Design & Buy Tips
Sofa On or Sofa Off?
Rug Size and Placement
When shopping for the perfect rug for you space, rug size and placement is one of the initial contributing factors to your purchasing decision. While there are no set rules, there are certain guidelines and design aethetics one should consider during the shopping process.
Living Room Rugs:
The size of your rug should be dictated by the space in which you are using it. In an average sized living room for instance, the space can typically handle an 8x10, 9x12 or a 10x14 area rug. In a larger living room and/or great room, a 10x14, 12x16 or larger would be appropriate. A great tip is to use blue painters tape to mark the boundaries of the rug size you are interested in. This will provide you with a fantastic visual reference.
Often we are asked if the legs of the sofa and
chairs should be on or off of the rug. This is really a personal
preference and both ways are correct!
All-on: If you are going to be placing all of legs on top of the rug, make sure that your rug is large enough to accommodate your furniture pieces. If you want to achieve the all-on approach, be certain that the rug you
choose is the appropriate size to accommodate this design choice. If the rug you choose is too small, you
will have to bring your seating groups close together, leaving little room for foot traffic. Cramped seating
arrangements creates a level of discomfort in the space and you will find a certain uneasiness to your rooms
aesthetic. Placing all legs on the rug works very well in a more formal setting as it creates a more plush,
luxurious feel to the space. Large area rugs such as a 10x14 or 12x16 are great for the all-on approach.
All-off: The antithesis of all-on is all-off. All-off works well in a smaller space and with smaller rugs. If you
have tight quarters and you do not have much room for a larger rug and furniture, keeping all legs off the
rug is a great choice. This grouping allows the space to breath a bit more as there is more open space
between your seating pieces, floor and rug. You do not want to purchase too small of a rug if you are doing
all-off. If the rug is too small it will look insignificant next to the larger furniture pieces in the room and feel like
an afterthought. In a smaller sitting area, a 6x9 rug works great when you are wanting to keep your sofa and
chair legs off the rug.
Part-on: Most commonly you will see some feet on and some feet off. This works great for anchoring the
room together but giving the space a sense of openness. If you are going to place the front legs of your sofa
on the rug, you would want to do the same with the occasional chairs or other main sitting pieces. This really
marries the seating arrangement to the rug and creates a well defined space. You can achieve this look very
well with 8x10, 9x12 or 10x14 rugs.
Rugs for The Dining Table:
If you are having trouble deciding on what size rug to place under the dining table,
there is an easy way to help you decide. The rug should extend a minimum of 30-36” from the edge of your table.
This will give you and your guests enough room to pull the chair out from the table comfortably without having the
back legs of the chair fall off the edge of the rug. Keep in mind that the standard rug sizes are 6x9, 8x10, 9x12,
10x14, and 12x16. Choose the rug that will accommodate at least the 30-36”. It's okay if the rug extends beyond that.
Room Filling Rugs:
If you have a room
that you do not want to do wall-to-wall but love the idea of a really
great, large carpet in the space, then keep this next
tip in mind when selecting a size. Ideally, there should be at least an 18” perimeter from the edge of your rug to the wall. This gives your eyes a place to rest in the space and creates a sense of balance. If the rug encroaches on the wall more than the allotted 18” perimeter, it will make the carpet feel too large and will create tension between your design elements.
Hall Way Runners:
When placing a runner down a hallway, it is important to keep some space between the edge
of the rug to the wall. Hall ways are narrow, so the 18” perimeter between the rug to the wall will not typically work
for a hallway. Try to have a minimum of 6-8” of flooring showing on both sides of the rug. It will make the space
feel balanced and the rug wont feel like it was squeezed in the space. If you have a particularly long hallway and
can not find a runner long enough, break the space with two identical, same-sized runners with a 6” space between
Rugs for Bedroom:
This is another space where all-on, all-off and part-on apply. Taping out the size of the rug on the floor will help give you a sense of how the rug will fit into your space.
All On: If you are doing all-on, choose a rug size that will extend at least 18” beyond the edge of your bed.
This will give you some walking room around your bed and provide a nice landing. If you have night stands
that you also plan to place on top of the rug, allow for at least 6” of rug to extend from the side of the night
stand. If you have a rug that tightly fits the boundary of your bed frame, it will make your rug look constrained
and not a thoughtful part of the space.
All-Off: Small scale rugs are best if you decide that all-off works best for your space. To provide you with a
nice landing in the morning, you can place a 3x5 on either side of the bed. Another all-off approach is to place
a smaller scale rug at the end of the foot board. Usually a 5x8 or 6x9 will work well for rugs placed at the foot
of the bed. Be certain to give a bit of room from the edge of the bed frame to the rug. Otherwise the rug will
look squished up against the furniture and out of place. It is usually appropriate to have 6-8” of floor showing
from the edges of the bed to the rug.
Part-On: If you are just placing the legs of the foot board on top of the rug, you can achieve this with most rugs
sizes such as a 6x9, 8x10 and larger. It really depends on the size of your bed. When placing part of the rug
under the bed, be certain that it extends past the foot board a minimum of 18”. If not, it will feel disproportionate
to the scale of your furniture. It will visually place too much weight to one side of the space.
These guidelines are simple suggestions to keep in mind while looking for a rug. Each space is unique and each
home owner reacts to their space in very individual ways. If you are still having trouble deciding on the best size
for you space, please contact us and let one of our qualified staff members guide you in the right direction.
Written By: Derrek E. Becker, MA Interior Design
Tips for selecting a rug:
Advice from our partners at the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)
When decorating your home, think of your floors
as the foundation for your design scheme. An area rug can visually
integrate or harmonize eclectic elements in any decor or can revitalize a
room. There's an endless array of rug designs
to choose from.
- Visualize the desired total look of the room. Do you want a room that's uncluttered and monotone or a room rich with colors or textures? If you start with a totally empty room, choose a rug, then paint or paper the walls in colors found in the rug.
- Remember, the rug has to fit the room - in more ways than one. Consider how the room is used, how much traffic the area gets and who will view it under what light. For high-traffic areas such as hallways and foyers, you may want a durable, patterned rug.
- Choose furniture that enhances the rug design or colors found in the rug.
- If you start with furniture, choose a rug to pick up the colors used in your furnishing patterns. Patterns can be mixed if they are coordinated by color. Elements of a rug design can be further incorporated into the overall design scheme. For example, if the rug is floral, add framed prints or flowers in similar colors.
Size up the size of the room and the area you want to cover. The most common area rug sizes are 4-by-6 and 6
by-9 feet. They work well under a coffee table. An 8-by-11-foot rug or larger can cover an entire room. Smaller area and scatter rugs can be ideal for adorning smaller spaces-a hearth, a bedside, the area in front of a kitchen sink-with a splash of color and warmth.
- A rug with a bold, overall design can be the focal point of a room with a chair and sofa in solid or subdued patterns.
- Light colored rugs make a room look more spacious, and deeper colors lend coziness to a room.
- Choose a rug that will perform well, with the right combination of density and fiber. The denser the pile, (with closer tufts or stitches), the better your rug will wear.
- The naturals - wool and cotton - are durable, soft, and easy to clean.
- Watch out for fringe elements. If the rug you like has fringe, make sure it's sewn on well, and very carefully use the vacuum cleaner.
- Remember to take a swatch of any fabrics you'd like to match with you when you shop for a rug. That way, you'll have a better idea of what will complement your existing décor.
- Don't underestimate the value of an underlay. Not only will it absorb the impact of feet and noise, it will reduce wear and tear on the rug and make vacuuming easier.
- When buying a rug, it pays to select a reputable dealer with a knowledgeable staff, wide selection, and a guarantee that the store will stand behind its merchandise.