Home Improvement

Do You Have All the Right Rugs in All the Wrong Places?

  • Hall


  • Bathroom


  • Bedroom


In the brilliant and immortal words of The Dude (or His Dudeness or El Duderino if you're not into that whole brevity thing): That rug really tied the room together.

But did it?

You can spend a fortune on the right piece of carpet, or spend hours agonizing over which color, which pattern, shag or Saxony pile. But in the end, that rug has got to be the right one in just the right spot -- and there's more of a science to it than you'd think.

So we asked the pros to answer our burning question: What's the secret of perfect rug placement?

At the front door

You wouldn't think a rug with the sole purpose of wiping your feet would really matter, but it's the first thing visitors will see. If you want a greeting that says, "Hey, I read an article about rugs and I know stuff now," opt for the two rug combo: a heavy-duty mat on the outside to wipe off the feet and a more decorative rug on the inside to show off your style.

Size and placement matter, too. Your outdoor rug should be at least as wide as your door frame, and preferably just a couple of inches wider on either side, says CoCo Peterson, director of merchandise at online retailer DEQOR.

For the inside rug, follow the shape of your entryway.

"If you enter into a large parlor area, you can place a rug in the center of the room," Peterson says.

But if your door opens right up into the living room, opt for something smaller and less eye-catching.

In the living room

The living room is serious stuff. The rug is the focal point here, and it should be the first thing you put down when designing the layout of the room.

Center your seating area around the rug, Peterson says, not the other way around. Once the rug is down, place furniture strategically so that each key piece touches the rug.

"Typically, you will have both of the front of your sofa and love seat or settee on the rug, but for accent chairs, you can angle it and only have one foot on the rug," she says.

Accent pieces -- such as sofa tables, chests, and curio cabinets -- don't need to touch or even be centered around the rug. As long as the sofa and chairs are placed right, the room will look cohesive. And that's your goal.

In the bedroom

If you really want the bedroom to look polished, invest in a large rug you can place underneath your bed.

"It [should be] large enough so that you have a foot to a foot and a half extending from the sides and foot of your bed," Peterson says.

If you don't want to drop the cash on a large rug, you can pull off a smaller piece, but you'll have to get creative. Place the rug along the bottom of your bed, aiming for a foot and a half to extend past the bed.

In the bathroom

Rugs in the bathroom do double duty: adding to the dcor and keeping you from slipping and fracturing a hip when you get out of the tub. Worry about the latter first, and make sure your largest rug is within easy stepping distance of your tub.

If your bathroom is large enough, you can also opt for a few smaller, decorative rugs. But remember: This isn't the '90s anymore. (We're still getting over this.) Matching rug sets are long gone.

"I am not a fan of the rugs that wrap around the toilet, so I simply place a small bathroom mat in front of the toilet," says Peterson.

And don't forget the pads to help keep the rugs in place. Safety first, kids.

In the kitchen

Rather than go for a big rug you can't clean, opt for smaller, machine-washable rugs in strategic places.

"I recommend placing rugs wherever there is a likelihood of spilling or splashing on the floor. This means in front of the refrigerator, sink, and range," Peterson says. "If you have a hard floor in your kitchen, you may also want to place one in front of your main prep area for comfort."

And don't put it down if it isn't heavy-duty material with a stay-in-place mat.

"Flat-weave rugs tend to move around a lot or fold up at the corners," she says. "This can be a hazard to people who are hustling in the kitchen."

In the hallway

You might be thinking about buying a runner or two for a long hallway. But if your runner falls short, it won't look quite right. Take heart: "Runners can be really tricky," Peterson says.

If the runner is too small, try using it underneath a sofa table. And if you're looking for the right size for your hallway, consider this: "A runner should be able to at least reach from the entrance of the hallway to the farthest door-entry in the hallway, but preferably the full length of the hallway," Peterson says.

Finally, don't forget to add protective mats underneath your rugs. We know, we know. We said it already. But it will keep you from tripping -- and protect the floor from damage. Now cut a rug and get moving!

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