How to Buy a Rug Like a Boss

One of the most popular questions we get asked during our consultations is how to buy a rug. There are many things we pay attention to and today we're sharing the factors we consider when we're shopping for one of the largest pieces in any room!

Our first rule: SIZE MATTERS.

Photo by Madeline Harper Photography

Don't let anyone tell you any different. Typical rug sizes are 8' x 10' and 9' x 12', up to 10' x 14'. Any bigger and you'll most likely require a custom size (which of course adds to your budget bottom line $$$).


A rug that is too small will throw off even the most gorgeous of rooms, so don't skimp on size! One quick way to judge the smallest size for scale is to place furniture in your space then measure so that at least the two front feet of your big furniture (ie sofa and chairs) will sit on the rug. If your room is larger, you can choose to place all four legs of your sofa, chairs, and tables on top.

Photo by French Blue Photography


In your dining room you'll want to choose a rug that fits all legs on deck, meaning all legs of your dining table (including any extension leaves) and chairs, PLUS you'll want to make sure they're still all on the rug when the chairs are pulled out for access. Translation: add 2 feet to your measurement between the back of the chairs and the edge of the rug.

Photo by French Blue Photography


In your bedroom, the choice is really yours...there are lots of layouts and sizes to choose from. Whether you want all legs of the furniture on top, float the rug right in front of the nightstands, or two smaller rugs flanking each side of the bed...the options are endless. We tend to use a 9' x 12' or 10' x 14' for a king sized bed, and 8' x 10' or 9' x 12' for a queen sized bed.

Photo by French Blue Photography


Runners are great for these areas, and widths and lengths can vary widely in this category. We like to center these in the space, making sure to frame any doorway as necessary. 2' to 3' is a typical width that works for most kitchens and hallways, but you can always go custom like the photo above if the space warrants it. Always let your space tell you what it needs!

Photo by French Blue Photography

Photo by French Blue Photography


We always recommend checking labels when shopping for rugs. When we see the words VISCOSE, RAYON, and even SILK, we steer clear. These materials add softness and shimmer, but in our experience they are not durable so we pass very quickly...beautiful yes, practical no. What materials do we gravitate towards? POLYPROPYLENE, POLYESTER, and WOOL are our favorite options, and we always advise to check cleaning recommendations and reviews before you buy any rug out there. Tip: Buying a larger rug and in doubt as to coloring or stain resistance? Try consider ordering the smallest size possible (like a 2 x 3) to test it out in your space before buying a bigger size that you might not be able to return or may have to pay $$ for return shipping.

Photo by French Blue Photography


Rugs pads not only add pep to your step by offering another layer of cushion under your feet (and rug), but it also prevents the rug from sliding around and can protect hardwood floors underneath. Felt pads have more cushion than mesh rubber pads, and won't have an issue with discoloring hardwood floors. It may sound like a luxury, but you definitely don't want someone catching the corner of a rug and slipping or falling!

Do you have any other questions about rugs? Leave a comment below and we'll help out if we can!

Nancy Lane Interiors is a residential interior design firm in Houston, TX. We specialize in helping busy families and professionals solve their design dilemmas. Our client-centric systems and design services work to translate who you are, what you love, and how you live as we transform your home so you can love where you live. 
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