large rectangular rug

Photo: Zeke Ruelas

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Size Matters

Here are a few rules I like to follow for rugs:

  1. 1. In a living room, the rugs should be big enough for the front legs of the sofa to sit fully on it. Bonus if the entire sofa fits on the rug. Double bonus if all the furniture fits on the rug.

  2. 2. If a space is carpeted, make sure to select a rug that is a different texture/color than the carpet you are laying the rug over. For example, a flat woven kilim rug usually works over a medium-pile carpet. Don't do a medium-pile rug over a medium-pile carpet. Just like it's important to celebrate diversity in everyday life, the same is true for rugs—the more distinct the better!

  3. 3. When considering a rug's color, think about what its function in the room is. Is it there to be the pop of color? If so, go for a saturated hue. If you have a lot of other color going on in the room, maybe prevent it from looking like a 3-ring circus by choosing a more muted rug.

  4. 4. Hallways love rugs. A runner is a hallway's best friend.

  5. 5. Kitchens also love rugs. Vintage rugs make especially good kitchen rugs because no one will be able to tell when you spill grandma's spaghetti sauce over it.

  6. 6. Get your rugs cleaned once every year or two. Most cities have drapery/rug cleaning shops. If your city doesn't, get on your hands and knees and scrub.

  7. 7. Choose the right shape for the right room. Most rooms are rectangles, so they want rectangular rugs. But sometimes a round rug makes more sense to add a little bit of movement.