Choosing a rug is a lot like choosing the right jacket: the right one can instantly pull a look together. And like a jacket, the key lies in the fit. A rug that’s too small can feel awkward, making a room look bare or even presenting a tripping hazard. If it’s too large, however, it throws off the proportions of a room. Don’t even think of buying a new rug without considering these five important tips.

Feeling up to the challenge? Start shopping for rugs on Sotheby’s Home.

1. Measure, measure, measure

Nothing is worse than finding that perfect rug, then realizing that it’s way too small (or too big) for your room. The first step for successful rug shopping is knowing the size you’re looking for. And you’ll judge that by your furniture layout, not necessarily your room. The ideal size for a living room grouping allows for the sofa (and any accent chairs) to always have at least two legs on the carpet, or all legs when it’s an open seating area. In a dining room, the rule is that your dining chairs will still be on the rug if you pull them out to sit.
Designer Tip: It’s always helpful to measure out rug sizes on the floor with painter’s tape to get a sense of what will look best in your space.
Quick Fix: Solo Rugs Vibrance Rug 12’2″ x 15’1″

Photo by Robert Granoff
2. Choose colors and patterns that fit your lifestyle

For most of us, rugs in neutral hues are a safe bet. But if you’ve got kids, or are frequently entertaining guests, consider darker hues that will stand up to wear and tear. Consider how much traffic a room will get, whether food will be served in that room and how family-friendly you need your rug to be. Think about how much attention you want to bring to the rug with color and pattern, or if you would rather have it fade into the background.
Designer Tip: Rugs with patterns and multiple colors are much better at hiding stains.
Quick Fix: Holland & Sherry Santorini Brown Rug 10′ x 13’8″

Interior by LG Interiors | Melissa Lewis and Cari Giannoulias
3. Never underestimate the power of a statement rug

Though practicality is an important consideration, don’t overthink it. Rugs are one of the easiest pieces to swap out in a room, so picking a bolder pattern or saturated color doesn’t run the risk of remorse the same way a custom upholstered piece in a head-turning motif might.
Designer Tip: If you fall in love with a particular rug, go for it. Just like a painting or gorgeous antique, find a rug that captivates you and it will be with you for years to come.
Quick Fix: Hutton Wilkinson for Schumacher Hand-Tufted Malachite Rug 6′ x 9′

Interior by Kyle Bunting Rugs
4. Consider the shape of your space and rug

A rectangle is the most common shape for a rug, but a square or circular rug might be just right for your furniture arrangement. A round rug looks perfect underneath a round table. It also brings a refreshingly unexpected element to a room, particularly if it’s an open concept. An asymmetrical rug can be an incredible focal point in a modern space, or an oval rug might be lovely in a dining room to add some pretty curves around a rectangular table.
Designer Tip: Some room sizes or layouts just don’t work with standard-sized rugs. If you are having a tough time finding the right size, look for antique rugs that come in unusual sizes and shapes.
Quick Fix: Charlap Hyman & Herrero for Schumacher Caiman Handwoven Rug 3’5″ x 9’5″

Interior by Michelle Williams
5. Materials matter

We love a good dimensional rug, but longer fibers and details demand a setting where they can be admired and protected. And that sisal rug? A great option for achieving a beachy look, but maybe not the best fit for pet owners. Be sure to research the materials used to make your rug before purchasing it. A silk or viscose rug is lovely, but much better for a low traffic space because of the delicate fibers. A wool rug is sturdy and wool/polyester blends can take a lot of abuse, so choose your materials wisely and carefully.
Designer Tip: Consider pre-treating your rugs to ward off stains, or research what cleaning supplies you’ll need on hand if a guest spills a glass of red wine. Better safe than sorry.
Quick Fix: Mansour Hand-Knotted Tabriz Rug 6’2″ x 9′

Interior by Woodson Rummerfields

It’s no wonder that many of us put off choosing an area rug – it’s no easy feat! But if you consider these five tips at the beginning of your search, you’ll end up with a rug that is beautiful and fits your style.

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