4 Interior Decorating Rules That Were Made To Be Broken.

In the blues and jazz alike, it is the wrong notes that give it soul. There is an old guitar adage that says “you are never more than a half-step away from the right note,” meaning a slight bend of the string is all that is needed to change a “mistake” into a “cool effect.” In terms of rug placement, there are a number of rules to follow…but bending (or even breaking) those rules can take a predictable room design and turn it into a unique, bold statement that makes it feel like your room.

Modern living room

Furniture on the rug

A tried and true method of implementing a rug into a room with furniture is to place the front legs of the couches and chairs on the rug and the back legs off. This works in most decorating scenarios as it ties together various furniture pieces while also creating a nice sense of proportion. If you had a large rug and wanted the room to feel more pulled together, all the legs could be placed on the rug. Similarly, you could combine these two approaches to have some furniture partially on the rug and some completely on the rug which can be very effective if your room has a large couch that would take up too much rug real-estate and smaller chairs that are not so greedy. The couch could be partially on the rug and the smaller chairs could be completely on, keeping the room properly spaced and connected at the same time.  The image above illustrates this design rule and while it works perfectly for defining the space and looks comfortable, there is little unique about it.


For comparison, this setting is very unique. A space is still defined, though it is a bit smaller. The rug is used as a burst of pattern and/or color, to liven up the room. In this instance, there is one of the furniture legs for both the table and chair on the rug. This is a dramatic and attractive option.



Oriental/Traditional rugs outside the living room

Oriental rugs are a mainstay in living rooms, studies, and dens. It is a classic look that is a pretty safe bet decoratively. Why not step a bit outside the box and place that bold oriental rug of reds and blues in the kitchen or bathroom? This familiar rug style placed in an unexpected place can create a great effect.



In the kitchen for instance, an oriental rug can add a pop of color and pattern while also serving as a stain hider due to its intricate designs. You could also switch out your old bath mat for a small oriental rug which would add character, weight, and durability to the room. Especially considering bathrooms typically have a lighter color pallet to open up the small space, a small oriental rug can ground the color pallet and add some pop.



Multiple rugs in a space

Another traditional rule typically adhered to is keeping the number of rugs in a room limited to one. This rule lends itself to creating a cohesive room design, but what if a cohesive, balanced room is a little too boring for your taste? You can bend this rule in a number of ways. Having two rugs (matching or otherwise) in a large room with two seating arrangements in it can keep everything tied together while at the same time breaking up the “same-ness”.



Another bend you can apply to this rule is to layer a couple rugs. There are a couple of ways to do this. One common way is to layer two rugs of similar shapes, creating a border around the top rug. This can add an extra dimension to the rug design and also create a cool effect when mixing and matching textures. Having a braided rug on bottom and a wool rug on top is a great example of this texture combo. Another train of thought is to layer two rugs of differing shapes. A designer, for instance, might place a subtle jute rug on bottom as a border then place an animal hide rug on top. The animal hide rug with its somewhat sporadic edges can add depth to the room and a flare of color and pattern with a striking animal print like cow, zebra, or antelope.



Outdoor rugs can be indoor rugs too

Just because they have the label of “outdoor rugs” does not mean they are not a viable decorative option for an indoor space. Just because Sting was in The Police does not mean he had anything to do with law enforcement. The patterns, colors, and styles of outdoor rugs can be just as diverse as indoor rugs. If you have a high traffic room or hallway in your home that keeps chewing up your rugs, a sturdy outdoor rug may be the answer. These rugs are designed to withstand Mother Nature, so your puny human feet are not likely to be a problem. They are also much easier to clean than indoor rugs being as they can typically be cleaned with a hose. Just let it properly dry then put it right back in the house, easy. Outdoor rugs also tend to be very inexpensive, giving you the opportunity to alternate these rugs from season to season without breaking the bank.


Do not be afraid to get a little dirty and break a few rules. If you do not want to hear “wow, I love how this room looks like every other living room in the world,” consider these rule bends and breaks. They might be the switch-up you need to take your room from “typical” to “original.” And hey, if you like this post, you should share it. Click the link below!


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