Size, material, and color matter most.

Needlegrass Rug by Disc for Marc Phillips
Credit: David Gilbert

Selecting a rug for your family room is arguably one of the most important decisions you'll make for this area. The right choice adds depth and softens a space, inviting people to gather. Because it's a long-term investment, you should also factor in your furniture setup, says Martha Stewart Living home editor Lorna Aragon. "If it's a large room that will be split into a couple of seating arrangements, a few small rugs can help define each one. If you want to unify the room, one large rug will do the trick," she explains. Consider these other details, as well—and then roll out a winner.


To scale your rug to its setting, use your furniture as a guide. Lorna prefers that sofas and chairs at the edges have either all their legs on the rug, or just the front two. The first option is pricier (since you'll need a bigger piece), but it can also help anchor a wide-open space.


Consider the family room's foot traffic—and the types of feet running through it!—before you decide on a final option. If you have young kids or pets, or you entertain often, avoid tough-to-clean shag options in favor of an acrylic-blend performance rug. Fine wool and silk designs better suit low-traffic areas.


If you're looking for a rug you hope to love down the line, stick with a goes-with-everything floor covering; neutral beige and gray are timeless, Lorna says. Searching for a statement-making rug to punch things up? Select a more saturated shade from something already in the room—say, a forest-green pillow. The same goes for patterns: Pick one featuring an existing color in your décor.


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