Our Beginner’s Guide to Area Rugs

An area rug is, by definition, a carpet or rug that only covers one portion of a room’s floor. Area rugs are both aesthetic and practical, and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, to fit in almost any home design or space. Rugs help define rooms (and living/conversation spaces within them), create ambiance with their unique colours, materials, and patterns, and even help to absorb sound (not to mention that they provide cushion and grip, 2 qualities that are especially beneficial to elderly homeowners and children).

Rugs offer a unique opportunity to complete the look of any space (living room, dining room, bedroom, playroom, office…) by adding texture, colour, warmth, and variety. Sometimes a rug is the perfect accent piece or neutral, while other times it can be a bold statement that draws together the other elements of the room!

In this post, we’ll go over a few area rug basics so you know what to look for, and how to structure your room around your next (or maybe first!) area rug. Want to know more or talk through what’s right for your own home? Scroll to the bottom of this post to connect with our very own design consultant, Karen!

Rug sizing

Here are the top advantages of each of the top 3 standard rug sizes, and some associated design tips:

5′ x 8′ area Rugs

  • Compact but noteworthy – great for smaller spaces.
  • Arrange your furniture pieces around 1-2 sides of the perimeter of this rug.
  • Consider using width-wise at (or under) the foot-board of a twin or double bed.

8′ x 11′ area Rugs

  • Can be used to create a grouping of furniture by placing the front legs on the rug.
  • It can be used width-wise under the foot-board of a queen or king bed.

9′ x 12′ area Rugs

  • Great for large open-concept rooms.
  • Able to draw together elements that may be spread out or varied in texture and colour.
  • Place all legs of the furniture on top of the rug to add definition to your living space.


Bellamy bedroom set from Magnussen with area rug


Dining Room Decor

If using an area rug in a dining room, make sure the carpet extends at least 24″ past the table, and prioritize rugs made of durable (cleanable) fibers. Polypropylene and Polyester are man-made fibers that are stain resistant. Wool is also durable, and it contains a natural oil (lanolin) to give it stain resistance.

Wesling Dining Bench with area rugWesling Dining Bench with area rug

Area Rug Maintenance

For most area rugs, we recommend using an underpad as a base for your rug – it protects your floor, gives longevity to the area rug, and provides an anti-slip layer for added safety. The added bonus of this is less rug shifting, and therefore less adjusting and fixing required throughout the week to maintain your desired room design.

When you purchase a rug (or really carpet of any kind), ask about cleaning instructions. Some materials will require unique treatment or professional cleaning, but there are some easy ways you can help extend the life of your rug at home:

  • Be sure to vacuum regularly and clean spills immediately by blotting affected area with a sponge or damp cloth.
  • Rotate your rug at least once each year, or twice if the rug is in a high traffic location. All rugs, even those that are well constructed and dense, will begin to show consistently traveled traffic patterns. Spreading foot traffic out over the whole rug evenly will allow the rug to wear more evenly, and therefore extend its usable life.

Some Showroom Favourites

We have a number of rugs on display in our showroom right now, from design & manufacturing companies Renwil, Kalora, and Rugs Beyond. One of our favourite rugs is Monastery by Renwil (an organization based in Quebec that specializes in contemporary and eclectic art for the home). It is a perfect fit for a transitional room, with understated tones of gray and cream, and a subtle, but contemporary, geometric pattern.

For more product angles and details, view this video.

Another favourite is Sidra by Kalora. This classic rug uses a fabulous combination of both muted and vibrant shades of cream, rust, navy, and grey. The muted traditional pattern has a tastefully weathered look to it. The rug would be right at home in a traditional or contemporary room depending on the other accent pieces incorporated.

Your Own Perfect Rug

Looking for a little extra support when it comes to picking out the perfect rug for your space? Karen, the designer behind this post, would love to meet you and explore the possibilities for the size, shape, and style of your home decor! Click here to set up your free consultation. Let her know you read this post!