Robineve Interiors | Universal Design



How to Place an Area Rug

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People like rugs. They add color, texture, and personality to a room. They protect flooring, both hard floors and carpets, and they help identify areas of a space. The seating area, the food preparation area, the walkway, etc. But putting a beautiful rug in your home is not as intuitive as you may think. Many people end up with rugs in odd places, that make little sense, seem a bit off, or even trip their guests.

Luckily, rug placement confusion is preventable! Here are some tips to keep in mind that can help you make your home more beautiful, more welcoming, and more functional.

Don’t Find a Place for That Rug, Seek a Rug for That Place.

This detail will change your experience. If you decide where an area rug is needed, what size and shape it should be, and what color or texture you’re going for, you’ll have a much better time than if you come home with a new rug and look for a place to put it.

You’ll pick out a totally different textile when you know that you want to create soft cushioning underfoot than when you know your goal is to simply add color. Start with a plan, and find the rug that meets your goals.

How Big Should Your Area Rug Be?

The key is the rug must completely cover the areas where people often walk and where their feet usually are when they sit. And the edges of the rug should be out of these areas as much as possible.

Seating Areas

Well, there’s more than one way to do this. For maximum coziness, the rug should have all feet to all furnishings on it, or if you’re using the rug to “zone” or create a space in an open floor plan. No table legs or chair feet should have trouble fitting. Whether going for cozy, or zoning, the goal with all the furnishings on the rug is to create an intimate or contained feeling.

For more of an “open air” sort of feeling, just put the front legs of all seating on the rug, and leave the rear legs on the main flooring. This also makes the seating area more approachable, and people will actually feel less like they’re interrupting others or entering a new space when they approach this.

Sometimes when the room is very small a large area rug would be overwhelming. You can experiment with rugs that fit partially under the table, and only the front legs of any seats. Round rugs can be good for this use: they can provide padding and floor protection where people sit, but not take up much visual space.

When you’re working with two chairs or two couches, you need to give mind to symmetry. This isn’t as important with three, or with one of each. Don’t put one couch more or less on the rug than the other. This never ends up feeling comfortable.

Halls, Walkways, and “Runner” Rugs

People often use “runner” rugs or long, thin rugs in hallways and places where foot traffic passes in a predictable straight line often. This is a great plan, for your body and for your floors.

Kitchen & Dining

The place in front of the kitchen sink is a bit fluid- in same cases a runner next to the counter makes perfect sense. Sometimes it makes the room seem smaller, or an edge cuts through where people walk other common paths, and you’d do better with a larger rectangle rug.

Dining room rugs must extend fully under all dining room chairs, and stay under all the legs when they’re pulled away from the table. All 4 feet of a dining chair must stay on the rug. You need about 2-2.5 feet behind each chair when it’s pushed in, so the rug has to be about 5 ft wider than the table.  And make sure that the path people walk behind chairs isn’t interrupted by a rug edge, for safety’s sake.


Even though you never walk under your bed, it is much better to put a big rug under the bed that leaves a “U” shaped rug area where you walk than to lay two or three runners next to your bed. Or you can put two rectangular or round rugs where your feet hit the ground in the morning. There may be other areas in your bedroom you’d like an area rug- perhaps to designate your dressing area with a chair and a mirror, or at your make-up bench and mirror. Don’t go too small with rugs in these areas, let them be large enough to define the space- within the rug is the dressing area, outside of the rug is not.

Hopefully this short guide gives you a solid understanding of how to make rug placement decisions. If you need expert help making decor decisions, or finding just the right piece to compliment your home, don’t hesitate to contact Robineve Interiors.

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