Home & Garden

10 Tips for Decorating with Rugs

Decorating with Rug: Zebra styleIn any beautifully decorated room, nine times out of ten, there’s a carefully selected area rug grounding the space. Rugs can do many things—create a conversation area, inspire a color palette, set a mood or style, and add warmth. Selecting the right rug for your space can be tricky; but have no fear! Here are my top 10 tips for decorating with area rugs, from important measurements to advice on rug shapes.


  • Wool rugs are best for high traffic and spill-prone areas, such as dining rooms, living rooms, and entryways. Durable wool repels water and stains, though it is not the ideal material for damp rooms, as it soaks up humidity.
  • For an indoor-outdoor space (like a sun porch or covered patio), look for area rugs made of polypropylene. This stain- and fade-resistant material is extremely durable, and manufacturers are producing polypropylene rugs in a wide range of styles, shapes, and colors!


  • Though round rugs are most commonly found in entryways, they are a perfect fit under round dining tables and can create an intimate seating area in a living room.
  • Warm up a hallway or kitchen floor with a runner. Runners measure between 2 feet 6 inches to 3 feet wide and work in best in skinny spaces where a standard rug just won’t fit.

Decorating with rugs: How to measure them


  • In a dining room, a rug should be at least 2 feet wider than the table on all sides. Diners should be able to pull out their chairs and have all the chair legs remain on the rug.

Decorating with rugs: Measurements for the dining room

  • In a living room, a rug should be large enough so that all of the major pieces of furniture in a conversational grouping (like the sofa, pair of chairs, and coffee table above) have at least their front legs on the rug.

Decorating with rugs: The Living Room

  • In a bedroom, the area rug can—but doesn’t have to—go all the way under the bed and nightstands. One rule you should definitely stick to when decorating a bedroom is: An area rug should be large enough that your feet land on the rug when getting out of bed. This is about 2 to 3 feet of rug on either side of the bed.

Pattern & Colour

  • In a room with lots of patterns on the furniture, accessories, and walls, opt for a solid rug. A large solid rug gives your eye a natural resting spot. On the other hand, patterned rugs add visual interest in a room with solid furniture and walls. If you’ve got kiddos, pets, or just love to entertain, keep in mind that patterned rugs are more forgiving on daily wear and tear.
  • Darker coloured rugs lend a feeling of intimacy and coziness, which can be important in large spaces. If you have a small space, consider a rug in a lighter color; it can make a room feel airy and spacious.


  • Dirt particles are abrasive and over time will break a rug down, so regular vacuuming and shaking is necessary to extend the life of your rug.


Shelby Hill hopes to inspire others to create their perfect home with clever and informative articles about décor and interior design. As the resident of a tiny studio apartment in Boston, Shelby knows how important ingenious and creative design solutions can be. In addition to her passions for photography, food, and faraway places, Shelby is the assistant editor at Wayfair.com, the internet’s largest furniture store.

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