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In my decorating travels, I see more small, dinky rugs than I care to admit. It just might be the single biggest decorating problem I encounter. Besides of course the “sea of brown furniture“!
So why is a dinky rug a problem?
Because, well, a too small rug feels choppy and weird.
This is a great example. See this beautifully designed room? The rug is WAY too small – the furniture isn’t “talking” to each other. It’s floating into outer space!
A nice big rug, though, makes a room feel full and rounded out. It feels complete.
See this photo below? The furniture is pulled together, the space is delineated. Your eye is happy.
I was always told that keeping 18″ between the outside edge of a rug and the wall is the perfect size. That is often right, and I tend to keep that rule in mind – but as we all know every room is different and unique and it doesn’t always work that way.
Another good rule of thumb is make sure you can comfortably place your sofa and chairs on the rug. It’s okay if all four legs are on there – it’s okay if one or two legs are on there. No set rule here, just do what looks best:
Don’t despair if the rug you love is too small! You can purchase a sea grass rug for super cheap (I love Pottery Barn, Ballard, Overstock and Gilt for great sea grass rug finds), and then layer your smaller rug over it. I am ALL about the layering -it really works!
It’s a win-win – your space is all filled up and rounded out AND you still get to keep your fabulous original rug…
Here’s a fun Before & After from one of my recent clients:
Can you spot the differences? Well, the answer is “not a whole lot” – but it still looks a lot nicer, right?
This is what I call “Decorating Light” in action – I really try to take what someone already has in their living space and just bump it up a notch.
In this case, I just helped my client Liz add some decorative touches - we swapped out her Persian-style rug for a sea grass rug with a white cowhide layered over it, and we added this gorgeous reclaimed wood table from Etsy.
Oh, and I suggested she add my favorite go-to chrome Chinese Garden Stool, from Amazon.com:
Liz also swapped out the old dark brown drapes she had inherited from the former owner with some beautiful new blue patterned drapes; (you can spot them in the background).
It really only takes a few simple changes to pull a room together and really take it to the next level. Isn’t that nice to know?
Ever since I first laid eyes on Michelle Adams’ living room in an old issue of Domino Magazine, I just knew I would have a red bamboo chair in my life some day:
When I started to decorate my new dining room, I finally decided it was time to scratch that itch and get some red bamboo chairs already.
In general, they are hard to find and so expensive. The Jonathan Adler Chippendale Side Chair, as an example, is $650!
I ended up finding these wonderful chairs on Charlotte & Ivy for much less than that. I love the chair – great lines – but it was driving me crazy. The red just wasn’t VA-VOOM enough!!
So, of course, I spraypainted those suckers. A bright ferrari red.
I got that fabulous “distressed gray washed” pedestal table on sale at Ballard Designs, by the way, and I just love it.
I still need drapes! And should I re-cover those seats??
So much more to do, but I love that this room is finally starting to come together…
I'm a wife and mom of a young (and growing!) family. I believe that by creating a beautiful home, we return to our best selves.
I launched Return To Home Interiors to help busy, overextended professionals and parents who are frustrated that their homes just do not feel finished. Please continue to check back as I add new and exciting details to my site! And thanks for following as I blog about my enthusiasm for down-to-earth, accessible, clever, beautiful, the best-that-you-can-be home decor.