Shopping for a rug can be challenging and confusing — especially if you have an awkwardly-shaped room or an unusual mix of furniture. Without the right information, you might end up purchasing a rug that does not fit your space. A rug that is too big will make a room feel cluttered, whereas a rug that is too small will make the furniture seem like it’s floating. Challenges aside, a rug is the finishing touch for almost any room. It ties a space together, adds coziness, and brings in a new color, texture or pattern.
The first step in shopping for a rug is to measure the entire perimeter of the room and write this number down. Let us say that you have a room measuring 12 feet by 16 feet. For a larger space like this, you want the rug to fill up most of the room, otherwise your furniture won’t feel grounded. So here is your rule of thumb: A rug should be about 1 to 2 feet from the wall on every side, consistently. The ideal number is 18 inches from the wall, but there’s a bit of flexibility here if you’re shopping for standard rug sizes. So with a 12-by-16 room, you would want to look for a rug that is 10-by-14. It’s easy math: Subtract 2 feet from both 12 feet and 16 feet and you end up with a rug size of 10 feet by 14 feet. If you’re looking for a custom-size rug, then opt for the 18-inch subtraction method. So your ideal rug size would then be 10.5 feet by 14.5 feet.
The one exception to this rule is if you have a very small space, and the length of your space is 12 feet or less. In this case, you should look for a rug that is 5 feet by 7 feet or 6 feet by 8 feet. With this type of rug and space, your furniture (except for a coffee table) is either placed outside the perimeter of the rug or placed half on the rug.
A 6-by-8-foot rug in a smaller space
Once you have your room measured, it is time to begin thinking about the type of rug construction that you want. There are many different types of rugs, and it is important to understand the different construction types, especially if you are purchasing online. There are five rug types: hand-knotted, tufted, hooked, flat-woven, and braided.
A silk and wool patterned rug
It’s important to choose the right kind of material for your rug to make sure it will work well with your lifestyle. Certain rug materials work best for kids and pets; others work well for frequent furniture rearranging.
A jute rug fills a living room, with some spacing between the walls
If your room needs a burst of color, then a rug is a great way to add it. If you have different colored pieces in your space, a rug can help tie all of these colors together — or tone them down. For example, let’s say you have a brown leather sofa, and two green chairs, with navy and green accent pillows. You can look for a rug that has these colors in it. If the furniture colors are more saturated, a neutral rug can be a great way to make them seem less intense.
Rugs come in a variety of different and fun patterns. If your room has a lot of solid colored pieces in it, then a fun, patterned rug is a great way to spice things up. Or, if you already have a lot of patterns on accent chairs and pillows, for example, look for a rug with less pattern.
A cut-pile patterned rug adds some depth to a living room
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