Using Area Rugs on Hardwood Floors

Using area rugs on hardwood flooring involves more than just placing them randomly on the floor. Here’s a guide on how to effectively use area rugs.

Select the Right Size

The size of your area rug is crucial for both aesthetic and functional reasons. In a living room, for instance, a rug that’s too small can make the room feel disjointed, while one that’s too large can overwhelm the space. Aim for a rug that allows all the furniture in the seating area to sit comfortably on top of it, or at least have the front legs on the rug. In dining areas, ensure the rug extends beyond the edges of the table to accommodate chairs when they are pulled out.

Consider Placement

Where you place your area rug can significantly impact the look and feel of the room. Placing it in the center of a seating area in a living room can help define the space and create a cozy gathering area. In a bedroom, positioning the rug under the bed can anchor the room and provide a soft landing spot for your feet when you wake up in the morning.


Layering rugs is a versatile design technique that adds depth and visual interest to a room. You can layer smaller accent rugs on top of larger area rugs to create contrast or texture. For example, you might place a patterned rug on top of a larger solid-colored rug to add a pop of color and personality to the space.

Create Contrast or Cohesion

The relationship between your area rug and hardwood flooring can influence the overall aesthetic of the room. Choosing a rug that contrasts with the flooring can create a focal point and add visual interest. Alternatively, selecting a rug that complements the flooring can create a harmonious and cohesive look. Consider factors such as color, pattern, and texture when making your selection.

Use Rug Pads

Rug pads are essential for protecting both your area rug and hardwood flooring. They provide cushioning underfoot, making the rug more comfortable to walk on. Additionally, rug pads help prevent the rug from slipping or shifting, which can reduce the risk of accidents and damage to the floor. Be sure to choose a rug pad that is suitable for hardwood flooring and trim it to fit the size of your rug.


Regular maintenance is key to keeping your area rugs looking their best and preserving the quality of your hardwood flooring. Vacuum your rugs regularly to remove dirt, dust, and debris. For deeper cleaning, consider using a carpet cleaner or hiring a professional rug cleaning service. Rotate your rugs periodically to ensure even wear and prevent sun fading on hardwood floors.

Seasonal Changes

Consider changing out your area rugs seasonally to refresh the look of your space and accommodate changes in temperature and lifestyle. In colder months, opt for thicker, cozier rugs that provide warmth and insulation. In warmer months, choose lighter, more breathable rugs that help keep the room feeling cool and airy. Switching out your rugs can also be an opportunity to experiment with different colors, patterns, and textures to suit the season or your evolving design preferences.

Incorporate Texture

Choose area rugs with varying textures to add depth and visual interest to your space. Consider plush, high-pile rugs for a cozy feel in bedrooms or living rooms, and flatweave or sisal rugs for a more casual look in high-traffic areas. Mix and match textures with other decor elements such as pillows, throws, and upholstered furniture to create a tactile and inviting environment.

Define Traffic Flow

Use area rugs to establish pathways and guide traffic flow through open-concept spaces or rooms with multiple entrances. Place rugs strategically along main walkways and transitions between different functional areas to delineate boundaries and create a sense of organization. Choose durable, low-pile rugs for high-traffic areas to withstand heavy foot traffic and maintain their appearance over time.

Experiment with Shapes

Think beyond traditional rectangular rugs and consider using rugs in different shapes, such as round, square, or even irregular shapes, to add visual intrigue to your space. Use round rugs to soften sharp corners or create a focal point in seating areas, or opt for a square rug to complement the geometric lines of modern furniture. Mix and match rug shapes within a room to create contrast and balance, or use rugs with unconventional shapes to make a bold statement in your decor scheme.

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