Rug Renewal

How to brighten a room with new floor cover


The size of your rug depends on the proportions of the room and how you plan to live in it. Courtesy Room & Board

Looking for a quick way to change up a room? A new rug—whether it’s traditional, modern or bright and bold—can redefine a space in a snap. But with so many options, choosing the perfect style can be daunting.

“One of the main things we get questions about in our store is what rug size is appropriate for different rooms, whether it’s the living room, dining room or bedroom,” says Sarah Baumbach, visual associate at Room & Board in Cherry Creek North. “If you look through design magazines, you’ll see that rugs are done a lot of different ways, which can make rug shopping tricky for people, especially because a rug is usually a big investment.”


  • FOR AN EMPTY ROOM, START WITH THE RUG. “If you are just starting to design a room, and have not yet bought any furniture, consider buying the rug first. Many designers advise always starting with the rug, because it can be challenging to find a rug if it is the last piece you choose for a room.”
  • CONSIDER USAGE. Think about not only how you are going to use the room—Will you be eating in there? Will kids want to hang out on the floor?—but also the scale and proportion of the room and the furniture in it.
  • THINK UNITY. “If it’s a family room or a formal living space, a rug can be a great way to anchor all of the furniture together by placing all four feet of the sofas and chairs on the rug to make the space feel cohesive. It’s hard to give an exact formula for every situation, but for a rug that is going to take up much of the room, try to have a 12- to 18-inch perimeter of floor space around it.”
  • PLAY WITH AN OPEN CONCEPT. “With so many open-concept designs in homes now, where a room is not necessarily defined by four walls, you can use a rug to create a room; choose one that is longer than your sofa but not so huge that it overwhelms the space.”
  • KEEP THE RUGS YOU LOVE. “If you have a really small rug that you absolutely love, like a cowhide or an antique rug, consider getting another solid rug that feels a little more substantial and will cover more space; then layer the special rug on top of it.”
  • BE MINDFUL OF PATTERNS. “If you have drapery with a medium-scale print or pattern on it, or you have throw pillows on the sofa with a really small-scale pattern, you might want to pick a rug with a much larger-scale pattern. If you pick a solid rug, make sure it contrasts somehow with the sofa, chairs or accent pillows.”
  • CONSIDER TEXTURE. If a pattern, say in an Oriental rug, seems like too much for the room, Baumbach recommends leading with texture. “It’s a modern, timeless aesthetic—you can switch out furniture years later and the rug will still work,” she says.
  • SURROUND A DINING TABLE. “Ideally, if your dining room can accommodate it, the rug should extend about 24 inches on both the sides and ends of the table.” Don’t worry if you add leaves for large holiday gatherings that push the table beyond the parameters of the rug.
  • USE THE TWO-THIRDS RULE IN BEDROOMS. “The way we normally advise doing bedroom rugs is not placing them under the two nightstands but rather placing a rug to cover about two-thirds of the space under the bed and extend out past the footboard a couple of feet. That will allow you to place a bench or stool at the end of the bed, on top of the rug.”

Room & Board
222 Detroit St.

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