Complete your space by placing the right size rug in the right spot.

By Blythe Copeland
April 13, 2021
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Adding an area rug to your bedroom can distinguish one part of the space from another, but figuring out where to place these textiles can be tricky. Proper rug placement can enhance the room's coziness and add an element of interest to an otherwise subdued color palette, and with off-the-rack, custom, and vintage rugs available in nearly any size you could want, you can always find one that's the proper fit for your space. "The 'right' sized rug for your bedroom can really make or break the room, but there are no fixed rules when it comes to rug selection," says interior designer Kati Curtis of Kati Curtis Design. "Think of your rugs as a functional piece of art—something that you want to enjoy, but that also is comfortable and useful—and you can't go wrong!" Consider the size and layout of the rest of your room to narrow down the rug dimensions that will have the biggest impact.

rustic calm toned bedroom set
Credit: Julie Soefer

Under the Bed

The most common spot for an area rug in the bedroom is under the bed, where it anchors the room's largest piece of furniture. If you have nightstands flanking the bed, decide whether you want the rug to go underneath them—all the way to the headboard—or stop before the nightstands' front legs. "Running the rug to the end of your headboard allows for the rug to be underfoot when you get out of bed, instantly creating a sense of cozy. This is a great way to start any morning and a soft end to every evening," says James Seuss, CEO of The Rug Company. "Placing the rug underneath the bed but stopping short of bedside tables helps add soft layering to any space. With this layout, it's best to display the rug perpendicular to the bed frame so there is plenty of comfort on each side and foot of your bed."

For a king-size bed—with a mattress that's slightly bigger than 6-by-6-foot—keep your rug larger than 12 feet by 9 feet. "Anything smaller will be too narrow," says Seuss. Curtis recommends a 12-by-15-foot rug under a king-size bed, decreasing the size for smaller mattresses. "For under a queen-sized bed I'd look for at least 9 to 10 feet wide so you have plenty of rug to step out of the bed onto," she says. "I do like rugs that clear the edge of the nightstands next to the bed, but if you find one that you love that's a little too big, I don't mind if the nightstands overlap a bit. Just make sure you have furniture pads to level the backs of the nightstands."

Next to the Bed

If you don't want to invest in a rug that will be almost entirely hidden by your bed, runners along each side of your bed is another option. "If you can't afford the right sized rug for your room, then opt for two smaller sized rugs on either side of the bed," says Curtis. "At least you'll get to enjoy the beauty of them, and they will also be soft on your feet when you get out of bed." The length and width of the rugs depend on how much space you have; opt for longer runners that line the full length of your bed, or smaller accent rugs that offer a warm landing spot for cold feet in the morning. "Often, it's best to order a custom-length runner so that it fits the space precisely and has natural starting and finishing points," says Seuss. "A bigger rug is always better!"

Throughout the Room

The other furniture in your room—including dressers and seating areas—can also influence the size and placement of your rug. "If the rug goes halfway under your dresser that's ideal—if it clears it all the way, it might be too small for the room," says Curtis. A reading nook or corner desk should also have its own rug, says Seuss. "As a general rule, any seating area needs a rug to make it feel complete," he says. "If a rug is too small, it tends to appear lost in the room. A rug with a large enough footprint will allow your furniture to sit well within its dimensions and not feel as though your pieces are perched on the edge of the rug. Allow a more generous size rug to flow beyond the depth of your furniture."

While you're shopping, be sure not to let yourself get too caught up in the rug's precise dimensions, instructs Curtis: A piece that's too exacting takes away from the personality of your space. "Rugs that are vintage or not quite totally perfect give a room more character and style," she says. "Hand-knotted rugs would never exactly fit a room and this is what's so great about using vintage and antique rugs, or even a rug that was in your family for generations. We can make it work."

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