Finding The Right Rug

Whether you’re outfitting a space or looking to bring new life to a room, a rug is an excellent way to pull elements together and inject a little personality. To help us pick the perfect piece and get the size just right, we sought advice from the experts at Birmingham, Alabama-based 18th Street Orientals; here are their recommendations (note: not all spaces are created equal, so these are guidelines, not strict rules):

• Since rugs are a major investment, you want to carefully consider your next purchase. Ask yourself: Do I want to enclose the space with an expansive rug? Do I want to define the space by creating different zones within the same room? Do I want to draw attention to the space with a smaller area rug? Does my space connect to other spaces? What existing rugs or patterns will share the same visual space with the new rug? Is the area high-traffic or a quiet retreat?

• The living room: This is one of the high-traffic zones in your house. The right rug will finish the space, and could be your most valuable rug. If it’s too small, the rug will make the space feel choppy and cramped; but if it’s too big, it will overwhelm the room. To get a rug that’s just right, measure the seating area. Consider whether the legs of your furniture will be all on or half off the rug. If your space is limited, a small rug (5 x 8) in front of a sofa and chairs makes a statement in a small space. If you have a floating furniture plan, buy a rug large enough for all furniture to rest within the rug (typically a 9 x 12) to unify the room. Another common option when furniture is along the wall is to have the back legs of furniture off the rug (8 x 10). As a rule of thumb, there should be at least a 12” border of bare floor around the rug and 6” on either side of the sofa.

• The dining room: Regardless of whether you entertain formally a few times a year or have daily meals in your dining area, the same rules apply. Measure the length and width of your table and add 2’ on all sides (don’t forget the leaf, if your table has one). This will allow chairs to be pulled out without falling off the rug. Note: It’s best if the other furniture in the room—china cabinets, buffets—stays off the rug.

• The bedroom: Think about whether you want to frame the bed or have a soft place for your feet when you wake up. For a larger rug that will surround the bed, measure the bed and add 24” – 36” to each side for the bottom 2/3 of the bed. (A queen bed typically requires a 5 x 8 or 8 x 10 lengthwise under the bed). If you have a seating area at the end of the bed or a king size bed, an 8 x 10 or 9 x 12 is a good choice. Accent rugs (3 x 5) draw attention to a small space, which makes the bedside a perfect spot for one. Or, try something new and use a runner (2.6 x 8) at the foot of the bed for an inviting look.

Expert tip from 18th Street Orientals in Birmingham, AL.