Whether you’re moving into a new apartment or a new house (congrats!), chances are you’ll be looking for a rug or two to roll out in your new space. We know, we know—rugs come in a dizzying amount of styles, colors, materials, and sizes, and it can be tricky to figure out which one will be the right fit for your space and lifestyle. So, we’re here to help with this handy-dandy guide that answers common questions on how to buy rugs for your new home.
What rooms should I buy rugs for first?
It all depends on which spaces you’ll be using the most within the first few months of moving in. Will you be entertaining soon? Then focus on the living and dining rooms first, and close the doors to any unfinished rooms when guests come over. Do you have a newly walking baby? You might want to put rugs in their bedroom and in living areas where they’ll be the most.
Even if they’re not the right size or look you’re going for, don’t shy away from using rugs you already own while you search for one you really love. And it’s ok to have bare floors for a bit while you decide what you want. Outfitting a new home is expensive, and it’s normal not to have the whole house decorated right when you move in.
I’m buying both new furniture and new rugs. Should I buy one before the other?
There’s no set rule for what you should buy when. If you’re decorating a room completely from scratch, our recommendation is to start by buying a key piece—whether it’s a rug, sofa, dining table, etc.—and then fill everything else in around it.
What size rug should I get?
Again, it depends on a number of factors, like how big the room is, what type of room it is, and what furniture will be in the room. We’ll dive into room-specific advice later, but here are a few general guidelines to keep in mind.
For the most part, the bigger the rug, the better. Rugs that are too small can make your space feel smaller, especially when the rug is “floating” in the room without any furniture on it (or with just one piece of furniture on top, like a coffee table). We recommend buying a rug that’s large enough so that most of the surrounding furniture has all or some legs sitting on it.
If you’re wanting to use a rug that might be too small—maybe you already own it, maybe it fits in perfectly with your decor—consider layering a larger rug underneath to extend coverage (you can read more tips for layering rugs here).
Can’t decide on a size, or stuck between two? Try out our go-to trick: break out the painter’s tape and tape off the rug’s exact dimensions in your space. This will help you envision exactly what the size will look like in your room.
Ok, now break it down for me by room.
The entryway sets the tone for your entire home, so be sure to create a space that feels warm and inviting. You’ll want the rug to be wider than the door and to fill as much of the space as possible, which will make it appear larger and more welcoming. Go for durable materials that can withstand lots of foot traffic, like wool, polypropylene and other synthetics, or jute and other natural fibers.
In terms of size for the dining room, choose a rug that will extend about two feet (or more) beyond each side of your table. This will give diners enough room to slide in and out of their chairs without getting caught on the floor. We suggest going with a material that’s easy to clean if food or drink are spilled, like wool, synthetics, and even outdoor rugs.
We love a kitchen runner! Most of our runners will fit in a standard kitchen galley, but if you need some guidance, we like our runners (or any size rug for the kitchen) to sit about 6 inches away from walls or cabinets on each side. Just like the dining room, stick to materials that are easy to clean, including wool, synthetic, and outdoor rugs.
Living and Family Rooms
Living areas come in all shapes and sizes, and it can be tricky to nail down exactly what material and size of rug to get. Bigger is typically better here, and we usually say to get as large of a rug as your space and budget allow. For full-room rugs, we recommend giving yourself anywhere from one to two feet between the edge of your rug and the walls.
Aside from that, we like to look to furniture layouts to determine rug size and placement. Sofas tend to be the key pieces in living rooms, so try to choose a rug that spans its longest length and extends about half a foot beyond each side, if space allows.
You’ll want to create a comfy, cozy atmosphere in your bedroom, so like in the living room, we suggest getting as large of a rug as you can for this space. Whether the rug takes up the entire room or is the size of your bed, be sure to place it so it extends beyond the bed (instead of hiding under it) so you can see and feel your beautiful new rug.
For materials, this is the time to have more plush, delicate rugs since you’ll have less foot traffic and often be barefoot in the bedroom. All materials are fair game, but wool, silk, and shag rugs will be the softest under your feet.
Just like in kitchens, we like our hallway rugs and runners to sit about six inches away from walls on each side. Be sure to take into account features your runner might cover up or block, like floor vents or a doorway that might be difficult to open with a thick rug. Durable materials are best for high-traffic hallways, like wool, synthetics, and jute.
What if my new home is open-concept?
The key to nailing the open concept look is to delineate spaces within a larger room to make each feel like a separate room. In terms of rugs, you’ve got a couple options. You can roll out two rugs to create your separate areas, or you can go with an XL rug that spans the entire space and use smaller rugs layered on top to carve out those individual spaces.
Can I put a rug over the carpet?
Absolutely! So many homes have carpet installed, and we see people do this all the time. We love it as a budget-friendly solution to cover up existing carpet you’re not crazy about, or a quick fix to cover carpet you know you’ll eventually want to replace. We recommend using carpet tape to keep the rug in place. Note that rugs will lie smoother on carpet with a lower pile, although it works on medium-pile carpet, too.
Do I need a rug pad?
From the largest sizes to the smallest of styles, from rugs with furniture on top to those with nothing on them at all, every rug needs a rug pad. Rugs pads are important for two key reasons: they protect both your rug and your floors from heavy furniture and foot traffic, and they keep rugs securely in place.