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How to Select the Perfect Area Rug For Your Home

November 13, 2019

How to Select the Perfect Area Rug For Your Home


Are you looking for an area rug for your home but not sure where to start? It can be really confusing finding the right size rug, knowing how to place it and making it look great.


Placing area rugs in your home as opposed to wall-to-wall carpeting allows for more flexibility. They are a good choice If you love your hardwood floors but would like to add some warmth and decorative interest. They are also easier to clean and easier to change up if you feel like something new.


Zeina Badwadi is the interior designer at La-Z-Boy Home Furnishings & Decor in Kanata. During her years working for La-Z-Boy, she has helped hundreds of customers design their perfect rooms. 

There are many area rug options available, but which one is right for you? According to Zeina, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing an area rug for your living and dining room.

Key Considerations when Designing a Room With an Area Rug:


In Zeina’s experience, she says, the biggest mistake people make when designing a room is, choosing their paint colour first.


What if you fall in love with a sofa or rug that doesn’t go with your wall colour?


When designing your living room, the area rug should be the first thing you choose. Then build your room around the rug. It’s harder to find a rug that you love after you’ve designed an entire living room, so it’s best to start with the carpet and choose everything else afterwards. 


Always select the paint colour last. You can get any colour under the sun for the walls, not so for the rug or for the larger upholstered furniture pieces. 

How to select the perfect Area rug

Rules of Design


Interior designers follow a rule called the 60-30-10 rule. This means the main design theme should be 60% of the room.  Start with the larger items, a rug, the wallpaper or the couch. The second pattern should be 30% of the room such as the curtains, an accent chair or an accent wall. Finally, the 10% account for your accent colour including things like throws, cushions and artwork. 


Some people do begin designing a room with a beautiful pillow pattern but, it’s best to start with the rug.  Then you can build the rest of the room around the large patterns and colours of the main design theme.

How to select the perfect Area Rug

How to Choose the Right Size Rug for Your Living Room


When choosing the right size area rug for the room, you have to look for two things: the size of the room and the configuration of the furniture.


Sometimes we’re limited on the size of the carpet we can use because the room is small.  Other times it’s big enough, depending on the furniture layout.


The first thing Zeina recommends is to follow the shape of the room. If the room is rectangular, don’t use a square rug. Use a carpet that’s proportional to the room size. If using a rectangular shape rug, place the long side parallel to the long wall of the room.

How to Place Furniture on the Rug


The second tip is to follow the “leg rules” for furniture. When you love your hardwood, you don’t want to cover it all up. 


Three Ways to Position Your Rug:


  1. No furniture legs on the rug.  
  2. Use a rug that’s a bit smaller and has only the front legs of the furniture on the carpet.
  3. All legs on the carpet. Extend the rug underneath all the furniture. 

The option you choose depends on the size of the room. Zeina says that the best leg rule to use in most Ottawa/Kingston homes is all front legs on the carpet. 


When all the furniture has its front legs on the rug, it creates a conversation area. If the carpet is smaller and the legs are off the carpet it makes the room look busier and therefore smaller. If the rug is partially under the furniture the floor appears to expand scale-wise, so it makes the room look bigger. 

How to select the perfect Area Rug
How to select the perfect Area Rug

How to Choose the Right Size Rug for Your Dining Room


The dining room area rug should be large enough for the table and chairs to fit with about 2ft additional around the table. Of course, we’re talking about how the dining room is used daily. We’re not talking about a couple of occasions a year when you have guests and the table is extended.

If the area of the dining room doesn’t allow for the rug to be big enough, it’s better not to have an area rug under the table at all.


When the space is open-concept between the living, dining and kitchen area, sometimes you have limited room. The carpet is nice to have in order to define each zone but to achieve separation, the dining room rug shouldn’t overlap with the other areas.

How to select the perfect Area Rug
How to select the perfect Area Rug

What About the Texture of Your Dining Room Rug?


In the dining room, it’s not only the size that’s important, but the texture of the area rug is important too.

Under the dining table, you always want to place a rug that’s easy to clean especially if you have kids or pets. Think of how often kids spill their breakfast cereal! Wool or cowhide are suitable materials use, but you should avoid viscose* or silk because they don’t do well with liquids. If you spill water on the fibres, the colour changes and may stain the carpet. You can, however, use those kinds of rugs in areas with less traffic.


*viscose made of a rayon fabric

How to select the perfect Area Rug
How to select the perfect Area Rug

Additional Area Rug Considerations


Round Rugs:


Round rugs work in a lot of areas. They can work in any area with a conversational accent piece. For example, in a bay window that’s separate from the living area. A round rug also works well in an entryway and in dining areas with a square or round table. 


A round rug with a round table is much more beautiful than a rectangle rug with a round table. A round carpet works well in any area that has an odd shape. You don’t want too many angles in one small area. The round rug breaks up all the edges.

How to select the perfect Area Rug
How to select the perfect Area Rug
How to select the perfect Area Rug

Layering Rugs:


What if you have a rug you love or inherited, but it’s the wrong size for the room? Zeina recommends layering it with another rug that’s the right size. Place a plain one in the correct size on the floor and add the smaller one that you inherited on the top.

How to select the perfect Area RugA Reminder:

Don’t forget the underpad when purchasing your area rug. An underpad is a layer of sticky/padded material that goes underneath your rug. It is essential as it prevents the rug from sliding around and protects the floor underneath the carpet.


It will also help thicken up thin carpets and prevent the corners from curling up. When people track dirt into your home, the soil gets stuck in the underlay instead of going through the carpet and scratching the floor.


Next Steps


We hope Zeina’s area rug tips have helped you understand your area rug choices.

Did you know that La-Z-Boy sells a multitude of area rugs? Our supplier Surya provides top-quality rugs with many collections to choose from. Our designers can help you choose the perfect rug for your space.


Visit us at one of our local Ottawa and Kingston La-Z-Boy showrooms and we’d be happy to show you our selection of area rugs. If you’d prefer, you can also schedule a visit in advance online.


We know that functionality is essential in building a comfortable life, not just a stylish one. That is why we offer a complimentary in-home design service should you need help designing the room of your dreams! 

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