Area Rugs 101

I like to think that a good rug is the “base” of any room. It anchors your space and can bring in elements such as a neutral texture , a soft wool for your feet or a dramatic pattern like in a kilim or oushak. Choosing the right rug can be quite a task not only from an aesthetic perspective but also from a price point concern - especially for large rugs. But, once you nail that perfect one…. your whole room will seem to come together. Here are my “Rug 101” tips for choosing the right rug without the stress.

Rugs 101 - Sarah Catherine Design

1. Choose Your Type

First, decide what kind of look and function you are going for before you do anything else. Are you wanting a natural texture? Or a wool cut pile or flat weave with a pattern? Or an oriental or oushak, and if so, what colors are you looking to bring out in your space? I recommend natural rugs for really large areas… they can cover a large space really well without being too distracting and can easily be layered (see below) to create smaller zones. Wool cut pile or flat weaves work the best for spaces where you want something soft and durable (i.e. family rooms, bedrooms, hallways. I love an oushak in more dressy spaces or a room that you want to make a statement in!

Rugs 101 - Sarah Catherine Design

2. Measure your space and then block out the rug size

Measuring for a rug size can be nerve wracking. A good rule of thumb in a small-to-average size room is to come in from the wall on all sides between 9”-15” inches depending on the room size and your preference (and floor vents - see below). In larger rooms, I suggest thinking about your furniture as a “zone” and anchoring the furniture within the rug. Sometimes you can let an occasional chair leg or the back legs of the sofa hang off a bit but PLEASE do not get a 5x7’ rug that goes in front of the furniture and just covers the space beneath the coffee table. If you do this - I will tell Santa.

Once you determine the rough size of your rug- block it out. Put a shoe or a book or something in all “corners” of where the rug will fall and see if it feels too big or small to you.

Rugs 101 - Sarah Catherine Design

3. Watch out for Floor Vents!

This one seems pretty self explanatory… but I can’t tell you how often I mention this to a client when we are measuring the size of a room and they look at me as though I have just revealed some ancient secret to life. Ha! DON’T COVER YOUR FLOOR VENTS - we live in 2019 and indoor heating and air conditioning are your friends.

See how we measured far enough out to miss the vent in this bedroom? You can go by my ‘rules of thumb” above most of the time but if your vent comes out 20” from the wall then you will need to adjust your measurements accordingly. Most often, though, vents will be nested pretty close to the wall - or in the ceiling which is even better!

Rugs 101 - Sarah Catherine Design

4. Layer rugs in a large space

This is one of my favorite looks!!! When you have a really large space to cover with a rug… try layering them! Use a natural rug like jute or sisal to cover the main bulk of the space and then use a patterned flat weave, oushak, oriental or cowhide layered over the natural rug to create a more intimate, smaller zone to center the furniture on. It will accomplish your need to cover your large space, but also create more of a smaller seating area at the same time so you don’t get lost in a sea of natural fibers!

Rugs 101 - Sarah Catherine Design