Area Rugs: Tips for Selection and Placement

By
Home Stager with Designed to Appeal, LLC

Area rug When I am staging a home for sale, area rugs serve many functions in a room:

  • Defining the area, for example, a seating or dining area in a large room
  • Adding pops of color to an otherwise neutral room
  • Toning down a room that has strong and bright colored furniture
  • Adding texture to a neutral colored space

When I am doing an interior redesign, in addition to the above, area rugs also:

  • Provide comfort underfoot
  • Provide physical warmth underfoot
  • Absorb the sound in a room

Area rugs come in these common sizes:

  • 5' x 8'
  • 6' x 9'
  • 8' x 10', 8' x 11'
  • 9' x 12'
  • 12' x 15'

Here are some tips when buying an area rug:

  • If you anticipate lots of traffic and wear and tear, select a patterned rug which will show stains less than a solid rug.
  • Also, a wool rug is easier to clean than a non-wool rug.
  • The shape of the rug should mirror the furniture or the room size. For example, a rectangular dining table should have a rectangular rug underneath. But a round dining table should have a round rug under it.

Round rug

  • In a very large room, you can have multiple area rugs, but make sure they complement and coordinate with each other. They don't have to be identical, and ideally, we wouldn't want them to be.
  • The area rug should take up 2/3 to 3/4 of the floor space of an area with no furniture on the rug, for example, the foyer pictured below. Otherwise the rug will look lost. However, a small rug right in front of the entry door would be acceptable.

Foyer Rug

  • Don't cover the entire floor with an area rug - leave 9 to 12 inches of the floor around the edges of the rug exposed.
  • While some designers feel that area rugs on a carpet are a no-no, others say it's okay to do so.
  • I prefer to start with the color of the sofa before choosing a rug to complement it. Others start with the rug first, and then choose the sofa.
  • Don't use busy rugs with large patterns with a sofa or bedding that has large patterns.
  • Use non-skid pads when needed to prevent slips and accidents. The pad should be a few inches smaller than the rug.

  • There's always been a debate about furniture on and off the rug, but here is some guidance:
    • At least the front legs of the furniture should be on the rug
    • All of the furniture's legs should be on the rug, ideally, if the rug is large enough.
  • Avoid placing the rug so that the traffic pattern would have people walking with one foot on the rug and the other foot on the bare floor. And avoid placing the corner of a rug in front of a door as people may trip.
  • In a dining room, make sure that the rug is large enough that, when a person is backing out of their chair, the back legs of the chair are still on the rug. You can use 24 inches from the edge of the table to the edge of the rug as a guide.

Dining Room Rug

  • Be aware that in rooms with direct sunlight and hardwood floors, the area rug will create an outline when the floor color changes as a result of the sunlight. Also, sunlight can fade a rug, particularly oriental rugs.
  • Also be aware of electrical outlets and vents in floors as well as the placement of rugs near doors which may not clear the rug.
  • In a bedroom, at least two sides of the bed should have the same amount of rug showing.

Bedroom with area rug

If you have any other tips about the purchase, placement or care of area rugs, please share them.

© Copyright 2011 Designed to Appeal, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

 

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About the Author: Donna Dazzo is president and owner of Designed to Appeal, a home staging company serving New York City and the Hamptons. Designed to Appeal helps homeowners and real estate agents sell homes quickly and profitably, by expertly creating an environment that buyers want to live in. Designed to Appeal also helps homeowners not looking to sell with interior redesign, which involves using mostly what the homeowner already has. Donna writes frequently on home staging and interior decorating and design topics.

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Re-Bloggged 6 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Sharon Alters 08/28/2011 09:39 PM
  2. Barbara Martino-Sliva 08/28/2011 09:49 PM
  3. Yvonne Burdette-Van Camp 08/30/2011 01:35 AM
  4. Lenn Harley 08/30/2011 07:15 AM
  5. Debbie Gartner 09/01/2011 11:57 AM
  6. Jim Frimmer 09/18/2011 10:03 PM
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area rugs
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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,153,640
Cheryl Ritchie
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com
What a great and thorough presentation on area rugs. Good job!
August 29, 2011 06:28 PM
Rainer
28,821
Win Home Inspection
National Home Office

Donna thank you for the tips. I just read an article today from RISMedia on using furniture rentals to sell properties faster, as it is the easiest and most cost-effective way to stage a home. Would you recommend this option as well for rugs?

August 29, 2011 06:42 PM
Rainmaker
44,581
Donna Dazzo
Home Stager in the Hamptons & New York
Designed to Appeal, LLC

Thank you all for stopping by.  WIN home inspection, yes I always include rugs when renting furniture for a property for sale.  Generally it's more cost effective to rent than to buy furniture when staging a property for sale, especially if you anticipate using the furniture for only 3 to 6 months.

August 29, 2011 08:35 PM
Rainmaker
238,128
Pat Fenn
Marketing Specialist for CJ Realty Group/Cindy Jones Broker

Good information.  Area rugs can give you a quick way to change the look of a room without spending a fortune.

August 29, 2011 09:14 PM
Rainmaker
597,693
Barbara Altieri
REALTOR - Fairfield County CT Real Estate
RealtyQuest, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Homes for Sale and Real Estate

Donna - A wool rug is definitely the way to go. I have a few on my hardwoods and just use a Hoover steam cleaner with a powerful extractor on them and they come out great! What do you think about positioning an area rug on an angle instead of parallel with the sides of the room?

August 29, 2011 09:43 PM
Rainmaker
647,735
Evelyn Kennedy
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA
Gallagher & Lindsey, Alameda, California

Donna:

So much great information about rugs.  Thank you, I did realized there were so many rules.

August 29, 2011 11:30 PM
Rainmaker
338,276
Lloyd Binen
Silicon Valley R since 1976;408-565-8177
Certified Realty Services

Donna,

I'm with Evelyn above me.  This is a lot of good information about area rugs that I never thought much about.  Thanks and thanks for the pictures, too.

August 29, 2011 11:52 PM
Ambassador
1,161,878
Tammie White
TW Realty Group, Franklin TN, South of Nashville
Benchmark Realty, LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.TWRealtyGroup.net

These are great tips. Now I know how to advise clients when using area rugs.

August 29, 2011 11:58 PM
Rainmaker
90,543
Kathleen Vetrano
Luxury Home Real Estate Consultant
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Donna,  You know when something looks right and something looks off.  You provide some very good reasons why this occurs.  Thank you.

August 29, 2011 11:59 PM
Rainmaker
313,510
Sandy Acevedo
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale
951-290-8588

This is definitely some good information. Well done, well thought out. Nice job!         

August 30, 2011 01:19 AM
Rainmaker
170,394
James Muhammad
Keller Williams Realty

This is great information! I'm getting ready to change around all the rugs in my house now. I'm going to also tell my sellers to read this so they can do the same.

August 30, 2011 01:29 AM
Rainer
177,469
Rosalie Evans
The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale
Meritus Group Real Estate

It is amazing how changing out a rug totally changes the look of the room and for a cheap price too!

August 30, 2011 01:44 AM
Rainmaker
233,918
Anne M. Costello
Weidel Realtors

Donna: Great post about area rugs and how they can change and improve a room. Accenting hardwood floors, enhancing furniture and color choices makes a home more liveable and saleable! I plan to reblog, there is so much great information here.

August 30, 2011 07:27 AM
Rainmaker
1,592,665
Dorie Dillard
Realtor-Canyon Creek- NW, Austin TX Homes For Sale
Coldwell Banker United Realtors

Good morning Donna,

Congratulations on the featured post..it certainly is well deserved!! Great post and well illustrated..I'm book marking it..excellent advice!

August 30, 2011 07:52 AM
Rainmaker
44,581
Donna Dazzo
Home Stager in the Hamptons & New York
Designed to Appeal, LLC

Wow, thank you all for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and comments. Wasn't expecting this to be a featured post.

Barbara, I am glad you brought up angling rugs, as I forgot to mention these in my post. I sometimes do it, but frankly it's hard to give a rule about it. Either I know the room calls for it or it does not. Either I know the angle looks good or it does not. It's difficult to teach someone this.

I used angled rugs in these two staged rooms, pictured below. The one thing they had in common was the room was small and in the case of the office, there was a lot of floor space, so maybe that's the beginning of a "rule".

 

Angled rug - office

August 30, 2011 09:20 AM
Rainmaker
324,655
Julia Maher
Connecticut Home Stager
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes

Thanks for emphasizing how large a rug should be under the dining table.  We usually see rugs that are much too small!

August 30, 2011 12:24 PM
Rainmaker
88,802
Linda Thompson
Selling By Design-Staging

Good info as always, Donna. Thanks for the post.

August 31, 2011 12:47 AM
Rainmaker
270,523
Cathy Lee
ASP, IAHSP, RESA Danville, CA
CL Design Services Home Staging

Ver nice post and such good info-thank you!

August 31, 2011 12:55 PM
Rainmaker
409,271
Joanna Cohlan
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes
Fresh Eyes For Your Home

Thanks for these tips-lots of people skimp on rugs-they don't understand that the proportion is critical to the success of the space and although you want wood margins around the rug, a larger rug always gives the room a more pulled together look.

September 04, 2011 10:54 AM
Rainmaker
839,534
Joshua Zargari
MJ Decorators Workshop
MJ Decorators Workshop LI staging and home decorating

Great information.

March 30, 2012 03:22 PM
Anonymous
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Rainmaker
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Donna Dazzo

Home Stager in the Hamptons & New York
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