The Ultimate Guide To Choosing A Bedroom Area Rug

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bedroom area rugsThe essential role of a bedroom area rug is to give you a gorgeously soft surface to step onto when you get out of bed. A cold wooden or tiled floor is not inviting first thing in the morning or in the middle of the night - think with your feet as well as your head!

A rug immediately makes a room cozier – and that’s exactly the feel you need in a bedroom. It absorbs sound – nobody wants an echoey bedroom; and adds a warm and welcoming texture to the room. It also prevents slips and falls if you need to get out of bed in the night.

And of course, it should look wonderful! A rug can be used to add an accent color or complement existing decor. It draws your bed and nightstands together, creating an appealing sleeping zone in the room. It’s also a marvelous opportunity to add a touch of your personality to the most intimate room in your home.

Before you go ahead and choose a bedroom area rug, take a step back and consider a few things. Think about what you like and what you need, and what’s possible in the space you have. Which rug do you want to wake up to every morning?

Here’s our guide to finding your dream bedroom area rug.

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What size bedroom area rug do I need?

When it comes to bedroom furnishings, the bed is undoubtedly the star. Any other style decision you make, including what sort of area rug to buy, depends upon what type of bed you have and where in the room it’s located. For example, a bedroom with a central king size bed is going to need a very different approach to rug purchasing than a kids’ room with a pair of twin beds.

When your foot (possibly reluctantly!) leaves the warmth of the bed, it wants to step onto a luxurious rug, not a cold floor. To make sure you have happy feet, the rug needs to project about 24” from your bed. Take this measurement into account when you’re choosing your bedroom rug – and we’ll give you some size suggestions in a moment.

Don’t feel restricted if you’re buying an area rug for a small bedroom. Look at these rug placement suggestions from Houzz – they certainly don’t hold back with design ideas simply because the rooms are smaller!

Another thing to think about is whether you want to rug to go under the nightstands or not. There’s no particular benefit either way, so this decision is simply a matter of personal preference. Again, we’ll give you some suggestions for both options.

How big is my bed?

sizing your bedroom area rug

The main thing you need to know when choosing a bedroom rug is the size of your bed.

These are the standard mattress sizes in the US:

  • King size, 76” x 80”
  • California King (or “Cal King” to his friends...), 72” x 84”
  • Queen size, 60” x 80”
  • Full bed (sometimes called a “double bed”), 54” x 75”
  • Twin bed, 39” x 75”
  • Twin XL - designed for taller sleepers, this bed measures 80” long

This will save you measuring your bed! However, please take into account that large-framed beds will be a bit bigger than the mattress measurements.

So, we know the size of your bed, and that we need to add an extra 24” to either side so you step out in comfort. This article from Home Guides suggests actually drawing a plan of your bedroom and its furnishings to make sure you can accommodate your chosen rug.

Looking at one bed at a time, here are our recommendations for bedroom rug layouts and sizes.

King size bed

bedroom oriental rugs

The smallest rug for a king size bed is a 7’ x 10’ style, which gives you a nice warm edge to step onto and goes up to (but not under) the nightstands. If you have a California King, you’re going to need a bigger rug! The minimum for these mighty beds is a 9’ x 12’ area rug.

Choose a rug with a stand-out border, as this will be the main detail on display. We love the multiple borders on this Peshawar Ziegler rug. However, if you’d rather not have a border part way across your bed’s footprint (which you will have if the rug doesn’t go under the nightstands), try something like this luxurious wool and silk rug.

If you decide to take the rug under the nightstands, your rug needs to increase by another couple of feet. This takes you up to a 9’ x 12’ area rug. This pale Peshawar Ziegler rug would look delicious in a light and serene bedroom. For a Cal King, you may be looking at a massive 12 x 15 rug to keep these proportions, which would look spectacular – or you may just decide to lose some of the extra footage at the base.

There is another way of presenting a 9’ x 12’ area rug, and that is by stopping before the nightstands and having extra rug on display at the foot of the bed. This look is especially effective if you have a blanket chest or couch at the bottom of your bed. A totally different approach is to opt for a pair of rugs, one at either side of the bed. 4’ x 6’, if you have the space, or 3’ x 5’.

Here’s a summary of these sizes.

  • To go up to the nightstands, 7’ x 10’
  • To go under the nightstands, 9’ x 12’
  • For a Cal King, 9’ x 12’
  • For a Cal King, to go under the nightstands, 12’ x 15’
  • If you want a pair of rugs, 4’ x 6’ or 3’ x 5’ each

Queen size bed

bedroom oriental area rugs 

If your room is big enough, and you fancy an extra touch of luxury, you can keep to the same sizes that we’ve suggested for the king size bed. After all, if it’s good for the king, it’s good for the queen!

If you’d prefer to have a slightly smaller rug, the ideal size for a bedroom with a queen bed is 6’ x 9’. This takes the rug up to the nightstands, and gives you that essential comfy border for your feet. A patchwork rug would look incredible in a contemporary-style room, especially against pale-colored floorboards.

To take the rug under the nightstands, go larger and choose an 8’ x 10’ rug. This rich red Bokhara rug has a gorgeous border, and would add a real touch of luxury to your bedroom. Again, a pair of rugs is an option, either 4’ x 6’ or 3’ x 5’.

So, to summarize:

  • To go up to the nightstands, 6’ x 9’
  • To go under the nightstands, 8’ x 10’
  • If you want a pair of rugs, 4’ x 6’ or 3’ x 5’ each

Full size bed

buying an area rug for your bedroom

A full size bed is sometimes called a double bed; however they’re usually used for a single occupant. So, with this style of bed, the rug you’ll need depends on how the bed’s placed in the room. If it’s pushed up against one wall, you may choose to have a smaller rug next to it, rather than stand the bed on a large area rug.

If you want the rug to go under the bed, go for the same size as you would for a queen bed, 6’ x 9’. We love this modern Ikat rug, which is a stunning shade, and would give you plenty of rug space around the bed. To go under the nightstands, again, copy the Queen with an 8’ x 10’ rug. This will take up a lot of the floorspace of a smaller bedroom, so think about the room border and the positioning of your other furniture as well.

Here are the recommended measurements for a full size bed rug:

  • To go up to the nightstands, 6’ x 9’
  • To go under the nightstands, 8’ x 10’
  • A single rug next to the bed, 4’ x 6’ or 3’ x 5’ each

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Twin bed

area rugs for twin and single bedrooms

The type of area rug you choose for a twin bed (called a “single bed” in the UK) is down to the dimensions of the bedroom as much as the size of the bed.

If it’s a small bedroom a, 5’ x 8’ area rug in the portrait position looks great and maximizes your space. A striped design, like this Kilim rug, will help to make the area look a bit bigger. Or, if you want to see more rug, flip it round into the landscape position (so the bed and the rug form a cross shape), and you’ll have plenty of rug room to step onto. If the bed is against the wall, again, a neat 4’ x 6’or 3’ x 5’ positioned next to it will look good.

In a larger bedroom, a 7’ x 10’ rug like this lovely gold Ziegler rug, gives a beautiful result. Try it either landscape or portrait, depending on the shape and size of the space.

Here are our suggestions for a rug to work with a twin bed:

  • For a small bedroom, 5’ x 8’
  • For a larger room, 7’ x 10’
  • A single rug next to the bed, 4’ x 6’ or 3’ x 5’

Twin bed – more than one bed in the room

There are several ways you can lay a rug in a room with two twin beds. The obvious option is to put your rug between the beds, and this is especially good in a smaller room. Try a 3’ x 5’ rug, or if space is more generous, a 4’ x 6’ rug; and these modern designs look wonderful in children’s or young persons’ rooms. If your two sleepers get territorial about their rugs (and you have the space) you’d probably better buy a pair! If space between the beds is tighter, go narrower by a foot.

Or you could stand both beds on one larger rug, which has the effect of drawing the furniture together. If the sleepers are happy with soft rug on just one side of their beds, an 8’ x 10’ will suffice. If you want a more opulent look and feel, go for a 9’ x 12’ style which allows for a border of rug on both sides of the beds, as well as more room at the feet. This funky retro Ziegler rug would make a really lively and unusual floor covering for a modern bedroom, or try something calm and natural such as this Peshawar Ziegler rug.

To sum up:

  • A rug between the beds, 4’ x 6’ or 3’ x 5’
  • A rug to go under the beds (with no side border), 8’ x 10’
  • A rug to go under the beds (with a side border), 9’ x 12’

Making sure your area rug is just right for you

Mock up the area rug.

It always helps to mock up an area rug before you commit to buying one, even after you’ve worked out the size and proportions. This can help you decide whether you want a more generous border for example, or help solve the age-old dilemma of on-or-off-the-nightstands. It may be that you want to relocate some furniture before you add a rug: read this piece from Apartment Guide to help you make the most of your bedroom layout.

As we’ve suggested before, laying out a bed sheet on the floor can give you a great idea of the area of your potential new rug. This isn’t so easy in a bedroom, as a bed is a heavy piece of furniture to move, and you don’t want to shift it until the actual rug arrives! Instead, mark out areas with tape to give you an idea of where the rug will sit. Practise getting out of bed, to make sure that your feet automatically land in the cozy area! If they don’t, it’s time to rethink the rug size.

What style do you like?

One of the biggest choices you’ll make is whether to go for a traditional or modern style of rug. Look around your bedroom. Is it a clean, contemporary style room, or more charmingly cozy? For modern rooms, bold colors and geometric patterns are excellent choices; and in older-style homes, highly patterned Oriental rugs look just right.

Color is often the biggest influencer when it comes to choosing the design of an area rug. Most of us select our rug’s color based on our existing decor. You can choose a rug by either matching the base color or its accent colors. If you are going for a decorative Oriental rug, you’ll have a lot of lovely, vivid shades to play with. Look at this wonderful Ziegler rug – you could either work with its warm natural tones, or pick out those scarlet splashes.

You can use color to add drama. If you want the rug to be center stage, a stunning piece like this overdyed rug is perfect. However, if you want your bed or perhaps a painting or other feature to be the focal point, go for a more subtly beautiful area rug such as this delicate beauty.

You may be in the enviable position of styling the whole bedroom from scratch. If this is the case, simply go with the rug you fall in love with, and let the rest of the design fall into place!

Durability and care

vacuum bedroom rugs 

The area rug in your bedroom does not get walked on as much as its counterpart in the living room. A bedroom does not get as much footfall as a living room or hallway, and you’re more likely to be barefoot or in soft-soled slippers than in outdoor shoes. However, yes, the rug still needs to be durable for a several key reasons.

The first one is walking routes. Our passage around our bedrooms is predictable. We probably all follow the same path every single day: between the door and the bed, in and out of bed, the quickest route from the bed to the closet. As you can imagine, it would be easy to wear a track in your rug. Your bedroom area rug will need to be good quality to deal with your daily walking patterns.

Secondly – and essentially in a bedroom – you want it to be comfortable. A thin rug that instantly flattens is not welcoming for bare feet first thing in the morning. A robust rug won’t go bald on you.

And finally, you want your rug to last. It’s always false economy to buy a cheap product that wears out quickly; however as well as the financial aspect it’s a real hassle to regularly replace your floor covering. As we alluded to earlier, a large bed is an unwieldy piece of furniture to move. When the rug’s down, it’s staying down!

Choose a hand-knotted rug

If you want a top-quality area rug that will last, go for a hand-knotted one. These are made by expert artisans, who often come from families of highly-skilled rug makers. These rugs are made on specialized looms, and each knot is tied by hand. There can be as many as 200 knots per square inch in a high-end area rug (look out for the term KPSI to find out how many knots a particular rug has). This painstaking process produces tough, durable rugs which last for years. Much as rug-making skills have been passed down through the generations, so will your rug!

Some people feel that because it’s “just a bedroom” with limited footfall that a machine-made rug will do. To some extent, it will. However, the first time you walk across a machine-made rug in bare feet and realize that the springiness has all been squashed away, you’ll start to appreciate that you get what you pay for...

Caring for your bedroom area rug

A bedroom area rug is less likely to suffer at the hands of kids and the paws of pets, and spillages are infrequent in a room that doesn’t see much food and drink. However, you’ll still need to take some simple preventative measures to look after it.

The main enemy of the bedroom area rug is UV light which can fade its colors over time. You may have windows that have low-e glass or have been coated in UV protection, which really help preserve your rug’s vivid colors. If you haven’t, think about closing the blinds when strong sunlight is streaming in. Rotating the rug is another solution, because it makes sure that if the colors fade, they will fade evenly and less noticeably. OK, we appreciate that this won’t be an easy task if your furniture is standing on the rug, however it’ll be worth the effort to avoid patchy fading.

If there’s a quality area rug in the kids’ bedrooms (and my word, what a generous parent that makes you!), it will no doubt need some extra cleaning to deal with spillages and general mess. Of course, it’s not just the children that may occasionally spill things on the rug – watch out for the cup of coffee on your nightstand! See our Rug Care articles for advice on dealing with spills and stains.

Budgeting for a bedroom area rug

budgeting for a bedroom area rug

Given the incredible care that goes into its manufacture, it’s not a surprise that a hand-knotted area rug costs more than its machine-made equivalent. It’s up to you to decide whether you are happy to regularly replace your rug as it wears out, or if you’d prefer to pay for a top-quality item that will last for years.

Long-term, a quality hand-knotted rug is an investment rather than an expense. Once you have bought it, you won’t need to think about buying a new rug for ages - possibly ever, as hand-knotted rugs are often handed down to children and grandchildren. A machine-made rug may be an initial bargain – but if it’s not up to the job and soon needs replacing, it’s been a false economy. And of course, as well as cost there’s the hassle of choosing a new rug, recycling the worn-out one, shifting all your furniture – again. So, when you’re budgeting for a rug, there’s more to think about than the initial outlay.

If you have a tight budget, but still want to invest in a quality hand-knotted rug, you can always go for a smaller size. The bedroom is a more forgiving room for this than the living room. A small rug in a large room simply doesn’t look right; however, in the bedroom, a pair of small rugs either side of the bed may cost less than a single large one, and will still give a marvelous effect. Of course, you can look out for one of our sales, and choose your perfect rug at a fantastic price!

Let’s summarize the main points...

Before you choose a bedroom area rug, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What size is my bed, and do I want to position the rug under it or next to it?
  • Do I want the rug to under the nightstands? Do I want extra rug at the foot of the bed?
  • Do I want a modern or traditional design?
  • What color or colors do I want?
  • What could possibly damage my rug, and how can I mitigate this?
  • Do I need a rug that will last?
  • What is my budget?

And when you have a shortlist of rugs that meet these criteria, ask yourself the most important question of all – which one do I love the most?

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