Rug Rules – what works best?

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If you are working with a rectangle or square rug there are a few optional visual rules that can make your rug sit better with your furniture and your room.

However at the end of the day just do what you think looks best. Cowhide rugs break all the normal rules of rug placement.

Rule A) All furniture on the rug.

If the room is very large and open plan, perhaps a joint lounge, dining room and kitchen area then try using the rug to map out specific spaces within the larger space.

For example define the living room seating area with a large rug that can fit the grouping of all your sofas, arm chairs and the coffee table with at least a 50cm border behind all the main furniture so that the rug has “breathing space” within the space.

This works really nicely if there is a fireplace on one of the walls defining this space. However if you live in a warehouse type home this lounge space may well be right in the middle of this large room and away from any walls or windows.

I love the idea of a winter lounge and summer lounge setting. Perhaps the fireplace is the winter focus and windows to a garden is the summer focus.

A rug can look wonderful under a dining table but remember that you need at least 70 centimetre clearance from the table edge to the edge of the rug so that the table and chairs look balanced and there is room for people to pull out a chair to sit on without it falling off the rug.

Two different large rugs with two groups of furniture in the same space can work very well if done right. The rugs do not need to match.

Rule B) All furniture off the rug.

If the living room is on the medium to small side then you can make the room feel larger by having all the seating like sofas and armchairs off the rug so the rug creates a reverse border framing the inside of the furniture grouping.

The only piece of furniture allowed on the rug when you use this rule is a coffee table. It is important that the rug is the right size and proportion to your sofas. Generally a little larger than the furniture footprint looks about right.

Rule C) Furniture half on and half off the rug.

This rule needs to be used with caution. I really does depends on the type of seated furniture you own so whatever feels visually right will be the right answer in this situation.

I tend to like a rug exactly half way under a sofa, not almost all the way under or only a few centimetres under because that looks silly and out of balance.

Rule D) Cowhide rugs break all the rules

It is true! Because cowhide rugs are a curvy organic shape they really don’t comply with the standard rug rules. I’ve found that a cow skin will visually take up more space than they physically cover, so you will not need a cowhide rug as large as the rectangle or square rug that you are replacing.

What I think happens is that our brain fills in the gaps between the wavy edges and the overall impression is that a cowhide rug fills a space better. Try to position a cowhide rug on a 45 degree angle to furniture – this works much better than trying to line a cowhide rug up with the straight edge of a sofa.

A cowhide rug on an angle will lead people into the seating arrangement and feel more inviting. It is perfectly acceptable for some of the cowhide rug to be under some of the furniture.

When it comes to coffee tables a cowhide rug doesn’t even need to be directly under your coffee table, it is OK for only some of the rug to touch and anchor the coffee table. Be brave, have fun and experiment.

How to position a cowhide rugby Kirsty Mason from Gorgeous Creatures.

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