What is an Area Rug?

An area rug is a piece of fabric used as a floor covering in a specific area.


An area rug is a versatile decorative element that serves both functional and aesthetic purposes in interior design. Unlike wall-to-wall carpeting, area rugs do not cover an entire floor; instead, they are used to define or separate spaces within a room. They come in a wide range of sizes, colors, patterns, and materials, allowing for flexibility in design and the ability to complement various design styles.

Area rugs can add warmth, texture, and color to a room. They help anchor furniture, creating a cohesive look and adding a layer of comfort underfoot. Beyond their decorative value, area rugs also offer practical benefits such as noise reduction, insulation, and protection for underlying floors. In spaces with hardwood, tile, or laminate flooring, an area rug can provide a soft spot to stand or sit and a safe play area for children.

The choice of an area rug can significantly affect the overall ambiance of a space. It can introduce a bold statement, serve as a neutral backdrop, or add a touch of luxury with premium materials like wool or silk. Selecting the right area rug depends not only on personal taste but also on factors such as room size, furniture arrangement, and color and patterns used in the decor.


Area rugs are commonly used in living rooms, bedrooms, dining areas, and home offices. For example, in a living room setting, a large area rug can be placed under the seating area to unify the furniture and enhance the cozy feel of the space. In a bedroom, an area rug might be positioned partially under the bed to provide warmth and comfort underfoot when getting out of bed.


  • How do I choose the right size area rug for my room?

    The ideal size for an area rug depends on the room's dimensions and the furniture arrangement. A common guideline is to choose a rug large enough that all major pieces of furniture can sit on top of it or, at a minimum, have the front legs on the rug. For dining areas, ensure the rug extends beyond the chairs when they're pulled out.

  • Can area rugs be used on top of carpet?

    Yes, area rugs can be placed on top of wall-to-wall carpeting to add pattern, color, or define a specific area within a room. However, it's important to choose a rug with a stable weave to prevent shifting and to use a non-slip pad underneath.

  • How do I maintain an area rug?

    Regular vacuuming is essential to remove dust and debris. Rotate your rug periodically to ensure even wear, and deal with spills immediately to prevent stains. Professional cleaning is recommended for deep cleaning, especially for rugs made of delicate materials.

Practical Application

To effectively incorporate an area rug into your decor, consider the scale of the pattern in relation to the room size and furniture. A large-scale pattern works well in a spacious room, while smaller patterns are better suited for compact spaces. Experiment with layering rugs for added texture or to define multiple areas within a large open-plan space. Lastly, always use a rug pad to enhance safety, prevent slipping, and extend the life of your rug.