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How to choose the right size of area rug for a room?

It is hard to decide what size area rug is best for a space as there are so many “rules” and just as many opposing opinions. 
One popular rule is that the area rug should be large enough to slide under the front legs of furniture. But just as frequently I’ve heard it suggested that all legs of the furniture should sit on the Persian area rug! So, rather than being bound by rules, being aware of these guidelines and options will assist you in determining what size area rug provides the visual effect you desire in the rooms of your house!
Rule 1: Some legs on the area rug. Here is a gorgeous room where the front legs sit on the rug while others are off. This approach really does work in most situations; the rug connects the various furniture pieces together while extending far enough into the room to create a sense of good proportion.

Rule 2: All legs on the area rug. One tip is to determine the furniture placement prior to selecting what size area rug to use, which leads to the next rule: A room generally looks more pulled together if all the furniture legs are planted firmly on the area rug.
Here is a beautiful example of a large graphic rug defining a space and shows the effectiveness of having all the furniture legs placed on the rug.

Rule 3: No legs of sofa on the area rug. Now if you would like to bring in just a area rug, perhaps one that introduces a pop of pattern into the room, another approach would be to have none of the sofa touching the rug. While this creates a completely different look, it also works!

Rule 4: Round table on the round area rug . It is much easier to arrange a round table in your living room if there is round area rug. This can not be a hard design goal to achieve due to the round shape of tables to area rugs. While a traditional approach, it feels modern here due to the decor decisions.Here is a wonderful example of this approach and how the area rug defines the table design.

Rule 5: Extend the rug 12-18 inches around a bed. For an area rug to look balanced under a bed, it should be large enough to extend beyond the sides of the bed at least 18 inches for a king or queen bed and at least 12 inches for a full or twin bed. Depending upon the size of the room there can be more rug extension around the bed, but not less, which would make the rug look insignificant being covered mostly by the bed.
However, a smaller area rug can also be very effective placed at the foot of a bed, bringing in just a little layer of interest and pattern. Here the rug width should extend beyond the width of the bed to feel balanced.

To sum up this topic, there are multiple rules to guide the decision of what size area rug is best for the rooms of a home and many of them completely contradict one another! But being aware of the various rules can provide guidelines to help determine which approach is most appealing to you and will be effective in achieving the look you desire in your individual spaces. 
 

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