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Buying An Area Rug: A Guide for Physicians

Buying area rugs

Buying an area rug can be an overwhelming process. I get so many questions about this important purchase. Here are a few of them:

  • What size should I get?
  • How should I place my rug?
  • What color and pattern works with my space? 
  • Where should I look for rugs?

If you’ve asked any of these questions, read on. Here is my “Area Rug Buying Guide for Physicians”. It’s everything you need to know when shopping for an area rug. 

Consider Size and Shape

Before considering style and aesthetic, make sure you know exactly what shape and size area rug you need for your room.  

Bedroom Rugs 

Your rug size will depend on two things: 

  1. the size of your bed 
  2. the size of your room

The rug should be placed under the bed so that when you get up and stand on the floor beside your bed, your feet will be on the rug. It can be large enough to extend up under your nightstand, but it doesn’t have to be.

There should also be a minimum of about 3 feet (can be more) showing at the end of the bed, and I prefer 2-3 feet showing on the sides of the bed.

Make sure the rug is sized so that the furniture around the periphery of your room (dresser, chest) does not sit on it.

Dining Room Rugs

These depend on the size of your dining table and your room. Your rug should be large enough so that when you pull out a dining chair and sit down, your entire chair is still on the rug. (You don’t want to pull up your chair and get caught on the edge of the rug).

Rectangular rugs work well with rectangular, round, square or oval tables. Round rugs work with round tables. Square rugs work well with round tables.

Entryway/Hallway Rugs

Our tendency is to select a much smaller rug… a 2’ x 3’ or 3’ x 5’ (doormat size) for an entryway. I recommend to go as large as you can instead. Think at least 4’ x 6’ or larger. Fill the space with a rug. The size will essentially depend on how large your entryway is.

If your entryway is square, a round or square rug will work well.

Runners can work wonderfully for hallways and stairs. They typically come anywhere from 2’2”-3’0” wide and I always recommend using the widest one you can find that fits your hallway. You can usually find them in 4’-10’ lengths. Always fill the space and err on the side of going larger.

Living Room Rugs

Your rug should either cover the entire room, with approx 12-18” of flooring around the periphery OR it should define one clear conversation grouping of furniture.

If you’re choosing a rug for a furniture grouping (like your sofa and two chairs):

  • It should be large enough so that the front legs of each piece of furniture can sit on the rug. 
  • It can be bigger so that all of the furniture sits on the rug, but it doesn’t have to be. 
  • In general, unless you have a very small space, you will need a rug that is 8’ x 10’ or larger for this.  When in doubt, always go larger.

Material Choices

What do you want the area rug to be made of?  This is important to ask when buying area rugs because some materials are more durable than others.  

Here’s a link to a quick & easy summary of various rug materials: https://www.onekingslane.com/live-love-home/rug-guide-materials

Color and Style of Your Area Rug

If you are starting your space with rug selection (which is the easiest way to do it), you can pick anything you want and that inspires you.  On the other hand, if you are adding a rug to an existing space, make sure you think about it in the context of your space. Do the colors work well together? Does the pattern work well with any other patterns in your room? Does it work well with other rugs that may be located close by? 

Patterns vs. Solids

If you already have several patterns in your room (for example, on window treatments or pillows), go with a rug that is solid or more simple with less pattern. If you have primarily solids in your room, adding a rug with more pattern can make things more interesting. I would even suggest going pretty bold in this case.

Patterns with other Patterns

Geometrics pair well with florals. Dots pair well with stripes. Larger scale patterns pair better with smaller scale patterns. You ​can​ use two different florals or two different geometrics together, but make sure one is a larger scale and one is a smaller scale. Make sure you pull some colors from your furnishings, windows, and/or accessories. If you already have a significant amount of color in the room, consider going with a neutral rug (whites, black, grays, browns). You don’t have to, but sometimes it’s good to give the eyes some rest.

Sourcing Rugs

If you can’t find what you want locally, there are several online options that offer free shipping and good deals on returns.  I ALWAYS recommend ordering a rug sample.  Colors can look very different online than they do in real life.  Ordering a sample can prevent a lot of regrets and money in return shipping.  Here are a few online sources that provide samples and free shipping: rugsusa.com, rugsdirect.com, rugstudio.com

Need help buying an area rug? Schedule a design consult by clicking here. I can help you.

Kricia Palmer, MD, ASID | Doctor, life coach & interior designer

I’m Kricia Palmer, and I help women physicians let go of clutter and create beautiful, clutter-resistant homes so they can feel more peace, get more rest and be more focused.

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Create a home you love that fits YOUR style, so you feel relaxed, inspired, and enjoy every space in your home.