Your ultimate guide to rugs and where to place them

Rugs have magic powers. Aside from breathing necessary warmth and homeliness into any room (even in modern and minimalist homes), softening even the most sterile environment, they also have the power to tie together a room and colour scheme, inject colour into an otherwise bland room, help tone down an otherwise cluttered space, can be used to divide large spaces into cosier areas in loft and open plan living spaces, and they can even make a room feel smaller or more spacious – depending on their size and where you place them.


Here rugs are used to create different areas. Image credit: Lucasallen.com


Here a large rug is used to create a more inviting space in a large room. Image credit: onekindesign.com

And they’re not just for cold floors – they work well on carpeted areas too. Rugs are a fabulous alternative or add-on to wall-to-wall carpeting. They offer an added layer of protection to your floors or carpet and are especially good for use in high-traffic areas like hallways, and they also add softness and cosiness to carpeted bedrooms or living rooms.


Image Credit: Becki Owens


Image credit: Elementsofstyle

But when it comes to committing to a rug, what style and size do you choose, and most importantly –where and how do you place them? Firstly, there are many different styles to consider; modern, geometric, patterned (chevron, diamond, floral, ikat etc), or neutral (this includes jute, rattan, rope and wool), and then of course you have the ever popular kilim and oriental varieties (here’s a helpful guide to different types of oriental rugs), not to mention the texture of the rug – from flat weave to knotted, and from tufted to hooked. These styles are very much up to the taste of the individual and what suits their interior, but when it comes to where and how to place them there are a few rules to live by.

Living Room Rugs

When it comes to living room rugs, less is certainly NOT more. Smaller rugs will appear cluttered and make a room look smaller, whereas larger rugs will make the room appear more streamlined and spacious.


Image Credit: Studio McGee


Image Credit: Studio McGee

Place the rug in the centre of the living room (under your ottoman or coffee table) and place (at least) the front legs of your your sofa and armchairs on the rug too so that the rug disappears underneath the furniture, and the furniture frames the area. This makes for a cleaner more aesthetic appearance.


Image Credit: Studio McGee


Image credit: Chango & Co

When it comes to choosing a rug for your living room it’s important to consider what kind of home you have, for example if you have pets and children running around so a shaggy or wool rug may be more practical than perhaps something of satin fibres etc.

Here’s some stunning examples of living room rugs done right:


Image credit: Victoria Elizabeth Design


Image Credit: Contemporary rugs


Image Credit: Camille Styles


Image Credit: Studio McGee


Image Credit: Studio McGee


Image Credit: Air Spaces

Image Credit: Emily Henderson

Image Credit: Emily Henderson


Image Credit: House and Home


Image Credit: Emily Henderson


Image Credit: Studio McGee

Image Credit: Emily Henderson

Image Credit: Emily Henderson

Image Credit: Emily Henderson

Image Credit: Emily Henderson

Dining Room Rugs

A lot of people are sceptical about placing rugs where you eat but it is quite a common practice and it can work well. When it comes to working out what size rug you may need to place under your dining table there’s a handy tip: by adding about 60cm onto each side of your dining table that should roughly give you the best size rug for your room.


Image Credit: Dining room ideas


Image Credit: Apartment Therapy


Image Credit: At Home in Love

The thing that you’re looking for is that your dining chairs will always sit comfortably on your rug, even when they are pulled out. There’s nothing worse than a wobbly chair, or a wobbly table for that matter! To prevent this you need to ensure that the type of rug you buy is flat, this also makes for easier cleaning if food or drink is spilled too. Types of rugs to avoid: sheepskin, shaggy and high-pile rugs in general.

Here’s some dining room rugs done right:


Image Credit: West Elm


Image Credit: style me pretty


Image Credit: Studio McGee


Image Credit: Kelly Nan


Image Credit: Aka Design


Image Credit: mystylemyhouse.com


Image Credit: photorank.me

Kitchen Rugs

Believe it or not, kitchen rugs have become increasingly popular over the past year – with persian inspired runners being a global favourite. As you can see below, they help transform kitchens from a working to a living space, and make the area much warmer and more inviting.


Image Credit: Studio McGee


Image credit: Natalie Myers


Image Credit: Caitlin Wilson


Image Credit: Studio McGee


Image Credit: Apartment Therapy


Image Credit: Becki Owens


Image Credit: Apartment Therapy


Image Credit: Apartment Therapy


Image Credit: Domino


Image Credit: Instagram

Image Credit: thecabinetguide.com

Bedroom Rugs

Most standard bedrooms with a regular double bed pair well with 8×10 rugs (7.8 foot), this allows the rug to almost ‘disappear’ under the bed and creates an illusion of more space in the bedroom. If you are placing a rug around your bed then it is advised that you leave about a half-metre gap between the rug and your outer wall. If the rug does go under your bed try to have your bed directly in the middle of the rug so that the edges protruding act as a sort of picture frame. This is because if you have too much showing on one side it can make the whole room appear unbalanced.


Image Credit: My Domaine

If you have multiple rugs in one room there is a bit of hoo-ha as to whether they should all be matching or whether you should mix it up. There’s no right or wrong answer on this one, you just have to know when to use either. If you want to use the same rug in one room multiple times then an easy way to avoid seeming too safe is to buy rugs that have a bit of a bold design on them, that way the pattern is repeated over the area of the room but the uniformed flow of it won’t overwhelm the space being used. If you wish to use different rugs then perhaps use colours that are a similar shade but not exactly the same? Using neutral colours from the same palette but in different shades can help to create a harmonious effect between the rugs.

Here’s some examples of bedroom rugs done right:


Image Credit: My Domaine


Image Credit: Almost Makes Perfect


Image Credit: Dear Designer

So there you have it, just a couple of tips on how to make the most of your rugs no matter which room they are in.

Like this? For more decorating ideas read: These Stunning Interiors Will Make You Want to Hit The Flea Market, Wake Up Your Walls With These Stunning and Unusual Display IdeasWhere to Find Affordable Acrylic and Glass Furniture, 13 Genius Design Ideas to Give Your Bathroom a Designer Look, Get Emily Henderson’s Casual Cool Californian Style For LessChinoisery Chic Interiors: Colour Inspiration From The Orient7 Design Ideas to Create an Envy-Inducing BedroomUpgrade Your Bedroom With These Stunning Design IdeasSoft Sophistication: How to Get The Look For Less, Fearlessly Fun: Get The Look For LessLighten Up With These Stunning Statement Pendant LightsHow to Create a Palm Springs Inspired Bedroom, Design Crush: Lilly Bunn – Get Her Look For Less, Bathroom Porn: The Most Stunning Bathroom Wallpapers and Where to Find Them and How to Transform a Bedroom in 24 Hours.

1 Comment

  • Emma says:

    This is such an amazing post! I love rugs as a way to protect carpet (rugs are much more easily replaceable when the kids inevitably ruin it!), and I think this has to be the most comprehensive post on rugs out there! So much eye candy to look at and dream about. I really want to replace all mar rugs right now!

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