Our Expert Tips for Choosing a Rug

An essential aspect of the design and function of a room, a rug grounds and softens the space, helps with acoustics, and contributes to the overall design direction of the room. When it is right, the room feels serene and complete. When it is wrong, the entire space just feels "off." With size, pattern, and material to consider, choosing a rug can be tricky. Today we are pulling back the curtain on how we choose a rug for every space.


#RDHIllinoisnewbuild | Photo by Ryan McDonald

Living Room

In general, using as large a rug as possible will give a better result. A rug that fits the room will ground the space and offer more layout options for furnishings. We prefer that the front legs of the furnishings all sit on the rug, so for most living spaces, a rug should be at least 8'x10" but 9'x12" or even 10'x14" will be the best option for larger rooms. If you have a cherished vintage or heirloom rug that is too small, you may consider layering a solid wool, jute, or seagrass underneath it.


Photo by Ryan McDonald


As for material, we are flexible with our choices and often guided by the decor. A rug will set the tone for how we use other colors and patterns, so we are open to using vintage or vintage-style rugs that feature a lot of color and pattern, new wool rugs that are more subtle, or natural fiber options that are neutral in color but heavy on texture. The exact material is often driven by the function of a room as we want our designs to be durable and long-lasting for our clients and their particular lifestyle.


#RDHlakehousenewbuild | Photo by Ryan McDonald

Bedroom

A rug is essential in creating a serene, relaxing bedroom space, and here you definitely want to choose something that is soft underfoot. Again, the larger the rug the better, so for a king size bed we typically choose a 9'x12" rug and an 8'x10" for a queen. This will provide ample room for stepping out of the bed onto the rug, and length-wise it will fit under the nightstands while also allowing space at the foot of the bed. An all-over pattern is preferable here, as any center medallion design will be hidden by the bed.


dining space with jute rug

#RDHcolonialreno | Photo by Ryan McDonald

Dining Room

Placing a rug under a dining table isn't necessary, but if the table and chairs are leggy or the space is large, a rug can be helpful in grounding the room and creating coziness. We often choose a natural fiber such a jute or seagrass, as they disguise crumbs and are easily and affordable replaced when worn out. If you do choose to place a rug under a table, it should be large enough that the chairs are still on the rug when pulled out.



#RDHmoderncountry | Photo by Ryan McDonald

Kitchen

The kitchen is another place where the rug is optional, but beneficial. Not only is it nice to have a soft landing underfoot when standing for long periods, but a rug brings color and texture into the space that is otherwise mostly slick surfaces. We love to use a vintage runner in kitchens, and typically place them along the run of cabinetry where either the sink or range is located. Vintage rugs are a great option in a kitchen because the wool pile is inherently durable and stain-resistant.


laundry room with vintage rug

#RDHfrenchconnection | Photo by Ryan McDonald

Small Space

Speaking of vintage rugs, a small sink area is a great opportunity to bring use a small scatter rug for a does of color and pattern. A powder or small bath, utility sink, or bar sink are fun places to add a the character that a vintage rug provides, but take care to keep the rug dry when possible.


living space with fireplace and cowhide rug

#RDHenglishcottage | Photo by Ryan McDonald

Odd Spaces

For small or oddly-shaped spaces, placing a rectangular rug may only exasperate the room's issues. In those cases, a hide rug may be a good option. They are durable and neutral, and the organic shape can soften an angular space. A hide is also a nice option when it will be in view of other rugs, since it will complement other patterns, rather than compete with them.


#RDHlakehousenewbuild | Photo by Ryan McDonald


Entry and Hallways

An entry or hallway is another opportunity to add something special underfoot. A prized vintage rug or pretty reproduction can be fully appreciated in a space where furnishings are minimal, and the length of a runner will draw the eye into the next room.


Shop our favorite area rugs



If you are interested in working with us on an upcoming interior design or renovation project, we hope you will get in touch through our inquiry form.