Rugs are a very popular design item that can be used to change a look, add warmth to a space, or even define your room. 

There are so many choices, but a common question is…how do I choose the right sized rug for my room?

Let’s start with the purpose. What is the rug there to do in your room? 

In a living room a rug will define the living or sitting space and provide an anchor for your living room furniture. This is especially important if you have, or are planning to have, open space living where you can move freely between the living, dining, and kitchen areas.  

In a living room, a rug should run the length of the sofa, and extend under and to either side of a sofa. Ideally it should extend under the sofa by around 1/3 of its width and be around 15cm wider than the sofa. 

If you have coffee tables on each side of your sofa, ensure they are the right proportion for the space, and allow the rug to reach beyond them. Also, any armchairs in the setting need to fit onto the rug comfortably, and in equal proportion to the sofa. This means if the two front legs of the sofa sit on the rug, make sure the two front legs of armchairs also can sit comfortable on the rug. Or, if your can really go big and the entire sofa sits on the rug, aim to have any armchairs do that same. This is ideal, but sometimes room proportions don’t allow it. 

Now, we often talk about proportion and scale. For your rug, it needs to feel in proportion for the scale of the room or space. Aim to leave around 30cm gap between the edge of the rug and the wall. If you leave less space the rug will feel as if it’s overwhelming the room. You don’t want the feeling that a rug is taking over, aftercall it’s there to anchor and define a room.

We see so many rooms with a rug sitting under the coffee table, but not reaching far enough to go under the sofa or armchairs. Choosing the right proportions will ensure you join your room together, provide comfort under foot and really create a sense of luxury. 

For us, you can never go too big (to a point) when choosing a rug and often if someone has to ask, “is the rug big enough”, we’ll immediately respond “if you have to ask, then go bigger”! 

A great way to work out how the size of the rug will work is to use painters’ tape, and tape it out in the room. This way you can easily see if the proportion of the rug will work and how, or where, furniture can be situated. 

Sometimes you may have a favourite rug, and you want to keep it. It’s a family favourite, or you bought it on your overseas trip (don’t we all remember those!), but it’s now too small for your space. One way to keep it, and keep the proportion of your space, is to layer the rug. Depending upon the colour of your base floor, look for something neutral, perhaps a jute rug, that is more in proportion with your space, and you can then lay your family heirloom on top. Of course, you need to be careful with the texture and pile of the base rug, but layer is fun and it’s an easy solution. 

When you’re shopping for rugs, here are a couple of easy tips. 

  • Measure up the room or space and aim to have around 30cm between the edge of the rug and the walls. 
  • Plan for the rug to go along the length of your sofa, or the longest sofa in the room.
  • Ensure the rug is large enough to go under your sofa by around 1/3 of the depth of the sofa.
  • Anchor your rug and furniture in the space by ensuring at least the front legs of your sofa and/or armchairs sit comfortably on the rug. 
  • And before you go shopping, try that little trick with painter’s tape! Tape it up on the floor to see what the size looks like in the room. 

Rugs are also great additions to dining rooms and bedrooms, so we’ll take a look at those spaces next week and give you some tips for success!  

June 15, 2022 — Mark McKie

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