How to: Select a rug by size and style

11 Jun


With so many styles, colors and materials to choose from how do you know what is right for you?  It’s easier than you think if you follow a few basic ground rules!  If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me how to select the right rug for their space I could pay for my Starbucks habit in no time!  It can be tough if you don’t have all of the details you need when shopping for the perfect size, style and type of rug for your space.  Not long ago, we moved into an updated 1950’s style home from an oversized brand new spec house and of course my existing rugs did not fit into the new rooms.  One of the best pieces of advice I can give you in that situation is to find a flooring company that can do rug binding and repair.  I figured that since we have already made an investment in the rugs and I loved them so much, it was worth having them altered to fit the new space.

So, with a little help from Ballard Designs…let’s start with the research portion of rug shopping. You must do your homework, starting with measuring the area/room where you’ll be placing your rug. You might want to select a minimum and maximum optimal size to give you a wider selection of rugs to choose from.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • *In the dining room, a rug should be large enough to allow space for chairs, even when pulled away from the table. Measure your table and add  approximately two feet, or sit in one of your chairs yourself and measure the distance from the table.
  • *If you have a wood floor, try to have at least 18 to 24 inches of flooring around the perimeter of the room.
  • Celerie Kemble House Beautiful Nov07_thumb[6] Picture 9

*Don’t worry about whether the furniture sits on or off the rug. What looks good to you is what’s important.

*In the family room, select a size that covers at least the length and width of your furniture. A 5′ x 8′ or 6′ x 9′ rug is a good size to cluster  furniture around for an intimate area. To expand the space, select a larger larger size that outlines the perimeter of the area.

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Now for a few tips on selecting a style

First, take a quick inventory of your color scheme. To tie the look of the room together, you’ll want to select a rug that complements the two or three main colors in the room.

If you go to a store, we suggest you take a throw pillow and a color swatch of your drapes, furniture or wall colors with you. It’s incredibly hard to visualize how the colors will work together without any reference. And if you’re considering a Ballard Designs rug, we strongly suggest you order a swatch first.

Use these basics to get you started on your hunt:

*If your primary furniture, such as a sofa, is a solid color, consider selecting a patterned rug.


*Match the secondary color in a patterned rug to your sofa. Match the third rug color to your pillows, drapes, wall color or other accents in the room.


*If your primary furniture is upholstered in a pattern or is elaborate in design, a solid-colored rug would work really well.


Make sure a solid-colored rug complements your sofa color, and match it to the accent colors in the room, such as artwork or a vase.


Now get shopping!

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