Design Tips for Carpet and Rugs
05/03 Design Tips

Design Tips for Carpet and Rugs

We've teamed up with The Carpet and Rug Institute to answer all your questions about carpet and rugs! 

You might recognize this space! Today we’re at the Midway Project and we’re talking about floors. It’s a topic we get a lot of questions about; questions about how to choose carpet and rugs, how far your rug should be from the wall, if you can layer a rug on wall-to-wall carpet, layer rugs together, and if all furniture legs need to be on the rug. We teamed up with the Carpet & Rug Institute to answer a few of your most frequently asked questions about carpet and rugs.

Go with low-pile wall-to-wall carpet


Let’s talk about carpet. I like to use wall-to-wall carpet in bedroom areas and cozy lounge spaces. For me a low-pile berber or a low-pile shag is the way to go, because they’re styles that span the test of time and they go with different styles of furniture. Another reason I like to use a low-pile carpet, is it makes it easy to layer a rug on top. I like to do this in the bedroom because it’s nice to anchor the space, ground the room, and add a little bit of color.

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Carpet bedroom and lounge areas

Plus, if you have kids, wall-to- wall carpet makes it a great, healthy, cozy spot to run around on, and they can crawl and jump around with a soft place to land. Carpet also improves the acoustics of a room and reduces noise. I also love to wake up with soft carpet under my feet.  As a bonus, the Carpet & Rug Institute also let us know that it keeps allergens out of the air!

Anchor the space with a rug

On the first floor of the Midway House, there are hardwood floors everywhere and we needed to make the entry space feel inviting and warm. We used a rug to ground the space, and if we didn’t use a rug everything would feel like it was floating! The rug really helps designates a really great entry area.

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Put two feet of furniture on the rug

"How many furniture legs do you put on a rug?", is a question we get asked all the time! The traditional way is to put all four furniture legs on the rug but I prefer just to put the front two legs. If you don’t put any furniture legs on the rug it makes the room feel really disconnected.

Place rug 12-18 inches away from the wall


Let’s talk about spacing for a second. We follow a 12-18 inch rule. That allows us to make sure the rug fills the space but does not cover all the flooring underneath.

Add rugs to walkways

I love hardwood floor and tile, but it’s really important to me to have a home feel cozy, and we do that by using wall-to-wall carpet or layering rugs throughout the home. If a room has hardwoods or tile, add a rug – we’ll put a rug by the kitchen sink, we’ll do a runner down the hallway, we will put them in dining rooms, living rooms, and even a cute rug in the laundry room. On stairways, we'll either buy an extra long runner or bind carpet to use as a stair runner. 

When we’re designing houses it’s definitely about making them absolutely beautiful, but it’s just as important to make them feel comfortable too. Carpet and rugs make such a big difference in your home!

Thank you to the Carpet and Rug Institute for partnering with us to bring you this post. For more information on carpet and rugs, check out www.beautyofcarpet.com or follow the #beautyofcarpet conversation on social media.

See more spaces with carpeting

This post is sponsored by Carpet & Rug Institute, all opinions are our own. 

Show Comments
25 Comments
Studio McGee
  1. We have a huge bonus room and went with a fluffier carpet to avoid the seam showing. It looked great for several years but is now showing wear. Any special tips for a low pile carpet in a huge bonus room to hide the seam?

  2. Thanks so much for posting this! I’m in the process of planning a living room renovation and have struggling with furniture placement. These tips are spot on!

  3. Thanks so much for all of your tips. I would love to know what your go-to neutral area rug is that you recommend in a kid and dog friendly house?

  4. I love using rugs over hard flooring, but I want to use a rug in our living room and master, both carpeted. When you layer a rug over carpet, do you use rug pads?

  5. Could you give an example of a specific carpet and the color that you use in your homes? This would be so helpful! I have about 20 samples sitting in front of me right now and I can’t decide on a color! I am trying to match the color from pictures that you post, but it is so hard to match color from a picture! Please help!

  6. The 12" to 18" rule is something I have wanted to know for YEARS. Thank you for the fun spin on all of your advice. I’m a huge fan!

  7. I’d like you to address cleaning of the non-conventional bathroom rugs that you use all of the time and are in photos on your blog. I assume they would need to be professionally cleaned? And that some rug materials are better for bathrooms than others? I like the look of them but am leery of using them in a bathroom because you can’t just throw them in the washer to clean them multiple times a year and professional cleaning is not inexpensive. I think of the use a bathroom rug gets…wet feet out of the tub or shower, hairspray over spray, hair, makeup spills, etc. and I don’t think they are very practical for a bathroom. The look however is spot on…

    1. We love the look and throughout the years we haven’t run into any issues with the rugs we use in bathrooms. It’s not the bath mat that you’d use for kids, but they’ve really worked for us and our clients so far! However, professional cleaning can run about $2 a square foot and for the size of the rugs we use in the bathrooms, the price is fairly manageable — even if you get them cleaned yearly!

  8. Great useful advice! Any ideas on how to use a runner up the stairs? Should it stop at the top step and then use a separate runner in a coordinating pattern? Or make it continuous, wrapping the top step? I’ve been having trouble finding inspiration photos!

  9. Or, if you can’t give a specific example, perhaps you could link one that we could use for reference? Colors are killing me. Thanks for any help!

  10. Thanks for the tips! In the video you mention you like using lots of rugs in hardwood spaces. So my question is, is it possible to have too many rugs? Like if I put one in every room/hallway?? For reference, my home’s floor plan is a lot like your San Clemente home (Like, eerily similar, although I live in Orange County, so maybe that’s not so crazy after all, ha!)–not overly large, but open with lots of defined spaces. So if I put a rug in my entry, the living room off the entry, my kitchen, my dining room, and my family room, is that too much? Because I’m sorely tempted to. (Incidentally, I found your blog by scrolling through pinterest looking for homes with similar designs to mine for inspiration, and I instantly fell in love with your style. I’ve been following along ever since!)

  11. Thanks for posting this! We have hardwood floors throughout all of our home so we need all the rugs we can get. I was familiar with the 12-18 rule and have a dilemma. In our master we’d like to put a rug down under our bed peeping out from the sides but an 8×10 is too large almost pressed against the walls and a 5×7 is too small. Any recommendations?

  12. What kind of carpet is in the second-to-last photo (with the wooden planked ceiling)? It’s beautiful and would love to use that when we replace our carpet in the master bedroom this summer.

  13. Shea & team: What are your recommendations when it comes to wall-to-wall carpet throughout all bedrooms in a home? Do you suggest changing up the carpet color / pattern by room, or sticking with the same carpet installed throughout? Adore your work, creativity and willingness to share so much valuable information. Thank you!!

  14. Does the 12-18" rule also apply to rugs between kitchen cabinets? I can’t quite tell from the kitchen picture in this post. Thank you!

  15. We are in our 80’s and want install new wall to wall carpet in our home, hoping to get something that doesn’t show every foot print. Using Shaw carpet.

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