Styled, Staged & Sold

Bringing you the latest home design and staging trends. From REALTOR® Magazine.

Stage It: Easy, Low-Cost Way to Freshen Up Practically Any Space

Spice up a space with a rug, whether a large rug that gives definition to a living room area or a carpet runner that enhances an otherwise dull hallway. Rugs can be a great, low-cost lifesaver when staging properties.

You can use a rug over any type of flooring--tile, hardwood, laminate, slate, and, yes, even carpeting. A rug can add pops of color or pattern to make a room more visually interesting (even if it’s otherwise vacant) and provide definition to a large room.

But figuring out the right size rug for a space can be tricky. After all, too small or too large of a rug can throw off proportions in a room.

The most common sizes for area rugs are 2’x3’, 4’x6’, 5’x8’, 6’x9’, and 8’x10’, according to the Wood Floor Covering Association.

Here are some size considerations for your rug shopping:

Living room: The general rule of thumb is to choose a rug that can accommodate all the main furniture on it, such as all feet of the sofa, side chairs, and the coffee table, designers note. But don’t cover every square inch of the room with an area rug--you still want to be able to see the floor. Leave at least a 12 to 15 inch border of the flooring exposed, which will provide a frame for your rug, according to the WFCA. Covering most of a living space can get costly. For a less expensive option that won't hamper your look, choose a smaller area rug that just runs along at least the perimeter of the furniture.

Bedroom: For a balanced look, designers recommend choosing area rugs that extend beyond the bed about 18 inches. If the bedroom has twin or double beds, opt for an area rug that will extend beyond the bed about 12 inches, according to design tips at

Dining room: Select rugs for under the dining room table that align with the back legs of the chairs but still allow enough space for guests to push back and stand up without stepping off the rug, according to the WFCA.

Oddly shaped rooms: Consider using a circular rug. Rugs come in more shapes than just a square--consider oval, octagonal, and other shapes, particularly in odd-shaped spaces.

Hallways: Try a carpet runner. Carpet runners, which are usually 3 to 4 feet wide and anywhere from 6-20 feet long, often fit best in long, narrow spaces, like a long hallway. (But you can also use carpet runners in the kitchen between an island and counter or at the foot or side of a bed to add pops of color.)

The most popular patterns for carpet runners are transitional designs, such as silhouetted botanical and organic motifs, design experts at Shaw Living, a full-service floor company, noted in an article at For a more contemporary look, abstract patterns and circles are popular, and paisley motifs are often a top choice for more traditional rug designs. For high traffic areas, reach for rugs with darker backgrounds or larger patterns that tend to show less wear and tear.

But whatever you choose, make sure it matches the overall design style of the home, whether that be contemporary, modern, traditional, or others, to make sure you're keeping the look cohesive.

And don’t forget that with all of that buyer traffic coming in and out of the home, you’ll want to watch for trip-and-fall hazards too. Make sure the rug is well-grounded to the floor and beware of putting thick rugs in main traffic areas, which can be just ripe for trips and falls.


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