The perfect area rug, or so you thought. You saw it in the store, and it glowed like a magic carpet. Then you brought it home, spread it under your dining room table and realized that it was so small your chairs crumpled the rug inward every time they were pushed under the table. You tripped on it when you served food. The edges began to wear.

In the world of rugs, size does matter.

The adequately sized rug can make or break a room, both in terms of visual impact and in terms of visual impact and in how well a room function, design professionals say.

Interior designers know there are ground rules for rug dimensions and placement. The first rule, of course, is that these rule can be broken.

Nonetheless, understanding the basics can help those of us without a strong design sense know where to begin.

Dining Room

Measure your table, then add at least 6 feet to the length and 6 feet to the width. Three feet of the rug on each side of the table will allow for chairs to sit with all legs on the rug and will and provide enough room to move them in and out.

You should measure your table at the size you most frequently use; otherwise, the table will look dwarfed by an extra-long rug.

Buffets, sideboards and china cabinets typically are all the way off of the area rug. Otherwise, you’d be creating a visual mass, instead then defining a table area that is balanced along the walls by other furniture.

Living room, family room or den

A large rug meant to cover a room leave a margin of the exposed floor on all sides. That margin makes a room look larger than if the rug was scrunched up to the baseboards.

A rug set in the middle of a room looks best if the amount of floor showing is equal on all sides. That may not be possible, so at least shoot for similar margins on opposite sides of the rug, such as a foot of floor space showing on two sides and six inches on the other sides.

For smaller area rug chairs should either be all the way off of the area rug or on. Chairs or rugs can shift if the front legs are on the rug and rear legs are not. The reason is for stability. Sofas tend to be heavy enough that they won’t move if the legs are half-on, half-off the rug.

Anyone sitting on the furniture should be able to have both feet on the rug.

A rug under a coffee table looks proportional if it is the same length as the sofa.

Some large rooms can have spaces defined with more than one rug. Designers say not to divide a room in half with two equally sized rugs. You’ll achieve better contrast if you vary not just the size but the scale of the pattern and the type of design.

Another tip when considering the room size and rug dimension: Make sure that the rug is not too thick if you have to position it in front of a door that opens and closes.

Bedroom

The basic rule for bedroom area rugs is to leave 3 feet of carpet showing on all sides of a bed.

Many people are reluctant to cover a rug’s design with something as large as a bed. Most Oriental rugs are symmetrical, however, and if the rug is of adequate size, your eye will fill in the missing patterns.

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