Rugs play an essential role in zoning and area making it feel more cosy, separated and enclosed from the rest of the room. They act like invisible walls, creating another room for you to enter. Rugs can tie a space together using similar colours or they can add a layer of textural interest to your setting. A room without a rug is like art without its frame – incomplete!
What size rug should I choose?
This is one of the most important questions to ask yourself once you have furnished your space. In my opinion, rugs are not optional in interior design, they are necessary. They should not be an afterthought, they should be well planned and complementary to your room.
What rooms should you buy rugs for?
Typically, they are purchased for living rooms, bedrooms, rumpus, home office and sometimes the dining room. I say ‘sometimes’ for dining rooms as not everybody agrees with rugs under the table. Food can fall from the surface and become lost within the fibres of the rug which is not very hygienic. But sometimes rugs are required in dining rooms to break up wood tones or prevent woods from clashing between the table and floor.
If a room lacks natural lighting and has a dark floor, a clever way to lift the entire space would be to add a light coloured rug underneath the table. Or if your dining room is part of a large open plan area and you want to define the ‘dining room’, a rug positioned under the dining table would do this for you.
I am a big fan of a rug underneath the bed as they add an element of cosiness. Carpet on carpet is absolutely fine! You can place a cosy rug under your bed, at the foot of the bed or place two on either side of the bed. Your feet will thank you for it on a cold winter’s morning when getting out of your warm bed is a struggle.
“A rug in your living room is simply non-negotiable. It anchors that setting and zones it as the relaxing spot”.
Depending on the size of your rooms, you can also consider a rug for your laundry, a walk-in robe (if you have one like Mariah Carey on MTV Cribs), your outdoor verandah or even the bathroom. There are special materials for outdoors and also for wet rooms which look spectacular in large bathrooms!
What size rug should I choose for the living room?
Choosing the size of your rug is like the story of Hansel and Gretel. You don’t want to choose too big or too small, you need to find the perfect fit.
“The easiest rule to remember is that your rug should be larger than your sofa”.
Allow an extra 30cm minimum on either side of the couch or your sofa will feel unbalanced. Any larger, your furniture will feel insignificant. The rug should cover the entire seating area to ground the conversational space.
When placing the rug, you should ensure that all front legs of your furniture are touching it or sitting on top. You can opt for all furniture legs to sit on top of the rug, but this is best done in very large rooms, where the rug will not take up the full floor. Floating rooms (where walls are further away than the furniture) look great with this concept.
What size rug should I choose for the bedroom?
In the bedroom, size does matter 😉
The size of your bedroom will determine the size of the rug. Bigger rooms look better with bigger rugs sitting under the bed. You can either sit all of your furniture on top of the rug or start the rug just in front of the bedside tables. Make sure to allow 50cm of the rug to appear out from the bottom of the bed.
Smaller bedrooms look better with smaller-scale rugs. Use the bottom feet of the bed as the middle point for your rug. Half of the rug should be under the bed and the other half should be coming forwards.
Another option is to get 2 x runners sitting on either side of your bed, giving your feet a cosy pathway in the morning. This option can be more cost-effective in giving you the “full rug look”.
What size rug should I choose for the dining room?
As mentioned previously, a rug for the dining room isn’t for everyone. I will only choose a rug for the dining room if it is going to enhance the space or solve a design flaw (clashing wood tones, a dark room needing a lift or a large space needing some grounding).
The rug size should be chosen based on the footprint of your dining table AND chairs. Often people choose a size that fits the dining table perfectly, leaving the chairs in an awkward position to move in and out. Allow enough overhang for your chairs to comfortably sit on top of the rug and move without any interference from the rug’s edge.
The shape of your dining table should determine the shape of your rug. If you have a rectangular table, stick with a rectangular rug. If you have a round, oval or square dining table, go for a round or square rug.
What material should I choose?
The size of your rug, will of course also depend on your budget. If you cannot afford the top quality material, as well as the large scale, I would suggest you downgrade the quality before you reduce the size. The size of your rug is the most important factor to get right. Many synthetic materials are just as nice as natural ones and can are easy to maintain.
Choosing the right material for your rug is another important factor for your rug selection. Do you have a pet? Perhaps you should choose a material that is easier to clean and less likely to pull or fray. Do you have allergies? Perhaps you should avoid rugs that collect dust or pollen like the long pile ‘shag’. Do you want something to stand the test of time? A rug that incorporates a blend of natural and synthetic materials might be your best choice here.
The most common materials for natural rugs are:
Wool rugs are the most popular household rugs for many reasons. In the wild, wool is a coat to a sheep. It is there to keep the animal warm and dry thanks to the light lanolin coating. This makes it a great material to bring warmth and insulation to your home and prevent liquid from penetrating too deep. It can absorb dye very well and does not fade quickly like other materials. Asthmatics and people with allergies will benefit from this material as it is excellent at filtering air pollutants such as dust, pollen and fungal spores. It absorbs humidity and releases it back into the air when it is dry, making it a natural air humidifier. A “Scandinavian” style suits this rug best.
Is a versatile plant offering itself to many textiles such as clothing, table cloths, bed linen and rugs. Unlike wool rugs, cotton tends to be thinner and less warm. That makes it a good choice for hotter climates where your rug is purely decorative. Cotton is a renewable, biodegradable and eco-friendly solution to planet conscious people (the Greta Thunberg’s of the world). Dye can be absorbed very well by cotton, making it very suitable for intricate pattern designs. They will attract more dust, but they are machine washable! The “Hamptons” style suits this rug best.
Is made from the cocoons of larvae from the silkworm insect. It takes a very long time to gather enough material to create a rug from silk and so, it is the most expensive material. Silk rugs are very soft, luxurious and throw a beautiful sheen. They are perhaps the most formal rugs to choose from due to their lavish appearance. Pure silk is a highly porous material and very prone to staining, so blending it with wool or bamboo is a better choice for longevity. Silk rugs should not be placed in an area that sees high traffic as they are less durable and quite delicate. The “Hollywood Glamour” style suits this rug best!
Comes from several animal skins such as cow, buffalo, zebra, alligator etc. The most popular hide for a rug comes from a cow. Cowhide rugs are extremely easy to clean, very hard-wearing, hypo-allergenic and versatile (can also be hung). These rugs make a statement and call out for attention in a room. Choose a leather rug if you want to make a bold statement and prefer a less linear look like your standard rectangular or circular shaped rugs. A “modern” style suits this rug best.
comes from the bark of the jute plant, giving it that bristly touch. It is a very tough, durable and pet-friendly material that can be easily cleaned without chemicals. Although it is durable, it is highly absorbent and prone to mould when wet, making it less suitable to humid regions. Generally, people buy jute rugs in their raw, tanned form (not dyed) which is complementary to most interior concepts. Jute rugs look great layered with fur on top! These rugs look fantastic within a “Boho” style interior.
When choosing a rug, natural materials are always the best as they last longer, are easily cleaned and are not harmful to your respiratory system like man-made fibres. Natural materials are more expensive of course, so if you have to look for something a little cheaper, just look for something with the least amount of harmful materials inside. Buying something ‘cheap’ now might end up more costly when you have to replace it in the future.
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Bright Side Interiors is an interior design and styling business based in Forest Hill 3131. I am here to help you design your dream home without the headache. I encourage collaboration and personal involvement in the entire design process, to create a home truly bespoke and tailored to you. Your Melbourne home is your biography and each room is a chapter. Let’s design your next chapter together.