Let’s talk about RUGS. Rugs are an essential part of any design, especially for open concept floor plans. They not only bring in color, texture, and comfort, but they ground your space, creating smaller, intimate zones within a room. Although rugs can be the perfect way to tie a room together, the wrong rug or the wrong size can totally throw off the entire design. This, coupled with the fact that rugs can be SO expensive, make finding the right rug at the right price a challenge. In this post, I’m going into all of the details on how to choose the right size rug for your space, what to consider when shopping for rugs, tips for layering, and where to shop for good quality, affordable rugs!
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HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT SIZE RUG FOR YOUR SPACE
If you’re looking to buy a rug, one of the most important things to consider is size! There is no magic formula for this, but there are some general guidelines you can use to help determine the best size for your space!
First and foremost, measure your space. If you have a smaller room, the room size may be the determining factor on what size rug you need. The point of a rug is to ground your space, so you don’t want your rug to go wall to wall.
Once you know what size rug your room can accommodate, measure your furniture area. This looks a little different depending on what type of space you’re shopping for. If it’s a bedroom, you’ll want to measure not only the length of the bed, but also the width of the bed + night stands. If it’s your living room, you’ll want to measure the seating area as a whole to determine how much space your furniture takes up when it is laid out like you want it.
Once you have all your measurements, it’s time to decide how you want your furniture laid out on your rug. There are endless ways to do this, but I will take you through some common options for the living room, bedroom, and dining room.
There are many ways you can anchor your living room furniture on a rug . The most common way you’ll see a rug set up in the living room is with the back 1/3 of the furniture sitting off the rug. Usually, this just means that the back two legs of your furniture hang off the back of the rug. This layout is so common because, in general, it works for both big and small rooms, and allows you to buy a smaller (aka cheaper) rug.
The key to this set up is to be consistent. If one piece of furniture has two legs on the rug, the other pieces should only have two legs on the rug (if possible). You’ll notice in some of my photos, our leather chair is NOT following this rule, and it kind of looks weird, because both of our sofas only have two legs on the rug, while the chair is all the way on. You’ll have to excuse how it is in the photos…we move this chair around when we have guests over so that it faces the TV, and it doesn’t always get moved back into place (and I didn’t notice until after I took all the pictures). Good thing houses are for living and not for being perfect all the time! Can I get an Amen in the comments if your house isn’t always perfect? 🙋♀️
Anyways, the “correct” way to place our chair would be more like this ⬇️
Another common set up for a living room is to have all the furniture on the rug. This means that all four legs of each piece of furniture sit on top of the rug. In general, you’ll want to leave about 6″- 8″ from the edge of your furniture to the edge of the rug for this set up, which means you’ll need a pretty large rug! This is generally considered the optimal option among designers, but it’s not practical for a lot of spaces and budgets. Here’s an example of a room with this set up ⬇️
Notice here that all the furniture sits completely on the rug, there is at least 6 or so inches between the edge of the furniture and the edge of the rug, and the rug fills the space without overwhelming it, creating a cozy, intimate conversation area in an otherwise big open room.
Finally, a very common (but generally looked down upon) way to layout your living room is with a “floating rug”. This means that your rug floats underneath your coffee table, but none (or almost none) of your other furniture actually touches it, like this ⬇️
Anyone else getting the floor is lava vibes? When we got our new living room furniture earlier this year, I seriously thought this 5’x7′ rug was going to be plenty big (not sure what I was thinking…). As you can see from these photos, however, this setup makes the rug and coffee table look like an isolated island, while the rest of the furniture just floats on the floor. The problem here was that the rug wasn’t big enough to put the legs of the sofa or chaise on it, which meant I could either put two legs of the chair on, or have a complete floater.
I was pretty disappointed when I realized the rug was too small. I purchased it from a local salvage store, and really loved it, but I knew it just wasn’t the right size for our space. After doing some research, however, I found a solution: layered rugs! I’ll get into layering rugs a bit later, but just know that if you have a smaller size rug that you love, but the size doesn’t really work for your space, layering is always an option!
By layering, I was able to use my pretty, vintage style 5’x7′, but still anchor my furniture with the two front legs of each piece on the 9’x12′ jute rug. This not only made our living room look better, but it also made it feel bigger!
In a bedroom, you generally place the rug underneath the bed or on the sides of the bed as seen below ⬇️
If you’re limited on space, or looking to save money, placing a runner or scatter rug on either side of the bed is a great option to give you something soft to wake up to, and add some texture and color to your bedroom. Generally, you will want the rugs to run from the front of night stand to the end of the bed.
If you’re putting a rug underneath the bed, you basically have two options: partially under or all the way under.
If you’re going for the all the way under look, you will generally need a larger rug. For our guest room shown below, we used a 7.5′ x 11′ rug placed all the way under our queen bed, and oriented it vertically to fit the space. If we would have oriented it horizontally, we would have had to go with the partially under look to have the right amount of rug extending from the bed. As a general rule of thumb, you want to have at least 12″ between the end of the rug and the end of the bed, and you want to make sure that your rug is wider than the bed, but does not extend beyond the night stands.
Having the rug partially under the bed is more commonly seen. This setup allows you use a smaller size rug, placed about 2/3 of the way underneath the bed. Again, you should try to have at least 12″ of rug extending beyond the bed, and your rug should be wider than the bed, but should not extend out past the night stands.
There is pretty much only one place for a dining room rug to go: under the table. With that being said, there is a right and wrong way to do this, so you want to make sure you are choosing the right size for your table!
First and foremost, the table and all chairs should sit on the rug. If chairs are hanging off the rug, then the rug is probably too small, and could become a tripping hazard if a chair gets pushed in and pulls up the edge of the rug.
Once you have measured and know a minimum size for keeping your table and all chairs on the rug, the size of your space is the determining factor. Generally, you want to try to keep enough room around the edges to be able to pull out and push in the chairs without tripping on or messing up the rug. You also want to consider how close your rug is to the wall. As I mentioned earlier, the point of the rug is ground your space and anchor your furniture, so you don’t want it to look like wall to wall carpet. There are some guides that recommend at least 12″-15″ of clearance between the wall and the rug, but this isn’t always possible, especially if you have a smaller space. I say go with what works best in your space without touching any walls and keeping as much furniture on the rug as possible!
A FINAL NOTE ON SIZE
The tips and guidelines I’ve mentioned above are just that, a guide to help you pick the right size for YOUR space. These rules are not the end all be all, and, at the end of the day, you want a space that is functional and makes you happy. If you have a floor vent in your dining room that won’t allow for a rug large enough to pull out your chairs and stay on the rug, buy a smaller rug. If your living room space requires you to have one chair completely on the rug to be able to walk behind it, while the rest of the furniture only has the front legs on, then move the chair so that the space is functional. This is YOUR home, so always do what is best for your space and your budget!
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN SHOPPING FOR A RUG
Once you know what size rug you need for your space, you should consider what type of rug you want. Do you want something thick and soft? Low pile and easy to clean? Dark colored so it won’t show stains? All of these things are totally dependent on where the rug is going, and how the rug will be used, so I’m going to go through some basic things to consider when shopping for rugs!
- How will the rug be used?
First and foremost, you should consider how the rug will be used. If you’re shopping for a high traffic area, for example, the entryway, you want a rug that is durable, easy to clean, and won’t easily show dirt. If you’re shopping for a bedroom, you want a rug that feels good under your feet, and is thick enough to hold its shape underneath the weight of your bed. For the dining room, you want a lower pile rug that is easy to clean, and has a pattern or colors that can hide the inevitable food stains that come with the nature of the space.
- How will the colors and pattern of the rug work with the other colors and patterns in the room?
It’s very easy to start shopping for a rug, fall in love with the colors or pattern, and get it home, only to find out that it doesn’t really go with the rest of your space. If you have a lot of patterns in the room already, you might want to go for a solid, or natural fiber rug. If you have more cool tones in your space, you probably don’t want to throw in a bright orange or red rug. Sometimes it’s really hard to see how it will go without actually having the rug in your space, so if you can order rug samples before buying, this is always a great option. If rug samples aren’t available, you can always order the smallest size of the rug, treat it like a sample, and then return it!
- What style of rug are you looking for?
There are so many different types of rugs out there. From traditional and transitional rugs, to boho or geometric ones, the options can seem endless. My advice for choosing a style, especially if it is a larger, more expensive rug, is to choose timeless over trendy. Even an affordable rug can still be an investment, so you don’t want to buy one that will go out of style in a year or two.
It is also important to consider how you want the space to feel when choosing a style. A very traditional, ornate rug can have a very formal feel to it, while a natural fiber rug with fringe on the edges will feel more relaxed and lived in. You want to choose the right style for the formality of your space.
- Do you need a rug pad?
The answer to this question is almost always yes. Rug pads protect your floors, keep your rugs from sliding around, and can really make your rug feel plush and luxurious if you buy a thicker one. Personally, I like the thin, non-skid rug pads because they are cheaper, can be cut to fit any size, and do the job of both protecting the floor and keeping the rug in place. If you like that thick, lush rug feeling, however, you might prefer a thicker one!
If your rug is on carpet, you can get usually get away without a rug pad by using double sided carpet tape. We also have used double sided carpet tape on tile in the place of a rug pad in both our bathroom and laundry room.
TIPS FOR LAYERING RUGS
We finally made it to layering rugs! If you’ve read my “About” page, you’ll know that I personally LOVE the layered rug look. I think it adds texture, contrast, and dimension, AND it allows you to incorporate a beautiful vintage or patterned rug into your design without breaking the bank!
It’s no secret that big rugs cost big money. A 9’x12′ vintage or oushak rug would probably cost you over $1000, while a smaller 5’x7′ or 4’x6′ would be much more affordable. Even affordable vintage style rugs, like Loloi rugs, can be costly when you start buying really large sizes.
On the other hand, natural fiber rugs are generally MUCH more affordable, even in larger sizes! By layering a smaller sized vintage rug over a larger solid or natural fiber rug, you can ground your space with the proper size rug and still get that expensive, vintage look at a fraction of the cost!
When it comes to layering rugs, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, try to stick to a solid, or minimally patterned base. I personally think natural fiber rugs like jute or sisal make the best base for layering because they are neutral, affordable, and bring in a natural, organic texture. If you do decide to layer patterns, try to choose patterns that compliment each other, rather than competing with each other by choosing patterns with different scales.
Second, choose rugs that have completely different textures and piles for layering. For example, you wouldn’t want to put two flat weaves or two natural fibers on top of each other. For our layered look, we went with a natural jute rug on bottom and a vintage style flat weave on top.
Finally, make sure your base rug doesn’t swallow or overwhelm your smaller focal rug. For example, a 3′ x 5′ could very easily get lost on a large 9′ x 12′ jute rug, while a 5′ x 7′ or 8′ x 10′ would stand out and create more of a statement. There are no hard fast rules when it comes to layering sizes, but my advice would be to be intentional with your choices and choose what fits best with your space and your furniture layout.
As you read earlier, we originally ordered our vintage style 5′ x 7′ rug thinking it would be large enough to fill our space. When our new furniture arrived, we quickly realized that we needed a much larger rug, and decided to go with a 9′ x 12′ jute base. Layering the 5′ x 7′ off center just in front of all the furniture worked out perfectly for us, because it allowed us to access the floor plug underneath our sofa through a small hole we cut in the jute rug. If we had gone any larger with our top rug, for instance, an 8’x10′, we would not be able to use our floor plug. If we had gone any smaller, however, our chunky coffee table and large base rug would have overwhelmed the accent rug. Function is just as important as aesthetics when it comes to rugs, so choose what works best for your space!
WHERE TO SHOP FOR GOOD QUALITY, AFFORDABLE RUGS
Last but not least, I’m giving you some of my favorite places to find good quality, affordable rugs. I’m all in favor of investing in good quality, long lasting pieces for your home, but I don’t think you have to spend thousands of dollars on a rug to achieve this! In this section, I’ll walk you through some of the best places (in my opinion) to find beautiful, quality rugs that won’t break the bank.
- TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Home Goods
Would you believe if I told you that I found all three of the Loloi rugs shown below at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Home Goods? Seriously, if you’re not checking these stores for rugs, you are missing out on some amazing deals. I highly recommend checking out TJ Maxx and Marshalls online as well. They get in new arrivals daily, and regularly get in beautiful, good quality rugs.
2. Facebook Market Place and eBay
I ALWAYS check Facebook Marketplace or eBay when I’m on the hunt for something. Our entryway runner rug is originally from the Hearth and Hand line at Target, and retails for $49.99. I, however, came across it on Facebook Marketplace (brand new) for just $25. I have sold rugs and bought rugs on Marketplace, and I think it is a great place to find quality, gently used rugs for less!
Another place you might not think to look for rugs is on eBay! When we decided we wanted a 9′ x 12′ jute rug to layer in our living room, I was on the hunt to find one for under $200. During my search, I came across some listings on eBay for “damaged” natural fiber rugs at super affordable prices. The rugs that were labeled as damaged were marked down due to loose threads, small stains, or other minor flaws that hardly affected the quality of the rug, especially since it was going to be used as a layering base! I made an offer to the seller and got the price down to just $170, which is a STEAL for 9’x12′ rug. We purchased a rug that was labeled damaged due to loose threads, and the rug arrived in near perfect condition. We hardly notice the loose threads, and, at that price, I didn’t feel bad about cutting a hole in it to access our floor plug!
3. Salvage Stores, Thrift Stores, and Antique Stores
Salvage stores, thrift stores, and antique stores are great places to look for unique and one of a kind affordable rugs. These stores are great because you never know what you will find, the prices are amazing, and there is sometimes room for negotiation.
4. Wayfair, All Modern, Overstock, Joss and Main, Birch Lane
If you haven’t shopped at these stores yourself, I’m sure you’ve at least heard of them! These well known discount furniture stores are the perfect place to find affordable rugs. They have SO many options, and regularly offer discounts and coupons. We’ve purchased quite a few things from these stores, and recently purchased the Loloi rug seen in our dining room during Wayfair’s Way Day sale for $170. It is a 7’6″ x 9’6″ rug, so this was a great price for a rug of that size. If you didn’t know, Wayfair, All Modern, Joss and Main, and Birch Lane are all sister companies, so they pretty much all carry the same items, but the prices fluctuate slightly between the different sites. I always recommend comparing the price of an item on multiple sites before ordering!
5. Rugs USA and Boutique Rugs
Rugs USA and Boutique Rugs are discount websites specially for rugs! These websites have SO many options to choose from, and amazing prices. I have ordered quite a few rugs from Rugs USA in the past, and have always been impressed with the quality and customer service. Boutique Rugs has some amazing options as well! I love the selection of rugs that they offer, and they have a wide range of prices, so you can find a quality rug for any budget. Use the code SHS60 for 60% off your order at Boutique Rugs!
I mean, what can’t Target do? From home decor to basic necessities, they have it all, including some great rug options! The Hearth and Hand and Studio McGee lines at Target have some really great options, particularly if you’re looking for a good neutral rug!
Last but not least on my rug shopping list is Amazon! Amazon has some amazing options when it comes to rugs, and some really great prices as well! If you’re looking for a Loloi rug, they have quite a few options in a variety of sizes and styles that I will be sharing at the end of this post! The nice thing about ordering a rug from Amazon, besides the great prices, is the fast shipping and hassle free returns! Returning a rug can be expensive and difficult, so ordering through Amazon (if it is prime eligible) makes it easy. They also offer swatches for many of their rugs, which is great to see how the colors and pattern work in your space before ordering a large area rug!
I’ve created three rug guides that include the rugs shown in our home, my favorite Loloi rugs on Amazon, and my favorite Boutique Rugs! To shop for any of these products, click the corresponding name or number below each guide.
Use the code SHS60 for 60% off your purchase at Boutique Rugs!
I know this was a lengthy post, but I hope this information will be helpful for you the next time you’re shopping for rugs! Remember, when determining your size, style, and price range, do what is best for YOU, YOUR home, and YOUR budget. Guidelines for sizing and styling can be so helpful when you’re stuck or unsure, but don’t get so bogged down trying to follow “the rules” that you sacrifice function or your own personal style!
I would love to hear your thoughts and any rug tips, tricks, or affordable stores you know of in the comments below! I would also LOVE to see pictures of any of these ideas or recommendations that you use in your own home, so feel free to shoot me an email or tag me on Instagram 😊