12 Ways to Work With Rugs for Warmth and Beauty

Try these ideas for rug placement, style and size for a pulled-together look and a great feel underfoot.


Besides the fact that they have the ability to transform a space, rugs can define a style, soften an echo and even serve as a starting point for decorating a room. Rugs provide the cozy factor to most rooms. Here are a few suggestions for working with rugs in your space.

7 Area Rug Rules (& How to Bend Them)


It can sometimes be a challenge deciding what size rug is best for a space. But rather than being bound by “rules,” being aware of the following guidelines may assist you in determining what size rug best provides the visual effect you desire in the different rooms of your home.


Rule 1: Front legs on the rug, back legs off. This approach works in most situations; the rug connects the various furniture pieces together while extending far enough into the room to create a balanced sense of proportion.

Rule 2: Some front legs on. Here only the front legs of the sofa sit on the rug while the placement of the chairs leave all four legs firmly on the rug. This proves to be more effective than if only the front legs of the chairs fit onto the rug, because of the size of the room and the contrasting tone of the rug against the flooring.


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. If you would like to bring in just a small rug, another approach would be to have none of the furniture touching the rug. While this creates a completely different look, and is often “prohibited” by the “rules,” it can work in the right situation.


Rule 5: 8-18 inches of bare floor around the rug. A standard for interior designers, this approach suggests leaving approximately 8-18 inches of bare floor between the rug edge and the perimeter walls of the room. This guideline works well for rooms that are enclosed and separate from surrounding rooms, as opposed to open concept spaces.

Rule 6: Extend the rug 12-18 inches around a bed. For an area rug to look balanced under a bed, it should be large enough to extend beyond the sides of the bed at least 18 inches for a king or queen bed and at least 12 inches for a full or twin bed.
Rule 7: Bend the rules. While all these rules have merit, sometimes they might contradict each other or simply not apply to the unique spaces in your home. But being aware of “the rules” can provide guidelines to help you conceptualize how your room will look in advance.