How to Choose a Rug

Rugs can pull any room together, helping you achieve a cohesive look and feel to your home. However, a rug can be a fairly large investment, and you’re likely to keep one for years. That means you want to make sure you get it right the first time around. Learning how to choose a rug can help ensure you make the right decision.

How to Choose a Rug Color

Choosing a rug color is a great place to start in your search for area or accent rugs. Whether you’re looking for a rug that’s a single color or something with a pattern, you’ll want to consider the other furniture and decor in the room before choosing a color.

Here are our tips for how to choose a rug color:

  • Decide if you want your rug to stand out or blend in. For instance, if you have a room with more neutral colors like beige or gray, you may want to choose a brightly colored rug to add a pop of color to the room.
  • If your walls and furniture are mostly solid colors, you may opt for a patterned rug in complementary colors so the eye is naturally drawn to the center of the room.
  • If you have a room with a lot of colors or patterns, you’ll want to choose a rug in just one color or with neutral tones so it doesn’t clash with the existing furniture and decor in the room.
  • Make sure you choose a color that you love and don’t mind seeing every day. When you invest in a rug, it’s typically something you’ll have for a while.
  • You’ll also want to consider any changes you plan to make to the room when choosing a rug color. Pick a color that will still align with the look and feel of the room, even after you’ve introduced new furniture or decor.

Should Rugs Match Walls or Furniture?

Unless you are going for a monochromatic interior design style, your rug should not be an exact match to the walls or furniture. Instead of using the same color shades for your rug, find a rug that matches the tones in the room. Whether that’s choosing a color with subtle differences or finding a color that is complementary to the furniture and walls, you’ll want to stay away from rugs that are the same color.

Choose a rug color that aligns with the feeling you want your space to create instead of exactly matching the shades of other elements. This ensures that no matter what color combination you use in the room, you maintain a sense of cohesiveness. That way, if you decide to repaint the room or swap out the furniture, you’ll still have a rug that can pull the room together.

How Big Should a Rug Be?

The size of your rug will depend on the size of the room and the furniture in it. The size and placement can really impact the feel of the room and how big it appears. You’ll also want to consider any obstructions, like HVAC vents on the floor or doors that swing open into the room.

Before you go rug shopping, make sure you measure the room and furniture while considering possible layouts or placements for the rug. You can use painter’s tape to map out where the rug will go so you have a better idea of how it might fit in the room and look in a different size or position.

Here are some tips on how to choose a rug size for the types of rugs everyone should own:

Living Room Rug Size

For the living room, the rug doesn’t necessarily need to fill up the entire room. The goal is to anchor your seating. A common placement for larger area rugs is underneath all four legs of the furniture. This is a good option for large, uncluttered rooms.

You can also choose a rug that runs just under the front feet of sofas and chairs. If you do this, you’ll want to make sure any end tables or floor lamps are completely on or off the rug. You also want to maintain a 1-foot border between the rug and your walls.

Dining Room Rug Size

When choosing a rug for the dining room, you’ll want to have at least 24 inches on each side of the table so there’s room for the chairs to pull out. If your dining room table is expandable, keep this in mind when measuring the rug size, as you’ll want the rug to still fit underneath the table when it’s extended.

If you have a round table, you can still use a rectangular or square-shaped rug. If you want a bolder look, a circular rug is a great fit for a round table.

Bedroom Rug Size

There are two placement options for bedroom rugs that will impact the size of the rug. You can place the rug under the entire bed and nightstands or place it under the front two-thirds of your bed. You’ll want to allow 2 to 3 feet on each side of the bed so you have a warm place to put your feet when you first wake up in the morning.

Some people may opt to instead place a runner on each side of the bed or a single runner at the foot of the bed. If your bed is pushed up against one wall, you might also opt to put a smaller rug on the side of the bed that is not next to the wall.

Choosing a Rug Design

Just as you would with choosing the color, you also want to think carefully about the rug design before you make a purchase. If your furniture and walls are solid colors, a patterned rug can really bring the room to life.

Knowing how to choose a rug design for your room helps ensure the room looks cohesive and offers the feel you’re going for. The wrong pattern can end up clashing with your furniture and decor, making the room feel chaotic, unorganized, or just unappealing.

Here are some quick tips on how to choose a rug pattern:

  • Decide if you want something bold and eye-catching or something more subtle. A free-form contemporary design or graphic rug can become a statement piece in your room, while a more subtle striped or herringbone rug can add texture without becoming the star of the show.
  • Consider color when choosing a rug pattern. Whether you’re choosing a bold or subtle patterned rug, you’ll still need to consider the colors. Make sure the colors in the pattern align with the color scheme of the room it’s going in.
  • Choose a piece that’s timeless. Style trends come and go, but if you’re looking for a rug that will last you years, you’ll want to choose something more timeless. When looking at rug patterns, don’t just think about what’s trendy; consider what you’ll love for years to come.

How to Choose a Rug Pad

Now that you know what to consider when buying a rug, let’s talk about how to choose a rug pad. Rug pads help protect both the rug and the floor underneath it. They also prevent the rug from bunching up and becoming a tripping hazard. All area rugs in your home should have a rug pad that is slightly smaller than the size of the rug, allowing the rug to taper to the floor so there is no tripping or stumbling over it.

When you choose a rug pad, you’ll want to consider the level of cushion you prefer. The thicker the rug pad, the more cushion it will provide. Make sure you’re choosing a rug pad cushion that allows any doors to clear the rug when opened.

Opting for a non-slip rug pad is also a great idea, especially for rugs in high-foot-traffic areas. The non-slip pad holds your rug in place and anchors it to the floor, so you can avoid a bunched-up rug and reduce your chances of slipping on it.