Area Rug Placement Rules

Area Rug Placement Rules

At Portfolio Interiors, we are often asked about what size the area rug should be for the room.  There are many rules and just as many opposing opinions in regards to what is the best size area rug for your space. 


Here are a few guidelines and options to use in determining what size provides the best visual effect for your home. 


Rule 1- Front legs on the rug, back legs off.  This really works well in most situations that we come across.  The rug connects the various pieces of furniture together while extending far enough into the room to create a good sense of proportion.


Rule 2 – Some front legs on the rug.  In some cases, due to the size or configuration of the room, the sofa front legs are positioned on the rug while all the legs of the chairs are on the area rug.  


Rule 3 – All legs on the rug. A room generally looks more pulled together if all the furniture legs are planted firmly on the rug. 


Rule 4 – No legs on the rug.  Sometimes, the room just needs a small rug to add some pop or texture, where none of the furniture is touching the rug.  This creates a completely different look and it works!


Rule 5 – 18 Inches of bare floor around the rug.  This rule has been a standard forever, and states that there should be approximately 18 inches of bare floor between the rug edge and the perimeter walls of the room, bringing in traditional proportion. This works well in rooms that are enclosed and separate from surrounding rooms, not in open concept rooms. 


Rule 6 – Just a few inches of floor around the rug.  If you are considering using this rule in a smaller room, you could reduce the 18 inches of bare floor to approximately 8 inches.


Rule 7 – Extend the rug 12-18 inches around a bed.  In order to have an area rug look balanced under a bed, it should be large enough to extend beyond the sides of the bed by at least 18 inches for a king or queen bed and at least 12 inches for a full or a twin bed.  The rug extension can be more, but not less, depending on the size of the room.  A smaller rug can also be very effectively placed at the foot of the bed, adding a layer of interest, texture or pattern.  The rug width should extend beyond the width of the bed to make it feel balanced.


Rule 8 – Extend the rug 24 inches around a table.  It is much easier of maneuver dining chairs when there is at least 24 inches of rug extending from the edge of the table on all sides.  This rule allows the back legs of the chairs to be on the rug, even when they are being used.


Rule 9- Combine rugs.  Sometimes the only answer is to bring in multiple rugs, especially when the room is large or there are several seating arrangements.


Rule10 – Bend the rules.  Of course this one is my favorite.


As you can see, there are many rules to guide you in your decision as to which size area rug is best for your home and many of them contradict one another


Deciding the size is very important as is the color, pattern and texture.  Sometimes it can be difficult to find just the right rug and at Portfolio Interiors we have the answer for that.  We can design a custom rug to your color scheme and specifications.  After all, an area rug is one of those details that make your room’s décor feel finished.    


Cori Logan

Interior Design Consultant


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