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How to Design a Room from the Rug Up

A grey couch is in the middle of the living room. There are two floor lamps on either side of the couch. On the left is a blue velvet armchair. On the right is a light brown leather armchair with a white circular ottoman.

Where do I start?

When designing a space, we suggest always working from the ground up. The rug is the foundation for designing your space and every other piece of furniture should build off of it. If you’re unsure about a certain rug, you can always print out a picture first to see if it would be functional in the space you’re designing. 

So how do you pick a rug that works best for your space?


The size of your rug can really make or break the flow of the room. If your rug is too small it can make your room seem like a “magic carpet” floating in the middle of the room. A good rule of thumb is to never use anything smaller than 8x10 as an area rug and to make sure that the front legs of your seating are sitting on top of the rug.


The best type of rug is going to depend on your budget and what your needs are. Hand-knotted rugs are higher quality and can last longer. But if you’re looking for something that is a more budget friendly, power loomed rugs are a great alternative. We also recommend getting a premium felted rug pad to keep the rug from slipping or folding.


Style includes everything from pattern design, texture, aesthetic, color pallet, and so much more. Don’t be afraid to experiment with patterns and textures to create a look that is uniquely yours. 

A brightly lit kitchen with large windows on the back wall and an aisle with cabinets on either side. On the right is a sink and a small plaid area rug that is mostly brown.A naturally lit bathroom with dark cabinetry and a stained glass window in the corner. The sink has silver fixtures and a classic marble countertop with grey striations. There is a small blue grey rug to stand on while washing your hands. The rug has flecks of yellow stripes and yellow flower-like geometric designs.

How do I pick out a rug for a space that’s already been designed?

If you’re looking to refresh your room, don’t be afraid to go big and bold. Your first thought might be to go with a neutral color, but if there is a rug that you really love that doesn’t match your current decor, get it anyway! Getting a non-neutral rug can be a great incentive to phase out your old furniture for something that goes better with the new rug.

The focal point of the room is a large warm toned multicolored geometric shaped rug. On top of the rug is a low white circular coffee table and a large white couch. On the back walls is an ornate gold mirror and a portrait of a woman in a black outline.A spacious powder room with large white countertops and grey cabinets. In the center is a large red rug with yellow and green detailing. On top of the rug is a round footstool and yellow wicker chair.

Looking for a new rug?

Check out our wide selection at

You can also listen to the episode  Starting With The Rug | Space Planning & The Foundation of Your Room on our podcast "Dear Alice" for some more tips and tricks. Available on AppleGoogle, and Spotify. Let us know what your favorite tip is in the comments down below.

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