Before you buy a new rug, you should consider multiple variables: color, design, texture, and of course, size. Most people will have an idea of the color (or colors) they want because, if they are only buying the rug, it has to match their existing décor. Similarly, the design or style — whether traditional or contemporary — should also match the style of the room the rug is meant for. Texture is a variable that depends on taste as well as function. Does the rug have to accommodate a lot of traffic? Does the rug have to fit beneath a swinging door or a dining table? Individuals will choose different textures, based on common sense and personal preference.
The Thing About Size
Size, however, is the most scientific variable. Anyone can determine the ideal size of a new rug by following a few simple steps:
1. First, measure your entire room, wall to wall. Use a good-quality measuring tape, if possible.
2. On a piece of paper, draw the room dimensions in scale. Include doors, windows, fireplaces, radiators, and heating vents, where necessary.
3. Measure the existing furniture. Either add them to your drawing or, even better, cut out blocks of paper for each piece, so you can easily and quickly “rearrange the furniture.”
4. Next, measure the space you think you want to cover. Unless you want a customized rug (and are willing to spend the price for one), don’t get too specific. Measure out and mark off standard sizes: 4x6, 5x8, 6x9, 8x10 feet. One trick is to use masking tape to outline the rug’s dimensions.
5. Always double-check your measurements. Like the seasoned carpenter says, “Measure twice; cut once.”
6. Go shopping! Find a store, like Rug & Home, that allows you to take the rug home and try it out for a day or a week. You’ll know immediately if it’s the right size, but you may need longer to judge the other variables.
We’ve already written about how to find the best size rug for your dining room and bedroom, so check our past posts to get that information. For other rooms, here are a few more tips: A rug that isn’t properly sized for a room can make the room look uneven or unfinished. To make a positive impression — and more importantly, to give yourself and your family a sense of ease — lay a rug that fits the room. Don’t size your space just with your eyes. A 6x9-foot rug that seems huge in the store may still be too small for the room once you get it home. In your living room, place the rug so that your furniture sits either all the way on or all the way off the rug. The only exception to this rule is for a couch. If the couch has its back to a wall, you can get away with having only the front feet on the rug. If you want to create a cozier space, subtract 1 or 2 feet (12 to 24 inches) from the length and width of the room, as determined in Step 1 above. Even hallway runners shouldn’t crowd the walls. A new rug is like a new chair: you can tell in the store how comfortable it is, but you won’t know until you get it home how well it fits in to your life. Do your homework before you buy, but make sure you can return it if it doesn’t work.