Mastering Area Rug Placement: 11 Rules and Creative Breaks

When it comes to selecting the perfect area rug for your space, the age-old question arises: "How big should an area rug be?" There are countless "rules" and opinions on this topic, but the key is to find the right balance that suits your room and style. In this article, we’ll delve into 11 area rug rules and how to break them to help you make the best choice for your home.


1. Front Legs on the Rug, Back Legs Off

nuLOOM Kellum Vintage Area Rug, 7

One of the most common rules suggests that the area rug should be large enough for the front legs of sofas and chairs to sit on it, creating a cohesive look. However, an equally valid approach is to have only the front legs on the rug. This technique can visually connect furniture pieces while maintaining a sense of proportion. The subtle similarity in tone between the rug and the flooring can make this rule exceptionally effective.
Contrary to the previous rule, another approach is to place all furniture legs firmly on the rug. This method often results in a more cohesive and polished appearance. It’s crucial to determine your furniture placement before selecting the rug size when following this rule.
In some cases, a hybrid approach works best. For instance, you can have only the front legs of the sofa on the rug while allowing the chairs to remain entirely on the rug. This combination can be effective, especially in larger rooms where the contrasting tones between the rug and flooring play a vital role.

4. No Furniture on the Rug

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If you prefer a unique look, consider a small rug where none of the furniture touches the rug. This approach allows the rug to introduce a pop of pattern or color into the room while maintaining an open and airy feel.

5. 18 Inches of Bare Floor Around the Rug

To create a well-balanced visual effect, leave approximately 18 inches of bare floor around the rug. This rule helps define the space and prevents the rug from overwhelming the room.
These five rug placement rules and their variations provide valuable guidelines for choosing the perfect area rug for your space. Remember that while rules are helpful, personal style and room size play a significant role in determining the best approach.
In conclusion, the "11 Area Rug Rules and How to Break Them" provide you with a foundation to make an informed choice when it comes to selecting the ideal area rug for your home. Whether you opt for a traditional or unconventional approach, the key is to create a harmonious and visually pleasing space that reflects your unique style and preferences.

Discover More About Area Rug Styling

How do you make an area rug safe?

To ensure the safety of your area rug, you can employ a simple yet effective method, much like using both a belt and suspenders to keep your pants securely in place. By combining carpet tape and a rug pad, you’ll double the security of your rug, especially on hard floors. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Carpet Tape Application: Start by applying carpet tape to the backside of your rug.
  2. Attach the Rug Pad: Next, firmly adhere the rug pad to the other side of the tape.
    This two-step process not only prevents slipping but also ensures your area rug stays firmly in position, enhancing both safety and comfort in your living space.

How do you break in a new rug?

To break in a new rug effectively, follow these steps for a smoother, wrinkle-free appearance:

  1. Unroll and Flatten: Start by unrolling your new rug and laying it flat in the desired location.
  2. Allow Time: Patience is key. Give your rug the time it needs to settle naturally. Leave it undisturbed for several days to a few weeks.
  3. Relax and Flatten: During this period, your rug will gradually relax, losing wrinkles and bumps as it adapts to the environment.
    By following these simple steps, you’ll ensure that your new rug not only looks its best but also provides a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing addition to your space.

How many area rugs are too many?

Is there a limit to the number of area rugs you can use in your space without it feeling overwhelming? While there are no strict rules, you can employ some fantastic interior decorating tips to maintain a harmonious look without making it appear as if you’ve gone overboard with rugs.

What are the rules for an area rug?

What are the essential rules to consider when it comes to area rugs? One key guideline is the 70% rule, which suggests that your rug should cover a minimum of 70% of your floor space, leaving approximately 1 to 2 feet of space between the rug and the wall. Rug layering can also be a fantastic solution, especially when working with a smaller rug while aiming to fill the floor space effectively. These rules provide a helpful framework for achieving a balanced and visually appealing room layout, ensuring that any rug mistakes can be easily corrected.

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