Posted on Mar 9, 2017

As the first blog in our Back to Basics series, our team will be exploring the essentials: color palettes, area rugs, simple how-to’s, and more. 

There is no one question that we are asked more often, or one concept of interior design that is so frequently fudged as the area rug. This simple fixture is the key to a well-designed space: If it’s too small, your whole room looks off-kilter, if it’s too large, the space’s aura isn’t right. As the first installment in our Back to Basics series, we’re going to start with the area rug– how to pick it, how to style it, and how to get it right.

 are rug

Size Matters

Maybe one of the most important features of your area rug is the shape and the size. Take a picture of your space and show it to your designer so the dimensions of the room are well-communicated. In addition to a couple of snaps of the space, bring along any fabrics, colors, or finish samples that show off the room’s style so your rug complements the look.

The living room is one of the most common spaces to place an area rug. Whether your living room is decked out in carpet or sleek with laminate or hardwood, area rugs are always a good idea for these high-traffic areas. Luckily, the living room is a versatile space and can be configured based on your needs. Most shapes and sizes can be positioned well in a living room. A few tips to note:

  1. There are a thousand rules out there about what you’re supposed to do with furniture legs and how they’re placed on an area rug. The KKDL rule? Have furniture sit completely on the rug, or perch the front legs on top to anchor the piece.
  2. There are also a thousand more rules telling you what NOT to do. Our only ask: Do NOT put a rug the size of a postage stamp in the middle of the space then proceed to plop a coffee table on top. It may have worked in your dorm room, but adult interior design dictates we pay attention to proportion.

The bedroom rules are similar but unique to the space. When choosing a rug for your master or guest space, note that the rug should stretch the span of the bed its placed below. In a guest or kid’s room that houses two beds, an area rug can serve as the focal point laid between the two. Other ideas include:

  1. For maximum impact, pull the area rug to the base of your nightstand. This adds emphasis to your bed and doesn’t distract from the rest of the room’s design.
  2. Again, don’t go postal! Make sure the size of the rug is just as big, or a little larger than the bed. You should be able to step off the bed and have your feet land on the border of the area rug.

Perhaps the most useful area for a rug is the dining room. Whether you need a catch-all for crumbs, a stylish center piece, or just want added comfort underfoot, an area rug serves several needs all while looking cool and collected. It’s important to note the size of your dining table as well as the dimensions of the room. Some things to note:

  1. It’s up to you, but we like when all four legs of the dining room chairs have a spot on the rug. If that isn’t possible, make sure you at least have the front legs situated on the area rug.
  2. Love entertaining? Make sure you opt for an area rug that fits the bill even when you add extra leaves or chairs to the dining table situation.

area rug

Shape Shifting

Now that we got size out of the way, the next big worry on most people’s agenda is the shape of the rug. Interestingly enough, this is an easy one. 99% of the time you will be using a rectangular rug in your space. Dining room, office, living, you name it. Rectangular area rugs are versatile, easy to style, and pair with almost every furniture configuration. 1% of the time, though, you may throw a circular rug into the mix. Circular rugs look best under bistro-like dining table situations or tucked under the bed with the trim peeking out. Circular area rugs are a great way to add softness to the space without foregoing structure.



Baby Got Back

No matter how fluffy or tufted your area rug is, it definitely needs backing. Backing comfortably ‘sticks’ your rug to the floor meaning less frequent trips and spills in the entry way, or upward peeling or snagging in the dining room. If your rug isn’t backed, opt for a rug pad. While it isn’t quite as cozy as the backing, a rug pad forces your area rug to stay in place.


Nice ‘n’ Clean

So you find the perfect rug. The size fits your space, the style fits your taste, and once your furniture is placed on top, you’ve reached design nirvana. However, life happens. Below are a few *quick* fixes for when your daily routine interferes with your new area rug.

So the baby got sick…

Gentle laundry detergent, a splash of white vinegar and a little bit of elbow grease and you’re solid.

That’s the last time I’m painting my nails on the floor…

Dab the spot with nail polish remover! If the stain persists, gently work in laundry detergent with a wet cloth.

Rover! You’re supposed to do that outside

Better safe than sorry– take it to the dry cleaner.


Now that you’ve been officially educated in rug selections, which will you choose? Leave questions or feedback in the comments below!


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