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Area Rugs 101!

To me, the area rug is one of the most important purchases you can make when working on designing your home. The wrong rug can wash out your space, mess with your scale and even make everything around it look dated. When done right, an area rug will elevate your design, bring your furniture to life (not literally, thank God....imagine?) and show off all of your hard work in the best possible way! There are several things to consider when buying a rug for your place so here are some tips on how to select the right area rug for you.

The first thing you should consider is size and orientation. A good area rug should be in proportion to either the size of the space or the furniture arrangement you are working with. If the room is long and narrow, the rug should mimic that shape.

Personally, I feel like the bigger the better. I always like for an area rug to encompass all of the furniture but that's a matter of opinion, Check out these handy diagrams for other options:

Pro Tip: Use painters tape to mark out where the rug will go on the floor. This will help you better visualize how it will work in the space!

Living Room:

Large enough to accommodate the front and back legs of all furniture

Large enough to accommodate just the front legs of furniture

Large enough so that furniture sits snuggly around the rug

Dining Room:

Rule of thumb: An area rug under a table with chairs should be 2' larger than the table on all sides, so that when chairs are pulled out, all legs still sit on the rug. The same concept can be applied to a round table with a round rug.


Large enough to accommodate the front and back legs of all furniture

Large enough to accommodate just the front legs of the bed

Runners!! This is a great option if you're in a really small space. It offers something nice and cozy to put your feet down on when hopping out of bed in the morning but won't encroach on any other walkways. The runners should not come past the foot of your bed.

Pro Tip: Rug pads are your best friend! They keep the rug in place, make it a little softer on the feet and will actually make your rug last longer! A rug pad should be about 2" smaller than the rug.

Let's talk area rug materials!

My first choice is always going to be wool. It's soft, resilient and naturally stain resistant which makes it a great choice for anyone with kids, pets or regular Football Sunday's! The higher the pile the more likely it is to shed for a short period of time but that should go away with some regular vacuuming.

Synthetic materials are also a good choice if it's durability you're after plus they tend to be far more affordable than their wool counterparts, Fibers like nylon and polyester can mimic the look of more natural materials, will not shed and are sturdy, durable and easy to clean.

Natural plant fibers like jute, hemp and sisal are going to be your most durable options and are great for high traffic areas but they tend to be more difficult to clean. Usually, these types of eco-friendly rugs are manufactured in a neutral colored, flat weave which makes them perfect for a layered look.

Cotton is great for smaller areas like entryways and kitchens. They are soft and machine washable but tend to flop around a lot so make sure you get a rug pad for these kinds of area rugs. These are great for a casual setting,

It doesn't matter what you choose if you don't take care of it! I have three dogs, two teenagers and a cat in my house so I make sure I vacuum weekly, but hey; these are the joys of running a zoo! I love a good rug powder, think Arm & Hammer, just to make sure I pick up any rouge pet hairs and to keep the rug smelling fresh. Never let a spilled drink or dropped treat sit for too long. Even with wool, the longer a stain is allowed to settle the harder it will be to remove, just like your ex. I also like to rotate the rug a few times a year to avoid discoloration from wear and tear in high traffic areas.

Here are a few of my favorite area rug retailers: - They have a huge assortment to pick through at a great price point. - Their style is a modern global vibe and the color pallets are amazing. I love love love this company! - You've heard of them...they offer those washable area rugs. Brilliant! - There! I said it! I rarely recommend Wayfair to clients but they have a huge selection of area rugs in all sorts of patterns and styles and the price point and delivery times are unbeatable. Just make sure you read the reviews prior to purchase! - Lulu & Georgia offers a great collection of super modern patterns and colorways in a variety of materials and textures.

Hopefully these quick tips armed you with enough info to get you out there rug shopping! As always, I'm here if you think you might need a little extra help!

PS. This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. Thanks!

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