A rug is a perfect way to define a space, add warmth and tie a colour scheme together. However, there are some important questions all designers ask themselves when planning to place furniture on a rug. Do you arrange the furniture around the rug to frame it? Or ensure all pieces are placed within its boundaries? Here are some simple rules that are worth remembering no matter what shape the rug.
How best to arrange furniture around rugs
Make your furniture and flooring work together with these simple rules for laying out a room to complement any shape of rug.
Furniture arrangement for round rugs
Round rugs are great fun. They are an effective way to add interest to boxy rooms and to break up straight lines. In the bedroom, a round rug can either slide under part of the bed or act as a focus independent of any furniture at all.
Depending on the size of the room, there are a few different ways you can incorporate a round rug. If you have the floor space, place the rugs randomly on the floor (or allow them to 'float'). This will help visually balance the mass of the bed. A few smaller round rugs can also act as stepping stones on which to cross the room to the bed, as seen here.
In bedrooms with less space, I always find that placing a large, round rug under the bed works if the rug is a little off-centre (but do make sure there is some rug available to step out onto when getting out of bed). It's best to tuck as little as possible of the rug under the bed, but if there appears to be too much of the rug showing, simply creep some of it under the bed until the room feels visually balanced.
It's always best to place a dining set in the centre of a round rug whether or not the table is round, oval, square or rectangular. You'll need a rug much larger than the whole set to ensure the chairs don't 'fall off' the rug's edge as they are pulled out so someone can sit down.
In a small living room, tuck the rug under the middle of the sofa to anchor it to the room, or if it's a large space, let the rug 'float' in a central space between sofas and armchairs, anchoring it with a coffee table to ensure visual harmony and connection.
Furniture arrangement for rectangular or square rugs
By far the most common shape of rug is the rectangle or square, for the obvious reason they fit the shape of most rooms. Before arranging your furniture, it’s important to get the right size rug for the room. A very small rug in a large room will look lost while an overly large rug will poorly imitate wall-to-wall carpet.
When placing furniture on rectangular or square rugs, there is a simple rule that designers follow to ensure the furniture feels well located and anchored to the rug and space. It's the 'four-two-none' rule. Either you have four legs on the rug, two legs, or none. Never put three legs on the carpet, and never one – as it can look as if the piece of furniture is 'falling' off the rug.
This room has successfully employed the 'none' rule. Although the rug is a good size, the furniture sits around its border, not touching it. Consequently, the rug does not feel lost in the room but looks artfully framed.
Following the 'four' rule, all of the furniture is on the rug in this living room. The rug helps to define the lounge area, and by having the furniture fully on the rug, it also creates a zone within the living room, thereby separating it from other areas.
Photo by Arent & Pyke
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In this room, the arrangement of furniture follows the 'two' rule – there are only two legs of the sofa on the rug to anchor it in the room. The success of this look is achieved by how the scale of the sofa complements the size of the rug. Visually, both pieces are balanced, which is important to consider when attempting the 'two' rule, because if you place two legs of an over-scaled sofa on a smaller rug, the sofa will appear to be 'eating' the rug.