6 Simple Tricks To Find The Perfect Area Rug!

How to find the perfect area rug

Finding the right area rug for a space can honestly be one of the most challenging parts of putting a room together. There are a lot of elements that go into picking a rug. Color, size, texture, and pattern all have to be considered. The perfect area rug is out there – you just need to find it!  

Here are some helpful tips to help you pick the perfect rug for your space.

Know the size you need

I wish I had some good news to start with, but there is no hard-and-fast rule to find the perfect the size area rug. That said, in a confined space, measure the rug size so it sits somewhere between 12″-18” from all of the walls.

If a rug is too small for the space, it will look like a postage stamp under your furnishings. If you are in doubt at all, error on the side of getting a bigger rug rather than a smaller rug.

If you are putting a rug under a dining table, be sure all of the chair legs sit on the rug when they are extended. Have you ever sat on a chair that has one leg that doesn’t quite fit on the rug? Yeah, it’s annoying. 

Measure your space with the chairs extended and add at least 6” beyond that.

a photo of interior design area rug in a dining room

Image by Ellen Phillips Interiors archive

This is an easy one to get wrong. The tendency is to measure the space based on your table size. You don’t want to do that. Pull all of the chairs out fully extended from the table and then measure for the size that you need.

Styles of design

Be sure to download my design style guide and really fine-tune the style of design that works for you.

You may be using the wrong terms and thus going down a rabbit hole. I have a lot of clients who tell me that they like contemporary or modern, (which by the way are two different things). When we actually zero-in on the style they are after, I find they are much more traditional in style. 

Really take the time to know your style before you start looking for a rug.

  • Styles of rugs that work well for traditional design are Persian, Moroccan, or Kilim. Traditional rugs will often have fringe.
  • Patterns that work with a more modern or transitional style of design would be geometric and “deliberate” in look.
  • If you are going for a more contemporary style, a good look would be something abstract.

Of course these are guidelines that can certainly bend with items you are finding in the retail arena.

spacejoy XpbtQfr9Skg unsplash

Photo by Spacejoy on Unsplash

Know your color scheme well

If you know that you are going to want an area rug in a room based on the flooring installed, start your design with your rug and then build the room around it.

It is very hard to “back into” an area rug once you have the other pieces purchased. That is similar to finding a needle in a haystack.

Find that rug first. The color, the style, and the amount of pattern the rug has will dictate the other items in the room. If you start looking when you already have a dark blue sofa and an abstract coffee table, finding the perfect area rug can be very challenging.

If you have an odd-sized space, consider having a rug made

This sounds very extravagant, but it is super simple and a great option to explore.

When I design a model home, I frequently come up against a space that isn’t a good size for a typical rug size. Rather than compromising the size of the rug, I simply have one made.

interior design photo of a living room with a full wall fireplace

Photo from Ellen Phillips Interiors archive

There are quite a few companies that will do this for you and the prices can vary depending on your needs.

The least expensive option is to go to a flooring supplier and look through their carpet options. Most suppliers have hundreds of carpet decks and you can find a great carpet that will fit just about any design. A flooring supplier will typically charge you for your intended yardage plus the binding and labor.

It is that simple to get a great rug that is absolutely perfect for your space!

The only drawback to this is that most carpet decks have solid colors or simple woven looks. You may not be able to find a colorful pattern that you had in mind. If you are looking for something simple to accent your space, the options are endless.

Think about the binding and edgework

This is something that I see overlooked all the time.

If you are working on a modern design that is very popular right now, stay clear of fringe. While fringe can work in a minimalist interior, leave that to a professional designer. Most rugs with fringe will pull to a more traditional look. 

In contrast, a nice, thick accent color on the binding can add interest to an otherwise “quiet” rug. Consider a tone-on-tone rug with a solid black binding. That can look fantastic!

a room with a textural area rug

Image by hikesterson via iStock

If your room needs a little something extra, consider texture!

Sisal, Seagrass, or other natural fibers for area rugs are absolutely spectacular in the right space. Many times, I have designed a room and it feels “flat” because there is just not enough interest in the textures.

Rather than trying to pile on colorful accents, I simply add a very textural rug.

Add something woven or knotty and a room suddenly comes to life! Texture is a very underrated and overlooked aspect of interior design by the untrained eye.

I hope these options give you some ideas when you are looking for that perfect rug to tie your room together.

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Designer, Organizer, Mom, Retired Athlete, Yoga Junkie, and Travel Enthusiast

Ellen Phillips

Living a Beautiful Life