spills and heavy traffic. These are also good for entryways, dining rooms, and kitchens.

Low Pile Rugs

Low pile rugs can also handle high traffic areas, but are softer than flatwoven. And they are easier to clean than high pile. This rug is the most versatile for any area of the house. They are especially ideal for living/family rooms, playrooms, and home offices.

High Pile Rugs

These plush, comfy rugs are perfect for areas with not a lot of traffic, such as bedrooms. They could also work in living/family rooms, if you don’t have any pets and/or eat and drink in these rooms.

Shag Rugs

I love the shag area rug I have in my basement, because it’s a warm, cushy barrier from the concrete floor. But it’s also hard to vacuum! I recommend only putting these rugs in areas that are not used often, such as guest rooms or bonus rooms.


The next thing to consider before shopping for an area rug is the style of the furniture and décor.
There are several styles of area rugs, but I’ve grouped them into three main categories to keep it simple.

#1 - Modern

Modern styles usually have a geometrical and/or abstract pattern. The colors can be bold and bright. If the style of your furniture and home is modern, stick with a modern rug.
Photo by Blake Woolwine on Unsplash

#2 - Traditional

This style is classic and symmetrical. The colors are usually more muted and soft. If your home and décor is more traditional, you’ll want a rug to go with that.

#3 - Neutral

Neutral styles can fit with any style. The colors are usually neutral and/or solid. This style is versatile and can go with any decorating style.


The final decision to make is how you want the area rug to contribute to the colors in the room.  Area rugs are an easy and (fairly) inexpensive way to add color to your room.  When choosing a color palette, you should have no more than 4 colors, 3 is ideal (1 neutral and 2 accent colors).   The neutral should be around 60%, and the accent colors about 20% each.


In rooms where you want the area rug to complement the décor, look for an area rug with similar colors.
Photo by Sidekix Media on Unsplash


If you have a neutral couch, you may want a bold color in the area rug, or vice versa. I like to put a bright, patterned rug under a simple dining room table, so it stands out.


This is the middle ground between the two above. It doesn’t completely blend or contrast with the colors in the room. It incorporates one or more of the existing accent colors.

A Word About Carpeted Rooms

It used to be taboo to put an area rug in a room with carpet. But rules are meant to be broken! While it’s not necessary to have an area rug if you already have carpet, an area rug can help define the space. Area rugs add color and texture, especially since carpet is usually neutral. It can also extend the life of your carpet, if you’re not quite ready for the expense of replacing it.

Hot Tip!

If you have pets and/or kids, Ruggable has washable area rugs that are easy to maintain. When they get dirty, you can wash them in your washing machine. And they are easy to install!
An area rug can add or detract from the look and feel of a room. The decision can be simple and easy when you follow the tips above. The end result will be a feeling of peace and happiness every time you walk into the room!
Schedule a Discovery Call to see if Three-Sixty Interiors would be the right fit for your project!

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