Looking at the best interior design magazines or any good interior decorator’s portfolio, you will find that about 80-90% of the rooms pictured have area rugs to anchor the look. They are used by the experts to decorate, emphasize, define, and complement the room and the furniture in it, and are absolute necessities in creating a well decorated space.
As with any other decorating medium, there are some simple tips to be sure to get the best bang for your buck! For instance, sizing is extremely important. You want the area rug you pick out to be just about two feet shorter than the smallest length of the room. So, an 11 X 16 room would look great with a rug of about 9 X 12, for example. Area rugs look great in every room of the house, and contrary to what you may have previously heard, YES, they can be used over carpeting (and hide a multitude of stains and 70’s shag carpeting). They can be a great way to update your home’s look relatively inexpensively.
In the living room, area rugs can create cozier conversational groupings, protect hardwood floors or carpeting, and also pull together colors in the design scheme. You’ll want to make sure you pick a rug, or rugs that fit with your room layout and furniture. If your room is small, with one conversation grouping, choose an almost room-sized rug. For bigger rooms with more than one seating area, create cozier spaces with at least two different rugs. 8 X 10 or 9 X 12 are the most common sizes used in most living rooms, but again, adjust that to your personal preference. Just keep in mind that all the furniture in a grouping should have the front feet on the area rug, and there shouldn’t be more than two feet of empty rug extending behind the furniture.
In bedrooms, area rugs can warm cold floors and make the room cozy. Options here include long runners on either side of the bed, and even at the foot of the bed, or an area rug underneath that extends out about three feet on the sides of the bed.
In hallways, placing runners over carpeting and up the stairs is great for keeping these higher traffic areas clean and making them more interesting. Hallways should allow about six inches on either side to look best. The look can be casual as with a sisal runner, or much more formal, with an elegant wool runner accented with brass stair rods.
In the dining area, an area rug is perfect for making the area more personal and intimate. Size is very important here, as you want to be sure that all of the chairs and the table fit comfortably on the rug and there is enough space so the chairs don’t fall off when pushed out. A good rule of thumb is measuring your table and adding four feet to those measurements to get the best size. Almost all dining rooms will need at least an eight foot wide area rug for the very best looks and functionality.