Your Guide to Choosing a Rug

When you’re overwhelmed with a sterile space or a daunting open concept floor plan, you can solve your design dilemmas with the right rug.

That’s the beauty of rugs; they add color, texture, and warmth to a room. Rugs ground a space and help designate room transitions. They can neutralize a room or add pops of colors.

Their versatility and artistry make them one of my very favorite design elements as an interior decorator.

But with that solution comes another problem. How do you choose the right rug?

There’s so much to consider, but I’d like to give you one very important word in choosing the right rug and that is “scale.” The most common mistake I see in rug selections is size. If rugs were a dress that you were ordering online, I would tell you to “size up.” Most of the homes I enter have chosen a rug that is too small for the space. Make the following considerations to ensure you’ve picked the perfect sized rug.


To designate your living area in an open concept home, utilize the rug. I like clients to purchase rugs that are large enough for appropriate furniture placement. You are creating little conversation areas with sofas and chairs, and at least part of every seat should be on the rug. This means you can choose to put the whole sofa on the rug or just the front two legs. Layout the furniture in your room and then measure the perimeter to see what size rug you need to be aiming for.

Any piece of furniture that could hold a drink must choose a side. This means on or off the rug completely. Think about it, you don’t want a table to wobble, therefore, coffee tables go all the way on a rug and end/side tables are usually set off the rug.


Rectangular rugs will accomodate all table shapes if you get one large enough. The most important thing to consider is the dining chairs. When a chair is pulled out from the table, you don’t want a guest half on and half off the carpet. Be sure you allow at least 2’ around the perimeter of the table to avoid this problem.

Dining rooms are where I pay special attention to geometry. I consider the furniture shapes and want to be sure I haven’t used too many rectangles or too many circles. So a rectangle table and rectangular buffet, may need an oval rug to break up the shapes.


Rugs under a king or queen bed should have at least two feet of rug on each side of the bed and at the foot. This usually means that at least half of the bed is on top of the rug.

However, a really fun trick, if you can’t make a large rug work, is to place two runners on either side of the bed. This gives the same illusion of a large rug.

Kids’ rooms can utilize a rug as a play mat and in that case, the rug doesn’t have to fit under the bed, but can float in the middle of the room. I really enjoy layering a soft faux fur on top of a bold geometric rug for children.

Tips to simplify your search

Layering. If you’ve fallen in love with a rug that’s too small, not to fret. Consider layering a larger rug underneath.

Color. Remember that a rug can bring in color or it can neutralize a bright palette. You can start with the rug first to establish your scheme, or you can choose at the end to tie everything together.

Details. If you have a rug with fringe, be sure and brush the ends for a sharp, clean look and shake the rug outside once a season to keep it looking fresh. You can also cut the fringe to your desired length!


Susie Robb is lead designer and shop owner

of Texas-based brand, From: Susie.

Visit for more helpful tips,

tricks & design ideas.

 Photos by Cortney Hostin, Cortney Dani Photography / Illustrations by Ashley Slater, Nibby Ink

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