Decorating with Rugs

These Area Rug Measuring Mistakes Could Cost You!

When rug measuring for an area carpet there are some standard guidelines, BUT each room and area are different.  Here are some guidelines that we have used over many years of measuring and making custom rugs.  These are basic ideas, and might not always work for your area.

Rug Measuring Tips

When measuring any rug, use masking tape to outline where you first think the rug should be.  Your eye can now tell how the rug will look in a room.  (When using a measuring tape, you lose perspective of your rug proportions)  The tape can be moved easily to change the size.  When you are satisfied, measure the tape area.  This technique is especially helpful in fireplace cutouts, foyers, and difficult hallways.  The masking tape technique helps you eyeball how the area rug will look in a room.


Custom Rug follows outline of Fireplace

Custom Rug follows the outline of Fireplace

  Some areas to consider in measuring for rugs:

  • A corner of a rug should not end in the middle of a doorway.  The corner will eventually curl up from traffic and creates a tripping problem.
  • Look at the lines of a room, architectural elements, and any type of line that you can follow and frame with your rug.  These could be the edges of door moldings, windows, etc.  This creates unity and will make the room flow.  We use this idea in cutting the rugs around fireplaces and angles.

    Measuring Steps

    Custom Wilton Stair Runner with Handsewn Border

    Custom Wilton Stair Runner with Handsewn Border

 Measure number of steps, width of runner or total step area for wall to wall, landing width and length, and which way landing turns.  Most installers can figure out how much material you need from these figures.  A good rule for runner sizes: leave 3″-4″ of floor showing on either side of the step.

 Measuring for Dining Room Area Rugs
Custom Floral Dining Room Rug

Custom Floral Dining Room Rug

Close your table.  This means place your chairs at the table with no one sitting in them.  Measure 2′ from the back chair leg on length and width.  This will be a basic size that will frame the table. Usually, there is less room on the ends than on the sides.  You can reduce the ends to a minimum of 15″ behind the back chair legs.  There is generally more room on the sides to add more rug width.  Also, take notice of the side pieces of furniture.  If you have room, take the rug up to the furniture and not under.  See an example of a framed Dining Room Rug

Measuring a small rug to layer over a larger rug

  If you find a standard size rug that is too small for your room, consider layering it over a plain larger rug.  This rug should be a low pile.  This also will work with layering a small area rug over a wall-to-wall carpet.

If you have any questions about measuring or need more rug measuring information, please e-mail Rug Rats

 Free quotes are available for all our custom rugs—contact us today!

  Send Rug Rats an e-mail to get a personalized rug estimate plus much more information about how an area rug can improve your decor.


About Sandy Henderson

Sandy Henderson is owner of Rug Rats Fine Carpet and Rugs, a small town business with a national presence. Sandy was drawn to materials and design and wanted to explore how we can take charge of the beauty and happiness of our own homes. She earned a degree in Clothing and Textiles, from historic Longwood College (founded over two hundred years ago as a teachers’ college in Farmville, Virginia). Sandy now draws on her 36 years in the custom rug business to help clients all over the US with their custom & logo rug decisions.

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