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“A little to the left. Now over to the right. Back a bit more. Stop!” You’d think something as straightforward as a rectangular rug could go anywhere, but there is such a thing as the sweet spot. Scoot it too close to one wall and it will make the other half of the room look cold and empty. Give it too much breathing room from other furniture and your space will always seem somewhat incomplete. So what exactly is the perfect placement? Depending on the type of room you’re decorating and the size of the rug you’re working with, there are a few go-to methods designers swear by. Here are nine key rules to follow for a solid foundation.

The Bedroom

Option One

If you like the feeling of wall-to-wall carpeting but aren’t ready to make the commitment, consider a rug that only leaves a small perimeter (18 inches or so) of exposed floor space around the edges. Then move all of your furniture, including any side tables, on top of the surface. 

Option Two

An 8-by-10 rug looks best halfway underneath the frame so it almost extends to meet the edges of any nightstands. This way you can still see the design peeking out at the foot of the bed while creating a sense of balance.

Photography by Cody Guilfoyle

Option Three

Decorating your space on a budget? Put a tiny 2-by-3 on either side of the frame (or just on one side of the bed if it’s off-center or against a wall).

The Kitchen

Option One

Pull cues from any built-ins in the room and let those dimensions determine the size and location of your rug. In this space a long rectangular pick follows the lines of an L-shaped bench, defining the dining area from the rest of the kitchen. 

Option Two

A runner adds a layer of warmth to hardwood floors and cool stone countertops. Place yours along the longest walkway (just be sure that it doesn’t extend past the cabinetry or else it won’t look so streamlined).

The Living Room

Option One

For a more casual setup, place the two front legs of the sofa and any armchairs in the space on the rug. This will tie all the pieces in the room together into one cohesive floor plan.

Photography by Brittany Ambridge

Option Two

You can also opt for all the legs on the rug—a small tweak that instantly makes a room feel more formal and put-together. 

The Dining Room 

Option One

Mismatched shapes will throw your eye off, so if you’ve got a round dining table, stick to a curved rug with a slightly larger circumference. 

Option Two

The two-legs-on, two-legs-off rule doesn’t apply here. There’s nothing worse than snagging your chair on the edge of the rug when you’re trying to get up, so ensure that all the seats fit comfortably within the perimeter (leave about 8 inches of space on each side). Guests will be floored by your design savviness. 

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