The Ultimate Guide to Rugs

Rugs, rugs, rugs!

Not only can they bring colour, pattern, and texture into your space, but they can also add character and cosiness - after all, nothing quite beats curling up with a soft fluffy rug in between your toes.

One of the hardest decisions is choosing the most appropriate rug for your space, where to place it and how to style it within your home. But, with our wealth of knowledge and years of experience measuring up spaces, we’ve outlined and shared our ultimate rules of thumb when it comes to rugs.

Photo source: Scandiborn

How to Select:

Whether you want your rug to take centre stage, or you want to create a neutral base for your floor space, choosing the perfect rug is pivotal. Additionally, ensuring that you’ve chosen the perfect rug can be an intimidating process, below we share a few tips to help you prior to selecting your rug.

Get out the tape measure:

Before you go rug shopping, ensure that you have measured meticulously! Purchasing the wrong size rug for your space can be a costly mistake. Having the correct size rug could potentially live within your space for many years to come but having the incorrect size rug can serve as a daily reminder of money wasted. When in doubt, always size up, this will allow you to have more space to work with as opposed to having a smaller rug which can look overcrowded and cramped.

Know your materials:

There are many rug material choices on the market, all with various properties. Ahead of sourcing your favourite, first ask yourself what everyday life is like within the room in question. This will help to eliminate any inappropriate materials.

If you’re looking for a long-term investment, wool rugs may be your best option, as they are hard wearing, dirt-resistant and can provide great sound and heat insulation.

When working within a high-traffic area, natural fibre rugs such as sisal are a great option as dirt does not appear easily and they are also sustainable.

If you’re working with a tighter budget, synthetic rugs such as polypropylene is a cost-effective option, that also carries stain resistant qualities and is low maintenance.

Photo source: HomeBunch

Style and colour:

In terms of style and colour, a great starting point is to always go with your genuine instinct about a design. You may love an interior trend today, but will you still be a fan tomorrow? Style is all about expression, therefore you should source a rug which best expresses your character.

The style and colour of your rug can help to define the mood of your room. To create an intimate atmosphere, rich and darker colours work better as opposed to lighter and cooler colours, which can create a larger appearance.

To make an impact in your space, a boldly patterned rug is the ideal option. An elaborate rug works well visually with solid-coloured walls and furniture, as it draws all the attention and gives your space added depth and charisma.

Photo source: Curious Egg

TIP: If rug swatches are available for you to order, always opt for them. Alternatively, when shopping in-store, carry a swatch of your wall colour, cushion/curtain fabric etc. with you. This will allow you to get an idea of how well your potential rug will work within your room.

How to Place:

Rugs are the ultimate style tool that can help to anchor a space, and the placement of your rug can either help or hinder the overall look of your room. Below we’ve outlined the fundamental do’s and don’ts for your rug placement within 3 key areas of your home.

Living Room:

  • DO ensure that the front legs of your furniture pieces are positioned on top of the rug.

  • DO leave an equal amount of space around your furniture, ideally you want around six to eight inches of floor space either side of your rug.

  • DON’T place your rug in the centre of the room away from all of your furniture.

  • DON’T opt for a circular rug. This draws the eye to the centre of the room and can make your living room appear much smaller.

Photo source: Halfway Wholeistic

Dining Room:

  • DO make sure that your dining chairs can fit nicely on top of the rug when under the dining table.

  • DO consider the material of your rug. Food spills and high foot traffic are all factors to consider, therefore you need a rug that will stand up for all its needs.

  • DON’T buy a rug which only just fits underneath your dining table, this creates a squashed and cramped look.

  • DON’T limit your rug shape according to your table shape. Just because your dining table is round, doesn’t mean your rug should be too. You can create a contrast with a rectangular rug which looks equally as good.

Photo source: Citrine Living


  • DO consider layering your bedroom rugs. This can make your bedroom feel much larger and cosier with the additional textures.

  • DO purchase a rug pad/backing for your bedroom rug. Not only can they extend the overall lifespan of your rug, but they also help to keep it firmly in place - you do not want any tripping hazards in your room of rest.

  • DON’T go too small! Preferably, your rug should be placed underneath your bed with at least eight inches extending beyond the sides.

  • DON’T shy away from mixing patterns. Creating an element of visual interest is great to have within your bedroom space. Play around with different pattern scales and proportions.

Photo source: McGee and Co.

How to Layer:

Break up your floor space by layering rugs in your space. Rug layering can really help to define a zone within your space and when executed correctly and flawlessly, they can really help to create a fresh, modern, and rich look.

For example, if the living or dining space of your home is open plan, add definition by placing a large rug where your living/dining zone naturally ends (this would typically be close to where your furniture stops). Then add another slightly smaller rug on top to help draw your eyesight further than the margins of the outer rug.

Photo source: Interior Square

When it comes to layering your rugs, the key is to opt for a rug which is larger and carries more dominance, and a second which is smaller and can act as an accent rug. Layering your rugs in this manner helps to outline any focal points within your space, in addition to allowing you to play around with textured, patterned, and colourful accents.

TIP: Ensure that the colour(s) of your rugs are either within the same tonal family or are complementary of one another. This will aid in creating depth as well as cohesion.

Photo source: Nomadic Decorator

The sky is the limit when layering your rugs. You have the creative freedom to layer one, two, three or even four rugs! Whether you want to make a bold statement in your entrance/hallway or you plan on creating a cosy and inviting nook in your living room, you can brighten and liven up your place with a series of floor coverings.


Still not sure what rugs work best for your home?

Our expert designers are on board to help guide and point you in the right direction. Get in touch with the friendly NUA x DESIGN team here


by Keleisha Simpson

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