There’s not a room in your home that wouldn’t benefit from an area rug, but they are especially nice in the bedroom. If your room has hard floors, an area rug will help absorb sound, stabilize temperature and make it just a little bit easier to get out of bed on those oh-so-early mornings by giving your feet a soft landing pad. If your bedroom is carpeted, go ahead and layer an area rug right on top. It’s a great way to add extra color, texture, and pattern to the space. Choosing a new rug, however, can be overwhelming. For many people, determining the right size is the most confusing aspect – do you need an 8x10? A 6x9? Should the bed be on the rug or off? Is a small rug ever a good choice? Luckily, answering these questions isn't difficult once you know the basic guidelines.
Where Will You Put the Rug?
The first question to ask yourself is how you are going to use the rug. Typically, area rugs in a bedroom are under the bed. That’s not the only option, however – you might use a rug next to the bed, at the foot of the bed, or, in a large bedroom, to highlight a separate sitting area. You’ll need to know where exactly you want the rug before you can move on to choosing the right size.
General Area Rug Sizing Rules
One common mistake is picking a rug that is too small for its allotted space. For the best look, follow a few general rules:
- In any room, the area rug should not touch the walls. Leave at least five inches between the wall and the edge of the rug, or a minimum of eight inches if the room is large.
- Area rugs should not push up against the edge of the dresser or other large pieces of furniture. Either choose a rug that is large enough to slip underneath the dresser, or small enough so that at least two or three inches of floor shows between the edge of the rug and the edge of the furniture.
- If your bedroom is tiny, don’t think you need an equally tiny rug. Instead, keep the eyes moving with an area rug large enough to fill the entire room, leaving just a couple of inches bare between the rug and the walls.
- If the bedroom or closet door will swing over the rug, check that the bottom edge of the door is high enough to clear the rug without dragging.
Area Rugs Under the Bed
You have two options for positioning a rug underneath the bed: the bed (along with the nightstands) sits entirely on the rug, or the lower two-thirds of the bed sits on the rug, leaving the top of the bed and the nightstands on bare floor. In either case, the rug needs to extend at least twelve inches out from the sides and the bottom of the bed if it’s a twin or full mattress, and at least eighteen inches out from the sides and bottom of a queen or king mattress.
Use the following rough guidelines for a queen or king size bed:
- 9x12 rug to hold the entire bed, the nightstands, and a bench at the foot of the bed.
- 8x10 rug to hold the entire bed, the nightstands, but no bench.
- 8x10 rug to hold the bottom two-thirds of the bed and a bench.
- 6x9 rug to hold the bottom two-thirds of the bed with no bench.
Use the following rough guidelines for a twin or full-size bed:
- 6x9 rug to hold the entire bed, the nightstand, and a bench at the foot of the bed.
- 5x8 rug to hold the bottom two-third of the bed and the nightstands.
- 9x12 rug to hold two twin beds, nightstands, and benches.
Rugs Next to the Bed
If you have beautiful hardwood floors, you might like showing them off but hate the feel of cold floor on your bare feet. In that case, soften the blow with an area rug running along the side of the bed – both sides if your bed is shared with a partner, you want a symmetrical, traditional look, or your bedroom is large. You’ll want the rug to be big enough to fill most of the space, but remember that at least five inches of bare floor should show between the edge of the rug and the edge of the furniture or the wall. Generally, the best choices – depending on the size of the room – are either a runner the same length as your bed, a 2x3 rug in a small space, or a 3x5 rug if you have more room.
Rugs at the Foot of the Bed
You might choose an area rug for the foot of your bed only, or pair it with another rug at the side of the bed. Either way, the same rules apply: the rug should be large enough to fill most of the space, yet small enough to leave several inches of bare floor showing along the wall or the edge of furniture. If you have a bench at the foot of your bed, the rug should be large enough to fully extend underneath the bench, up to the foot of the mattress. In most bedrooms, a 4x6 is a good size.
Separate Sitting Areas
If your bedroom is large enough to hold a separate sitting area, reading nook, desk, or work area, use an area rug to define the space. For the best appearance, choose a rug large enough to hold all the furniture in this zone, but remember that you don’t want the rug to run up against the walls, the other bedroom furniture, or the bed.
Keeping Your Area Rug in Place
While the right area rug can add a huge dose of style and color to your bedroom if that rug slips, slides, or bunches, not only is its appearance spoiled, but it also becomes a tripping hazard.
Sliding or slipping is likeliest to occur when a rug is placed over a hard floor such as wood or laminate. Luckily, this problem is fairly easy to solve; a nonstick, rubbery rug mat placed underneath the rug should keep it in position. The right rug mat is just a few inches smaller than your rug — too small, and the mat won't be able to anchor the rug, too large, and the mat will protrude from the rug's edges.
It's a bit trickier to solve the problem of an area rug bunching on top of carpet, but it can be done. First, anchor at least one edge of the rug with furniture. If bunching is still a problem, try two-sided rug tape strips underneath the problem areas. This will usually keep your rug in place, but if it still bunches or wrinkles, add a nonslip rug mat.
Other Placement of a Bedroom Rug
As the focal point of the room, your bed should also be the base for rug placement. Not only will this further define space, but will also give your feet a soft spot to land each morning.
All Legs on the Rug
This all-inclusive layout extends beyond the bed to its accompanying furniture, like nightstands or a bench—but does not include bedroom pieces along other walls, like dressers. Rule of thumb is to leave around 18-24 inches of space, but not encroach upon any main walkways.
2/3 Bed on the Rug
Frame your bed with this popular option, which doesn't quiet extend up to your nightstands but still allows for 18-24 inches of room on the sides and past the foot of the bed. For a symmetrical finish, an 8x10 rug is best for queen beds and a 9x12 for king.
Runners on Each Side
This flexible choice works for spaces and beds of all sizes—and is a great option if two sides of the bed sit against a wall. Scale matters for this look: The runner shouldn't extend beyond the bed itself, but should be a bit wider than your nightstand.
How to Clean an Bedroom Area Rug
Keep your area rugs looking their best by following these simple tips for basic care, deep cleaning, and stain removal. Plus, learn how to properly treat specific types of area rugs.
Area rugs warm up floors, inject color and pattern into a space, and create zones in your home's living quarters. But along with area rugs comes stains and debris, so it's important to know how to clean an area rug. First, identify your rug's material. This is an important step in prolonging its life, as different materials require unique cleaning methods and materials. Our handy area rug cleaning guide will introduce you to the many types of rugs, and offer tips and instructions for rug cleaning and stain removal.
Size, construction, and material determines the rug cleaning and care routine you'll need to follow. Care for large area rugs as you would wall-to-wall carpet. That means most rugs will benefit from the following care routine:
Vacuum large area rugs to remove dirt
As with carpet, regular vacuuming is the the most important area rug cleaning step you can take. If a rug is reversible, vacuum both sides. This removes grit and grime that can wear out your rug prematurely. Take care to not vacuum any fringe. (Turn off the beater bar when vacuuming a shag rug to prevent tangling the long fibers.)
Brush out pet hair
A vacuum will sometimes leave pet hair behind. Use a stiff brush to remove the hair, brushing in the direction of the nap of the rug.
Turn rugs every year
Foot traffic and sun can put extra stress on area rugs. Turn them once or twice a year to even out the wear.
Shake small area rugs
If the rug is small enough, you can take it outside and shake it or beat it vigorously to remove dirt and grit. Some areas have ordinances about shaking rugs outdoors, so check your local codes.
Special types of rugs require special cleaning care. File away care tags on the rug for easy reference. Pay close attention to recommendations for deep cleaning and using a rug shampooer or a cleaning machine. Follow these tips for taking care of specialty rugs.
Woven or Braided Rugs
Check rugs for stitching breaks before and after cleaning. Check labels to determine whether small braided rugs are washable. If they are, place them in a zippered pillowcase or mesh laundry bag. Wash in cool water on a gentle cycle, rinsing thoroughly. Tumble dry on a low setting.
Place large braided rugs on a vinyl or concrete floor or place an old blanket beneath them. Sponge commercial carpet-cleaning foam over the surface and rub it in according to the product directions. Finish by rinsing or vacuuming. Dry thoroughly before replacing the rug on the floor.
Vacuum a new Oriental rug as you would carpet and wool area rugs. Use special care with delicate vintage or antique rugs. Protect them from the vacuum by placing a piece of nylon screen over the rug and weighting it down with books or bricks. Vacuum over the screen. Or, tie a piece of nylon mesh over the vacuum attachment and change the mesh frequently as dirt accumulates. Have these rugs professionally cleaned once a year. Rotate rugs to ensure even wear; direct exposure to sun will cause fading.
When buying antique rugs, learn as much as you can from the seller about the rug's fiber content and construction. Ask for care tips.
Rugs made from natural fibers like coir, sisal, rush, and grass feature an open weave that allows dirt to sift through to the floor beneath. Vacuum frequently, removing the rug occasionally to vacuum the floor beneath, as well. Many of these rugs are reversible; if so, flip every time you vacuum for even wear.
To clean stains or discolorations on a room-size natural-fiber rug, leave it in place. Protect the floor beneath it with a plastic drop cloth and towel. Scrub the stains with a soft brush dipped in soapy water. Rinse with clear water. Place a towel over the wet area. Blot the cleaned spot as dry as possible. Use a portable fan or hair dryer to speed drying. Move small rugs to a protected table or counter to clean. Water weakens the fibers, so work quickly and dry thoroughly to extend the life of these rugs.
Some natural-fiber rugs are constructed in squares that are sewn together. Buy a few extra squares or a smaller size of the same rug. If a rug square becomes irrevocably stained, clip the threads that hold it in place and replace with a new square. Hand-stitch it in place with heavy-duty carpet thread.
Shake unscented talcum powder on fur, sheepskin, and hair-on hide rugs, and leave for several hours. Brush the talcum powder through the hair, then shake it out. Repeat this process several times, depending on the length of the fur. To clean the back of such a rug, use a clean cotton cloth dipped in lukewarm soapy water. Wipe off any dirt or spills. Rinse with a cloth dipped in clean water and allow to dry completely before putting back in place.
Consult care labels for small rugs to determine whether they should be dry-cleaned, spot-cleaned, or laundered. A dry-cleaning-only label might indicate that a rug is not colorfast. Test before spot-cleaning. When you determine that a rug is washable, machine-wash it on the delicate cycle. To reduce the risk of tangling long fringe, divide the fringe into several hanks and wrap each one with white string. Place the rug in a mesh laundry bag or zippered pillowcase to protect it from the agitator, and wash in cold water on the gentle cycle.
Hang wet rugs over a clothes-drying rack, a slatted picnic table, or several bricks stacked on a porch, patio, or breezeway. Hanging a wet rug over a single clothesline will distort the shape of the rug as it dries. Small rugs made from synthetic fibers similar to carpeting can be laid to dry on a small worktable or counter that is protected by a drop cloth, old sheets, or towels.
Area rugs will benefit from a deep cleaning every 12-18 months. When using commercial cleaning products for the first time, test a small area of the rug to ensure that it is colorfast and not otherwise damaged by the product. To thoroughly clean a large rug, place it on a vinyl or concrete surface and apply carpet-cleaning foam and rub in according to directions. Finish by rinsing or vacuuming. Make sure the rug is dry before replacing it.
Dry-cleaning might also be an option for small- to mid-size rugs—check the labels for care instructions.
Time is of the essence when your rug becomes stained. Remember to blot—not rub— the stain and remove moisture from spills as quickly as possible.
Alcohol and soft drinks: Use a solution of 1 teaspoon liquid dish detergent, 1 quart of warm water, and 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar. Apply to the stain, rinse, then blot dry.
Coffee or tea: Using the detergent mix above, apply to stain, rinse, and blot. If a stain remains, use a commercial spot carpet cleaner.
Fat-based stains: For foods such as butter, margarine, or gravy, use a dry-solvent spot carpet cleaner.
Gum: Peel off what you can, then put ice cubes in a plastic bag and place on top of the remaining gum to harden it. Scrape the gum off with a spoon or dull knife. Vacuum and use a dry-solvent spot cleaner if needed.
Paint: For acrylic and latex paint, while the stain is still wet, spot-clean with the detergent solution. If color remains, dab with rubbing alcohol. For oil-base paint, sponge with odorless mineral spirits, being careful not to soak through to the backing.
Tomato sauce: Sponge with cool water, dab with detergent solution or a citrus-oxygen cleaner. Rinse with a solution of 1 cup white vinegar and 2 cups of water and blot until dry.
Urine, feces, and vomit: Apply detergent solution or a citrus-oxygen cleaner, rinse, and blot until dry.
Melted wax: Use the same treatment as gum, hardening it with ice cubes in a plastic bag and scraping. Dampen a clean white cloth or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and blot to remove any remaining wax.