To Rug or Not to Rug? THAT is the Question

Have you ever walked into a room and had the nagging thought that something just wasn’t right? I mean, it should be right; the furniture is stylish and the color scheme is current and fresh, but something nags you. You try to ignore it, focus on the lovely pillows or that interesting piece of artwork, but no matter how you slice it, the room is just off. Then it hits you: it’s the area rug. Maybe it’s too small or maybe it’s too big. Maybe there is no area rug at all. To rug or not to rug? That is the question…

Area Rugs by La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries of Arizona

Area Rugs by La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries of Arizona

Do I really need an area rug?

This is a very common question; We will simply answer a resounding, “YES!” Whether you have carpet or hardwood, ceramic or stone, laminate or concrete, you need an area rug. Area rugs accomplish so much in a room besides just adding color. On hard surfaces such as wood or ceramic, area rugs provide the much needed sound absorption that takes the edge off loud acoustics, like when Transformers’ creepy ‘KAKAKAKAKA’ sound effect is blaring on Friday night or when the Suns are beating the Spurs and your neighbors along the back fence can hear the score. On the other hand, if you have carpet, an area rug plays a major role in pulling your furniture into a conversation circle away from the outer perimeters of the room.

 With or Without an Area Rug? With!

With or Without an Area Rug? With!

Size Matters!

Now that we have established that you need an area rug, what size should you look for? The most common mistake that we encounter as designers is an area rug that is too small for the furniture. You are not the US postal service and you do not want a postage stamp in the middle of the room. There is no hard science to this, but a general rule of thumb is to select a size so that each piece of furniture in the room layers over an edge of the rug. For most spaces, we recommend an area rug no less than 5’x8’, but in reality most rooms can accommodate a 6’x9’ or even an 8’x10’ rug.  Don’t be afraid of taking your area rug to the next size. The impact will be worth it.

 The rug is too small for the room

The Correct Size Area Rug

Area rugs are artwork for the floor. They provide color, texture, pattern, and add depth to your room. We often overlook the impact of this layer beneath our feet. Take a look around your room. Note the colors, patterns, geometry, or textures of what you already have in your room, and then translate that to your area rug. Do you need the rhythm of a great stripe? Does a chunky, ‘get-your-toes-into-it’ texture fit the bill? Area rugs give a lot of visual bang for your buck.

 Accessories by La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries of Arizona

Accessories by La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries of Arizona

Imagine the possibilities on your floor!


Sonja Shaw

Interior Designer

Allied Member ASID


4 thoughts on “To Rug or Not to Rug? THAT is the Question

  1. Hi Sonja, great post! You are right, a rug can make all the difference in a space. And it is worth investing in a quality piece. Layering of rugs can also create an interesting aspect in a room. Or a rug as wall decoration. The possibilities are endless.

  2. Hi Sonja, great post! A rug can make all the difference in a room and it is worth investing in good quality. Layering of rugs makes a statement as well or a rug as wall decoration… the possibilities are endless!

    • Hi Ruth,
      That is a great question! Sometimes the architecture can really influence things. Depending on how small your living room is, one solution could be to actually go a bit smaller in size, but throw the rug down on a slight angle. This gives the impression of a larger impact, without the bulk. An angle rug can also help draw your eye and attention towards the focal fireplace wall and give the room dynamic. If you would like to send me a picture of your space, I would be more than happy to take a look and see if there might be another way to look at it. Feel free to email me at Happy accessorizing! – Sonja

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