The Mackenzie + Co. Guide to Rugs

I don’t often make such bold statements, but there’s nothing like a rug to either make or break a room. As the literal foundation piece for any space, rugs provide the opportunity to add texture, pattern and dimension to the style equation, but choosing the right one is tricky business. While I love a great rug as much as the next designer, they also have the potential to ruin a room when factors like sizing or material are off.  We know selecting a rug can come with a lot of questions, so we’ve decided to take out all the guesswork by sharing the design tips we live by. Consider this your new go-to rug guide, and your days of second-guessing are over. 

via Marie Flanigan

via Mackenzie + Co.

Step One: Determine Sizing & Layout

The first step in rug selection comes down to one simple task: measure your space. Hands-down, the most common mistake designers see time and time again is people selecting a rug that’s too small for their room. It’s easy to get ahead of yourself by impulse purchasing a rug you love, only to realize it’s nowhere near large enough for the space. As a general rule of thumb, a rug should fit the size of your seating area, which is not necessarily the entire room. In most scenarios, you’ll want to ensure your rug reaches underneath all four feet of the furniture and extends six inches beyond on each side.  However, at a minimum, the front legs of the furniture should be on the rug so that you can properly integrate it with the space. Ideally, all the furniture should be on the rug, but the front-legs-only is a solid compromise. For dining room spaces, you’ll want to be able to pull the dining chairs back and still have them sitting on the rug. DESIGN TIP: We know rugs can be expensive, so layering is your friend! For large spaces, consider using a sisal rug that fits the entire room as your base and then add softer, plusher kilims or dhurries at the seating area(s). It’s a cost-effective solution that looks great every time.

via Studio McGee

via Mackenzie + Co.

Step Two: Consider Material, Pattern & Texture

I don’t generally subscribe to the notion that design should begin by choosing the rug, but if you love the idea of a bold or patterned look, using your rug as the starting point is the best way to go. Another element to consider in rug selection is texture, which helps set the tone of a space. I find that texture is one of the most overlooked aspects of the design process, but it definitely shouldn’t be. Rooms featuring a mixture of textures feel more warm, layered and inviting, so pay close attention to this component. At the Mackenzie and Co. studio, we’re especially partial to wool rugs, which can offer a wide range of looks — from thin flat weaves to chunky knotted shags, and everything in between. Wool tends to be more expensive than most plant-based materials (like jute, sisal, cotton, or hemp), but wool is also softer underfoot yet durable enough to last for centuries. As a bonus, wool contains lanolin, which makes it an incredibly stain-resistant fiber.  When you spill, the stain tends to sit on top before absorbing, giving you added time for cleanup!

via Serena & Lily

via Jacey Dupree

Step Three: Don’t Forget the Rug Pad

Once you’ve measured your space and found the perfect rug, it’s finally time to see it in action. But before you roll out your new purchase, don’t overlook the importance of placing a non-slip rug pad underneath. During placement, cut the pad to a size slightly smaller than the actual rug. A general rule is that pads should be trimmed about an inch shorter than the rug on all sides to provide maximum grip while preventing a visible change in level where the rug transitions from the pad to the floor. Not only will a rug pad offer additional cushioning underfoot, but it helps keep everything in place and preserve the life of your rug.

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